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Folic acid, lutein and astaxanthin boost cognition

Mothers’ folic acid improved cognition in children

Doctors in this study followed 70 mother-child pairs from the second trimester through seven years. The U.S. CDC recommends, and the women had been taking, 400 mcg of folic acid per day during the first trimester. At week 14, half continued, and half began taking a placebo through the end of pregnancy. At three years, doctors had access to 39 of the children and found those from mothers who had taken folic acid scored above average on cognitive development tests while kids in the placebo group scored below average.

At seven years, compared to the placebo group and to a nationally representative sample of British children at age seven, evaluating all 70 kids, those whose moms had taken folic acid scored higher in IQ tests of verbal, general language, performance, and full-scale IQ.

Reference: BMC Medicine; October, 2019, Vol. 17, No. 1, Article No. 196

Lutein, astaxanthin improved cognition in adults

Lutein and astaxanthin are the colorful carotenoids that protect vision in the macula of the eye, but recent research reveals cognitive benefits as well. In a review of three clinical trials, those taking lutein could better recall details of event times, places, and verbal language, and could more easily maintain attention to tasks compared to placebo. The study results suggest consuming 10 mg of lutein per day for 12 months was a significant threshold for improvements in cognitive function.

In a review of two astaxanthin studies, those taking astaxanthin had better verbal language memory compared to the placebo groups. Discussing the findings, doctors said that the carotenoids lutein and astaxanthin have several cognitive benefits in young and middle-aged adults.

Reference: Nutrients; 2020, Vol. 12, No. 3, nu12030617, Published Online

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