Lutein and zeaxanthin isomers--known as the macular carotenoids--are traditionally associated with eye health, but researchers at the University of Georgia found an interesting connection to their function in brain health, showing that they improved psychological stress levels and reduced serum cortisol. The LAMA II (an acronym for Lutein, Vision and Mental Acuity II) study was the subject of a recent paper, "Supplementation with macular carotenoids reduces psychological stress, serum cortisol, and sub-optimal symptoms of physical and emotional health in young adults," which was published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, 2017 (Stringham, et al.). LAMA II further demonstrates the vision and cognitive benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin isomers seen in LAMA I.
In LAMA II, fifty-nine healthy, young adults aged 18 to 25 participated in the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which blood cortisol, psychological stress ratings, behavioral measures of mood, and symptoms of sub-optimal health were measured at baseline, 6 months, and after 12-months of daily supplementation with either a placebo, 10/2 mg, or 20/4 mg of lutein/zeaxanthin isomers from Lutemax 2020. The results show that supplementation of both doses for 6 months significantly improved psychological stress, serum cortisol, and measures of emotional and physical health compared to placebo, which was maintained or further improved after 12 months of supplementation.
Although considered groundbreaking, the findings of LAMA II are not surprising. Functioning as potent antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin isomers specifically deposit in neural tissue, in specific regions of both the eyes and brain. With chronic stress being linked to a variety of health issues including high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and anxiety, findings like this show great promise for billions of people worldwide.
"This compelling research demonstrates the expanded benefits of supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin isomers to help address the huge public health concern surrounding elevated stress and cortisol levels," said Abhijit Bhattacharya, President of OmniActive Health Technologies Ltd., producers of Lutemax 2020. "The results of LAMA II serve as a strong foundation on which new macular carotenoids science can be built."
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