Study under review: Effects of a Lutein and Zeaxanthin Intervention on Cognitive Function: A Randomized, Double-Masked, PlaceboControlled Trial of Younger Healthy Adults
Aging is inevitable and associated with numerous changes to brain structure and function, as well as cognitive ability. Much research has focused on neurodegeneration in older adults due to its association with aging and the fact that cognition is essential for functional independence as people age. While this is an important area of research, older adults are not the only population for whom cognitive function matters.
Many young adults look for ways to boost their brain power. They pursue everything from a simple cup of coffee to pharmaceutical drugs to accomplish this goal. Certain phytochemicals have also received their share of attention regarding effects on cognitive function, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein is the most prevalent carotenoid within the brain, where it is believed to be neuroprotective through its role as an antioxidant. It also accumulates in the retina, where concentrations are associated with brain lutein concentrations. These dietary carotenoids are found in a variety of plant foods, as well as egg yolks. The lutein content in a variety of foods is shown in Figure 1.
Previous research has looked at the effects of lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation on cognitive function in older adults. The effects of supplementation in younger adults is less investigated, with some evidence suggesting that increasing macular pigment density through supplementation correlates with improved cognitive function. The study under review sought to follow-up on these findings and determine the cognitive effects of lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation in young adults.
Although young adults are not at the same risk for cognitive decline as older adults, enhanced cognitive function is something many pursue. There has been a growing interest in the phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin, and their effect on cognition. This study looked at how supplementing lutein and zeaxanthin can affect cognitive function in younger adults.
Other Articles in Issue #41 (March 2018)
NERD Mini: How fiber helps with diabetes
A recent article in a major scientific journal sheds light on how exactly dietary fiber impacts glycemic control. We cover it briefly here.
Antioxidants and exercise: no pain, no gains?
Some people turn to antioxidants to help with delayed onset muscle soreness. This recent Cochrane review examines whether they're effective.
Low-fat or low-carb: can genes or insulin say which is right for you?
We covered the DIETFITS trial in a blog post. Here, we go full nerd on it, including unreleased Q&As with the trial's lead author, and an extended FAQ addressing some common concerns.
Can calcium and vitamin D prevent fractures in community-dwelling older adults?
While supplementation may prevent fractures in certain populations, this meta-analysis addresses the question of whether it’s effective for people who don’t live in an institution like a nursing home.
Mediating depression through the Mediterranean Diet
Diet can impact some aspects of mood. Can it make a dent in depression?
NERD Mini: the ISSN’s position on nutrient timing
Want a quick summary of the International Society of Sports Nutrition's latest position stance on the impact of timing macro intake for athletes? We got you covered.
A berry tasty solution to cardiovascular disease risk factors
Berries are packed with nutrients and fiber, making them a great healthy food choice. But are they healthy enough to impact cardiovascular risk markers?