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J Alzheimers Dis. 2015;44(4):1157-69. doi: 10.3233/JAD-142265.

The impact of supplemental macular carotenoids in Alzheimer's disease: a randomized clinical trial.

Author information

1
Macular Pigment Research Group, Department of Chemical and Life Sciences, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland.
2
Howard Foundation, Cambridge, UK Downing College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
3
University Hospital Waterford, Age-Related Care Unit, Waterford, Ireland.
4
Mercer's Institute for Successful Ageing, St. James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.
5
Northern Ireland, Centre for Food and Health (NICHE), University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) exhibit significantly less macular pigment (MP) and poorer vision when compared to control subjects.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate supplementation with the macular carotenoids on MP, vision, and cognitive function in patients with AD versus controls.

METHODS:

A randomized, double-blind clinical trial with placebo and active arms. 31 AD patients and 31 age-similar control subjects were supplemented for six months with either Macushield (10 mg meso-zeaxanthin [MZ]; 10 mg lutein [L]; 2 mg zeaxanthin [Z]) or placebo (sunflower oil). MP was measured using dual-wavelength autofluorescence (Heidelberg Spectralis®). Serum L, Z, and MZ were quantified by high performance liquid chromatography. Visual function was assessed by best corrected visual acuity and contrast sensitivity (CS). Cognitive function was assessed using a battery of cognition tests, including the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB)).

RESULTS:

Subjects on the active supplement (for both AD and non-AD controls) exhibited statistically significant improvement in serum concentrations of L, Z, MZ, and MP (p < 0.001, for all) and also CS at (p = 0.039). Also, for subjects on the active supplement, paired samples t-tests exhibited four significant results (from five spatial frequencies tested) in the AD group, and two for the non-AD group, and all indicating improvements in CS. We found no significant changes in any of the cognitive function outcome variables measured (p > 0.05, for all).

CONCLUSION:

Supplementation with the macular carotenoids (MZ, Z, and L) benefits patients with AD, in terms of clinically meaningful improvements in visual function and in terms of MP augmentation.

KEYWORDS:

Age-related macular degeneration; Alzheimer's disease; cognitive function; contrast sensitivity; lutein; meso-zeaxanthin; randomized clinical trial; visual function; zeaxanthin

PMID:
25408222
DOI:
10.3233/JAD-142265
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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