Dietary Carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin Change Brain Activation in Older Adult Participants: A Randomized, Double-Masked, Placebo-Controlled Trial.
Mol Nutr Food Res. 2019 Apr 5:e1801051. Epub 2019 Apr 5. PMID: 30950580
S Anna Ceravolo
SCOPE: Steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEP) can be used to test the topological response of cortical neurons. Studies have shown that a lutein (L) preferentially accumulates within cortical tissue. L, zeaxanthin (Z), and their isomers can be measured directly in retina (macular pigment optical density, MPOD), and retinal L+Z correlate highly with L+Z levels in cortical visual processing areas. The purpose of this study was to determine the relation between MPOD and SSVEP signal power, cross-sectionally and after supplementation with L+Z.
METHODS AND RESULTS: SSVEP to three different driving frequencies of stimulation (5, 10, and 16.6 Hz) were obtained for community-dwelling older adults, at baseline and after 12 months of supplementation with either 12 mg L+Z or placebo. Power was quantified at the driving frequencies. Non-specific activation was quantified within the 10-15 Hz band. MPOD was measured psychophysically. Subjects with low MPOD had reduced power at 16.6 Hz and reduced non-specific activation, compared with subjects with high MPOD. Supplementation significantly improved signal power at 5 and 10 Hz.
CONCLUSION: Past research suggests that L+Z can improve visual memory, visual processing speeds, etc. One possible mechanism for that improvement may be improving signal-to-noise ratio throughout the vision system.