Lutein + zeaxanthin may boost visual processing speed: RCT data

Lutein and zeaxanthin may boost visual processing speed even in young peopel at their peak, says a new study that ties together the eye and brain health benefits of the carotenoids.

Data published in PloS One indicate that zeaxanthin on its own or combined with lutein and omega-3s boosted visual motor reaction time by about 10% compared to placebo.

«These results are consistent with a role of lutein and zeaxanthin in visual processing speed and visual motor behaviour», wrote the researchers from The University of Georgia.

«The fact that we could produce measurable changes in young healthy individuals is promissing given the high therapeutic and practical relevance of a faster more efficient nervous system.»

From eyes to the brain

The link between lutein and eye health was first reported in 1994 by Dr Johanna Seddon and her co-workers at harvard University, who found a link between the intake of carotenoid-rich food, particularly dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, and a significant reduction in age-related macular degeneration.

Numerous studies with data from primates, children, middle-aged people, and the elederly now support the importance of lutein in brain health.

Dr. Johnson told us recently that data from pediatric brain tissue studies have shown that about 60% of the total carotenoids in the pediatric brain tissue is lutein, and yet NHANES data show that lutein is only about 12% of the carotenoids in the diets, so there is a preference for lutein in the brain, she noted.

Study details

Baseline data showed that people with higher macular pigment density, a biomarker of lutein and zeaxanthin levesl in brain, had higher thesholds of critical flicker fusion, and visula motor performance.

Supplements of zeaxanthin and the mixed formulation increased CFF thresholds by about 12%, and a visual motor reaction time by about 10%, compared to placebo.

«The visual stimuli that were used in this experiments were specifically designed to test central measures of visual processing», wrote the reasearchers. «Hence, the mechanisms underlying the begavioral responses likely also reflected functional properties of the brain as opposed toonly optical or neural properties of the eye itself, such as improved function in disabling glare conditions or reduced scotopic noise».
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Source: Nutraingredients