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How to Speed Up the Brain's Visual Processing

I realized I had a number of studies I wanted to share with you from back in June that I just didn't have time to write about. So although the next few studies are maybe a little old (by a couple months), I'm sure you'll still find them not only A) interesting, but B) since these were not picked up by mass media, they'll also seem fresh and new...or at least we can pretend.  :)

The first one follows another recent post on lutein and zeaxanthin a couple weeks ago. Now, the study being covered today showed that supplements of zeaxanthin--with or without lutein--may boost macular pigment optical density (MPOD) and visual processing speed in young adults.

Researchers recruited 69 young adults (18 to 32 years old) to participate in their four-month double-blind trial. These subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups: 
  1. 20 mg/day of zeaxanthin
  2. 26 mg/day zeaxanthin, 8 mg of lutein, and 190 mg of omega-3s 
  3. placebo

Daily supplementation with groups 1 or 2 was associated with a 20% increase in MPOD and a 20% increase in temporal processing speed, according to findings. 

In this study we found that MPOD was positively correlated with temporal processing speed even when young healthy subjects were targeted. This latter point is significant since young healthy subjects are typically considered to be at peak efficiency and might be expected to be most resistant to change due to "ceiling effects.”

The authors said it’s not yet known how the lutein or zeaxanthin affect processing speed but data does suggest that both nutrients directly alter brain function. Numerous studies with data from primates, children, middle-aged people, and the elderly now support the importance of lutein in brain health.

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Source: A randomized placebo-controlled study on the effects of lutein and zeaxanthin on visual processing speed in young healthy subjects

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