Lutein and Zeaxanthin Isomers to Help Support Cognitive Health

Seniors concerned with preserving cognition and memory as well as younger consumers who want to boost their cognitive performance continue to look toward natural, clinically studied supplements as a solution. Preventative measures should start earlier than most people think, and supplementation can help provide support before irreversible cognitive decline occurs. The macular carotenoids—namely lutein and zeaxanthin isomers—may provide a unique combination of brain health and performance support that both young and old can benefit from.

What are lutein and zeaxanthin isomers?

What is lutein? What is zeaxanthin? You may be asking yourself this question since these carotenoids have been getting a lot of attention. Lutein (pronounced loo-teen) and zeaxanthin (pronounced zee-uh-zan-thn) are xanthophylls and two of the roughly 600 carotenoids found in nature. There are two zeaxanthin isomers (RR-zeaxanthin and RS [meso]-zeaxanthin) and along with lutein, collectively are referred to as the macular carotenoids due to their abundance in the eye, specifically in the macula and retina. It is well known that lutein and zeaxanthin isomers are critical for protecting the eye and maintaining vision health for a lifetime, but there is also emerging science showing their role in brain health and cognitive performance.

Lutein and zeaxanthin isomers support brain health

Among dietary carotenoids, lutein preferentially accumulates in the infant and adult brain. This supports the tight relationship between lutein status and visual and cognitive function from infancy throughout adulthood. Here are four interesting facts about macular carotenoids and their connection to the brain:

  1. Lutein and zeaxanthin can cross the blood-brain barrier.
  2. Lutein’s importance in early development is evident by its natural presence in breast milk; however, lutein content in breast milk is dependent on maternal intake. Hence, infant formula manufacturers include it in their products to help support healthy development. Despite survey data indicating that lutein accounts for only about 12% of total carotenoids consumed in the diet in the first year of life, lutein has been shown to accounts for approximately 60% of total carotenoids in the brain of full-term human infants.
  3. In a 2013 study of almost 4500 subjects aged 50 and older, a lower macular pigment optical density (MPOD) was significantly associated with poorer performance on the mini-mental state examination and on the Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA). Individuals with a lower MPOD also had significantly poorer prospective memory, took significantly longer time to complete a trail-making task, and had significantly slower and more variable reaction times on a choice reaction time task. These findings support the theory that MPOD may be a good indicator of the presence of macular carotenoids—namely lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin—in the brain as well as their impact on cognitive function.
  4. The accumulation of lutein is also observed at the opposite end of the lifespan, when it accounts for roughly 35% of total carotenoids in a centenarian brain, despite making up only 20% of the carotenoids in matched serum.

Discover Lutemax Brain

Lutemax Brain is a naturally derived marigold extract providing all three macular carotenoids—lutein and both zeaxanthin isomers (RR-and RS [meso]-zeaxanthin)—in a similar 5:1 ratio as found naturally in the diet.

A study on Lutemax Brain published in September 2019 shows that it positively affects cognitive performance by limiting inflammation, which can subsequently result in oxidative stress and reduced levels of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF).

The six-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involved 59 young, healthy male and female subjects between 18 and 25 years of age. Supplementation with Lutemax Brain showed significant relationships between the changes in serum/retinal levels of lutein and zeaxanthin isomers, BDNF and some anti-inflammatory markers. Collectively, the data showed that Lutemax Brain can support several aspects of cognition.

BDNF is a protein found in the central/peripheral nervous system that plays a role in neuroplasticity by supporting the growth and differentiation of neurons. In the brain, BDNF plays a role in supporting the survival of neurons, encouraging the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses in the brain. It is vital to healthy cognitive performance in areas such as learning, memory, and higher thinking.

This research further strengthens the notion that the eyes and brain are connected, and that supplementing with a combination of lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin (the carotenoid combination found in Lutemax Brain) can positively influence visual-neural processing and outcomes associated with vision, cognition and stress.

More about Lutemax Brain

You can formulate with OmniActive’s Lutemax Brain in a variety of ways and deliver lutein benefits and zeaxanthin benefits. It is available in oil suspensions and as a 100% vegetarian beadlet. Our Versabead technology increases stability and dispersibility and is a microencapsulated beadlet that creates uniform particles, increasing the active ingredient payload. We use a protective coating of antioxidants that stabilize the active ingredients of Lutemax Brain and protect them from oxidation. Versabeads easily break down after eating and also dissolve well in water. This makes Lutemax Brain well-suited for many supplement applications, including foods, gummies, bars, RTD beverages, and powdered drinks. To request a sample, please reach out to us today.

Using the brain to study