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Lutein Linked to Decreased Cognitive Decline

As people age, it is common to see a decline in cognitive ability. A recent study suggests that consuming a high intake of lutein may help slow cognitive decline.


Participants in the study included 60 healthy adults between the ages 25 and 45. Researchers measured macular pigment optical density in order to assess carotenoid levels, which are a reliable marker of lutein levels in the brain. All of the participants performed cognitive control tasks and the researchers measured event-related brain activity In order to measure cognitive function.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that macular pigment optical density was related to age and P3 wave activity. P3 wave activity is the specific electrical brain activity that occurs during the decision-making process. Younger participants had larger P3 waves than older participants, but older participants with higher macular pigment optical density had P3 waves that were similar in amplitude to younger adults.


When the researchers analyzed the data more closely, they found that higher macular pigment optical density levels were associated with higher P3 waves at all age levels.


Researchers from the University of Illinois led the study. It was published on June 9, 2017, in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.


Lutein is one of only two carotenoids that can build macular pigment. Lutein creates the yellow pigmentation of the macula, which is the part of the eye that provides protection from damaging blue light. If the yellow macular pigment is too thin, blue light can penetrate the retina and cause long-term damage. Previous studies also suggest that lutein may improve eye health, combat systemic inflammation, and ward off cataracts.


You can increase your lutein levels by consuming more green vegetables, corn, and egg yolk. It can also be taken in supplement form.

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