'Dietary carotenoids, eye and brain health’

‘Dietary carotenoids, eye and brain health’


Health chat with Dr Anthony R Leeds
Title: ‘Dietary carotenoids, eye and brain health’
Prof John Nolan, Nutrition Research Centre Ireland, South-East Technology University, Waterford, Ireland.

In the previous episode, 3 Dietary carotenoids and age-related macular degeneration Professor Nolan described the role of dietary carotenoids in the retina of the eye and how these may be used to help maintain good function and slow the rate of disease progression in early Age-related Macular Degeneration with supplements of the three carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin.
In episode 4 Prof Nolan describes the extension of the work to the effect of nutrition supplementation on brain function and describes the evidence for use of the same carotenoid supplements given with vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. The most recent experimental work has shown benefits in improved memory and brain function, opening up the possibility of such supplementation improving some aspects of brain function in dementia.
Dementia is a condition in which memory impairment, difficulties with the tasks of daily living, difficulty with speech and communication and disorientation in time and space, develop gradually due to several possible underlying causes.
Age and genetic factors are major determinants of risk which cannot be changed but there are several that can be addressed. Being physically and socially active, following a healthy diet, and ‘challenging your brain’ are good preventive strategies. Making safe choices is also good: stop smoking, reduce high alcohol intake, address hearing loss and avoid head injuries. Several national societies offer good guidance on these approaches, see for example: Click here
With an ageing global population and rising numbers of people already affected by dementia of various types, it will become even more important to detect those affected early be recognizing the early warning signs and then offering appropriate interventions both lifestyle and medical, see: Click here
Prof Nolan’s work on carotenoids draws attention to the potential importance of protecting the brain from oxidative damage, ideally at an early stage. The work undertaken in the Republic of Ireland needs to be replicated in other countries with studies on larger numbers of people running for longer periods, but he and his team have identified a safe, inexpensive way to help address this serious condition.
Links to useful resources related to Age-related macular degeneration can be found at this link
Links to useful sources are given below:
World Health Organization

Towards a dementia plan: a WHO guide

Dementia Types;
Dementia Alzheimers-en
Ardsi Origination
Risk Factors and Preventions
Dementia Origination
United Kingdom
What is Dementia
About Dementia
UK What is Dementia
Alzheimer’s Dementia
Alzheimer’s Dementia 10 signs
Tips how-can-i-reduce-risk-dementia

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