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Pink Pigment Found in Salmon May Reduce Dementia Risk

Researchers from Tohoku University recently found new evidence that astaxanthin may help reduce the risk of dementia. Their findings were published in the February 2011 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition.

Astaxanthin is the carotenoid that gives salmon its pink color. It has been linked to various health benefits due to its strong antioxidant capacity, which has been reported to be 500 times the antioxidant capacity of vitamin E.

For this most recent study, the researchers recruited thirty healthy participants between 50 and 69 years of age. The participants were randomly assigned to receive 0 (placebo), 6 or 12 mg of astaxanthin per day for 12 weeks.

The researchers found that astaxanthin supplementation resulted in reductions in levels of compounds called phospholipid hydroperoxides (PLOOH). These compounds accumulate abnormally in the red blood cells of people with dementia.

The group that received 6mg saw a 40% reduction in the levels of PLOOH and the group that received 12 mg saw a 50% reduction. The placebo group did not see any significant change.

Although further research is necessary to delve deeper into the relationship between astaxanthin and cognitive function, the researchers believe these findings show it may be useful in the prevention of dementia.

Previous studies have shown that astaxanthin may also improve eye, skin and joint health and boost immune system function.

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