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Lutein and Zeaxanthin May Help Cognitive Function Later in Life

While carotenoids are known for eye health, new research suggests they may be good for your brain health too. A recent study suggests that higher blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin may help with cognition, memory, and executive function.


Participants in the study included 4,076 community-dwelling Irish adults age 50 and older. After examining the data and adjusting for confounding factors, the researchers found that both lutein and zeaxanthin were independently associated with improved scores in domain-specific cognitive performance, including global cognition, memory, and executive function. They also found that higher blood levels of zeaxanthin — but not lutein — were associated with better processing speed.


Researchers from Queens University Belfast conducted the study. It was published on January 20, 2017, in The Journals of Gerontology.


Lutein and zeaxanthin are both xanthophyll carotenoids. They are also the only two carotenoids that can build macular pigment. You can increase your lutein and zeaxanthin levels by consuming more green leafy vegetables, corn, and egg yolk.

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