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Lutein, zeaxanthin supplementation associated with improved cognitive function in young adults

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By Life Extension • • November 30, 2017

Lutein, zeaxanthin supplementation associated with improved cognitive function in young adults
Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

November 20 2017. On November 14, 2017, the journal Nutrients reported the outcome of a randomized, double-blind trial that resulted in improvement in cognitive function among healthy adults who were given supplements containing the macular pigments lutein and zeaxanthin.

“Dietary intake, good or bad, can influence the oxidative and inflammatory state of the brain and, hence, its function,” write Liza M. Renzi-Hammond and colleagues. “A number of studies have now shown that supplementing lutein and zeaxanthin is related to both increases in the amount of lutein plus zeaxanthin measured in the retina and alteration in behaviors that are thought to be primarily mediated by the brain.”

The trial included 51 men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 years who received a placebo or 10 mg lutein plus 2 mg zeaxanthin daily for one year. Serum lutein and zeaxanthin, macular pigment optical density (which reflects brain levels of lutein and zeaxanthin), and cognitive function (including tests of verbal memory, visual memory, reasoning, executive function, psychomotor speed, complex attention and cognitive flexibility) were assessed every four months during the study.

At the trial’s conclusion, serum lutein and serum zeaxanthin were twice as high among those who received the supplements compared to those who received a placebo. Macular pigment optical density also significantly increased in the supplemented group, indicating improved central nervous system levels. The most significant benefit observed among those who received lutein and zeaxanthin was better visual memory compared to those who received a placebo.

Supplementation with lutein and zeaxanthin plus increases in macular pigment optical density were associated with significantly improved spatial memory, reasoning ability and complex attention.

The authors conclude that “Supplementation with lutein plus zeaxanthin improves central nervous system xanthophyll levels and cognitive function in young, healthy adults.”

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