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The impact of carotenoids on cognitive function in the elderly*

ELIZABETH J. JOHNSON, Ph.D.
Tufts University, Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging
Boston, MA 02111, USA

Abstract

Cognitive decline in the elderly is a significant public health issue. Oxidative stress and inflammation are believedto be involved in the pathogenesis of cognitive decline. Given their role as anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, dietary carotenoids may play a role in the prevention, delay, or progression of cognitive decline. Of all the carotenoids,β-carotene has been the most study. While the reported evidence is not entirely consistent, there is suggestion that increasecarotenoids status may be beneficial. Additionally, lutein and zeaxanthin may be of particular importance since, amongthe carotenoids, they are preferentially taken up into neural tissue.