A new study has found that the pigment found in leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, lutein, may preserve “crystallized intelligence”, the ability to use the knowledge and skills acquired by a person over their lifetime, in older adults.
122 people ranging in age from 65 to 75 years of age participated in this study. Participants answered questions on standardized tests and solved problems to assess their crystallized intelligence levels. Blood samples were also taken to determine the blood serum levels of lutein. MRI’s were used to determine the volume of different brain structures.
Participants with higher serum lutein levels performed better on tests of crystallized intelligence and seemed to have thicker gray matter in the para-hippocampal cortex, a region of the brain that like crystallized intelligence is preserved in healthy aging. Prior research has shown that lutein actually accumulates in the gray matter of the brain and may actually play a neuroprotective role.
Further studies are planned.
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