Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease estimated to affect 6 million Americans and 33 million people worldwide. Large numbers of those affected have not yet been diagnosed.
A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease by a Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine faculty member shows that brain levels of dietary lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and vitamin E in those with Alzheimer’s disease are half those in normal brains. Higher dietary levels of lutein and zeaxanthin have been strongly linked to better cognitive functions and lower risk for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
“This study, for the first time, demonstrates deficits in important dietary antioxidants in Alzheimer’s brains. These results are consistent with large population studies that found risk for Alzheimer’s disease was significantly lower in those who ate diets rich in carotenoids, or had high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in their blood, or accumulated in their retina as macular pigment,” said C. Kathleen Dorey, professor in the Department of Basic Science Education at the medical school. “Not only that, but we believe eating carotenoid-rich diets will help keep brains in top condition at all ages.”
Carotenoids and the healthy brain
Because normal brain functions and response to misfolded proteins constantly generate reactive oxidizing molecules, the brain is vulnerable to cumulative oxidative damage, which can be prevented by antioxidants supplied by a healthy diet. Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants that are commonly found in colorful plants. Lutein is especially abundant in kale and spinach, and zeaxanthin is highest in corn and orange peppers.
Full article here: https://news.vt.edu/articles/2023/08/vtcsom-alzheimers-research.html
Virginia Tech/September 27, 2023