Denver - Design District - Alameda and Broadway
368 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209
Much of the research conducted on nutrients and cognitive function focuses on older populations who may already be experiencing cognitive decline, but a new study investigated the effect lutein, and its partners, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin, had on cognition in young adults in their cognitive prime. The results are exciting.
The double-blind, placebo-controlled study, published in 2019, examined the effects of lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin (a group of related carotenoids) on cognitive performance and markers of brain function in 59 healthy adults, aged 18-25. The subjects were divided into three groups:placebo, 13 mg (containing 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin/meso-zeaxanthin), or 27 mg (containing 22 mg lutein and 4 mg zeaxanthin/meso-zeaxanthin) daily. Each group was subjected to a series of cognitive tests and blood tests which were conducted over a six-month period.
Several measures of cognitive performance improved significantly in both treatment groups, including the ability to recall verbally presented information; sustained attention; fine motor/hand-eye coordination; and the ability to recognize and process information. Supplementing with these nutrients also lead to significant increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that has been shown to support neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to adapt and change throughout life and supports improved brain function. There was also a significant decrease in inflammatory markers that have been shown to be a hallmark of age- related cognitive decline.
This study highlights the benefits of supplements containing lutein and its carotenoid partners, zeaxanthin and meso- zeaxanthin, and their ability to support brain health and cognitive function, even in those in their cognitive prime.
According to recent reports, nearly 20 percent of 2 to 19-year-old American children and adolescents are overweight or obese, with a higher prevalence among African American children. Just as it does in adults, obesity increases the risk for type-2 diabetes and
heart disease. Overweight and obese children are also at a greater risk for vitamin D deficiency. This is important as suboptimal levels of vitamin D contribute to poor cardiovascular health by driving inflammation, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. A recent randomized, double-blind trial found that correcting vitamin D deficiencies in overweight children counteracts these negative effects and improves markers of cardiovascular health and blood sugar balance.
The study included 225 vitamin D deficient (<20ng/mL) overweight children (the majority were African American boys with an average age of 13 years) receiving either 600, 1,000, or 2,000 IU/daily of vitamin D for six months. Researchers wanted to determine whether the higher doses of vitamin D were more effective than the RDA of 600 IU/day for improving cardiometabolic markers. They looked at several different indices of cardiovascular health, including blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and blood sugar markers like insulin sensitivity and fasting glucose.
At the end of the six-month period, supplementation with the higher doses of vitamin D led to lower fasting glucose, greater insulin sensitivity, and improved blood pressure compared to those receiving 600 IU/day. Improvements in body composition were also observed in the 2,000 IU/day group, including lower total body fat and improved waist circumference and BMI.
Researchers concluded that optimizing vitamin D status with higher doses of vitamin D provides a preventative intervention for improving long-term cardiovascular health in overweight and obese children. They also wrote “Because our study sample consisted mainly of African American children, future studies should evaluate the use of vitamin D supplementation as a strategy for addressing racial disparities in cardiovascular disease.”