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Research has demonstrated the benefits of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin on eye health, and some research had emerged on their benefits on cognition in older adults. Lutein is selectively incorporated into the macula as well as the brain. Lutein levels in the macula and the brain have been associated with better cognition.

According to a study published three days ago in Nutrients, researchers demonstrated that supplementation with lutein and zeaxanthin improve cognitive function in young, healthy adults. In this study researchers assessed cognitive function of 51 healthy young individuals, 18 to 30 years old. These individuals were randomized into supplement and placebo groups. Macular pigment optical density (MPOD) was measured as well as cognitive function using the CNS Vital Signs testing platform. MPOD and cognitive function were measured every four months for one year of supplementation. As a result, supplementation increased MPOD significantly over the course of the year compared to the placebo group. Researchers demonstrated that lutein and zeaxanthin increases in MPOD, which resulted in significant improvements in spatial memory, reasoning ability, and complex attention.

In addition to supplementation, avocados are a great bioavailable source of lutein, containing approximately 0.5 mg of lutein. A study published in August of this year demonstrated that avocado consumption increases macular pigment density.

Other brain-supportive nutrients to consider include GPC, citicoline, Ginkgo biloba, phosphatidylserine, and fish oil. GPC and citicoline are water soluble forms of choline that can cross the blood brain barrier and support brain health. These help make more acetylcholine, neurotransmitters, and phosphatidylcholine in the cell membranes. In addition, phosphatidylserine is an essential nutrient for brain function and is not found in the diet, making proper supplementation all that more important.

 

-Dr. Jerome Craig

 

Source: Renzi-Hammond LM, Bovier ER, et al. Effects of a Lutein and Zeaxanthin Intervention on Cognitive Function: A Randomized, Double-Masked, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Younger Healthy Adults. Nutrients. 2017 November 14;9(11)

 

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The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Grisanti and his functional medicine community. Dr. Grisanti encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Visit www.FunctionalMedicineUniversity.com for more information on our training in functional medicine. Look for practitioners who have successfully completed the Functional Medicine University’s Certification Program (CFMP) www.functionalmedicinedoctors.com. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Dr. Grisanti is required.

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