Lutein, Zeaxanthin & Frailty / Vitamin D & Brain Health / Sleep & Gut Health

Lutein and Zeaxanthin May Help Support Musculoskeletal Health

Lutein and zeaxanthin are yellow carotenoid antioxidants known as macular pigments. Dietary sources include spinach, broccoli, kale, peas, and egg yolks. According to a new study, higher concentrations of dietary-derived lutein and zeaxanthin may help support musculoskeletal health.

For their study, researchers from Trinity College Dublin used data from 4,513 participants who took part in the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing. All participants were over the age of 50 and were followed for an average of 8 years.

Lutein and zeaxanthin plasma concentrations were measured at baseline. Grip strength, normal walking speed, timed up and go, and bone mass were evaluated at baseline and at the end of the study period. The timed up and go test assesses mobility, balance, walking ability, and fall risk.

The researchers found that higher plasma concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin were positively associated with normal walking speed and with better scores on the timed up and go test. Higher plasma lutein concentration was positively associated with bone mass.

Participants who were not frail at baseline and had higher plasma concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin were less likely to progress to a higher frailty category.

The study was published in the January, 2023 edition of the journal Experimental Gerontology.

A previous study found that higher lutein levels may be associated with increased. physical activity.

article 2Probiotic May Help Support Gut-Brain Axis and Cognitive Function

The gut-brain axis refers to the physical and chemical connections between the gut and brain, also known as the enteric nervous system. Making a decision based on your gut feeling or having butterflies in your stomach are signals coming from the enteric nervous system. A new study has found that probiotics may help support the gut-brain axis and have a beneficial effect on cognitive function.

Participants in the study included 60 healthy adults with no cognitive impairment between the ages of 60 and 75. Half received 50 billion CFUs of the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum BB68S daily. The other half received a placebo.

The Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) test was administered at baseline and at the end of the study period to assess cognitive function.  Gut microbiota composition was analyzed at baseline and at the end of the study.

Scores on the RBANS test increased by an average of 18.89 points for participants in the probiotic group. Scores were significantly higher in the domains of immediate memory, attention, delayed memory, and visualspatial/constructional memory compared to the placebo group.

Participants in the probiotic group also saw increases in the abundance of beneficial bacteria and decreases in the abundance of bacteria related to cognitive impairment.

The study was conducted by researchers from China Agricultural University. It was published online ahead of print on December 22, 2022 in the journal Nutrients.

article 3Higher Vitamin D Concentrations Linked to Better Long-Term Cognitive Health

Vitamin D plays an important role in brain maturation and growth. It also helps stimulate glutathione activity, which is an important antioxidant in the brain and body. A recent study linked higher plasma concentrations of vitamin D to better cognitive health in mature adults.

Researchers from the University of Bonn analyzed data from 1,334 adults with an average age of 84 who took part in the Ageing, Cognition, and Dementia study. None of the participants had been diagnosed with cognitive conditions at the beginning of the study.

Blood samples were used to measure serum concentrations of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Participants were followed for an average of 7 years and all diagnoses of cognitive decline were recorded.

Participants with the highest blood concentrations of vitamin D had a lower risk of cognitive decline. Participants with vitamin D deficiency had the highest risk of developing age-related cognitive conditions.

No association was found between blood concentrations of vitamin A, vitamin E, or beta-carotene and cognitive decline, which is consistent with previous studies.

The study was published online ahead of print on December 23, 2022 in the journal Nutrients.

article 4Poor Sleep Quality May Change Gut Microbiome Composition

Poor sleep quality can leave a person feeling groggy, irritable, and having difficulty concentrating. It has also been linked with several long-term adverse health effects. Now a new analysis has found that poor sleep quality may result in gut microbiome changes that may negatively impact muscle mass later in life.

The researchers analyzed data from 11 clinical trials for their study. The trials included gut microbiome analysis and data on sleep parameters such as sleep duration, sleep quality, and sleep efficiency.

The researchers found an association between poor sleep and activation of production of the stress hormone cortisol, alteration in gut bacterial composition, and reduction in intestinal barrier function.

Poor sleep in older participants was associated with an increase in pro-inflammatory bacteria. Improvements in sleep quality in older participants were associated with an increase in beneficial bacteria. The researchers believe that chronic low-grade systemic inflammation due to poor sleep is linked to a loss of muscle mass.

The effect of poor sleep on gut microbiome composition was unclear in younger participants.

The study was conducted by researchers from Leiden University. It was published online ahead of print on October 2, 2022 in the journal Sleep.

A previous study found that corn leaf extract may provide sleep quality benefits.