Nutritional Intervention to Prevent Alzheimer's Disease: Potential Benefits of Xanthophyll Carotenoids and Omega-3 Fatty Acids Combined

John M. Nolan, Riona Mulcahy, Rebecca Power, Rachel Moran, Alan N. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that enrichment of certain nutritional compounds in the brain may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Objective: To investigate the impact of supplemental xanthophyll carotenoids plus omega-3 fatty acids on disease progression in patients with AD. Methods: Three trial experiments were performed. In Trials 1 and 2 (performed on patients with AD over an 18-month period), 12 patients (AD status at baseline: 4 mild and 8 moderate) were supplemented with a xanthophyll carotenoid only formulation (Formulation 1; lutein:meso-zeaxanthin:zeaxanthin 10:10:2mg/day) and 13 patients (AD status at baseline: 2 mild, 10 moderate, and 1 severe) were supplemented with a xanthophyll carotenoid and fish oil combination (Formulation 2; lutein:meso-zeaxanthin:zeaxanthin 10:10:2mg/day plus 1g/day of fish oil containing 430mg docohexaenoic acid [DHA] and 90mg eicopentaenoic acid [EPA]), respectively. In Trial 3, 15 subjects free of AD (the control group) were supplemented for 6 months with Formulation 1. Blood xanthophyll carotenoid response was measured in all trials by HPLC. Omega-3 fatty acids were profiled by direct infusion mass spectrometry. Results: Xanthophyll carotenoid concentration increases were significantly greater for Formulation 2 compared to Formulation 1 (p<0.05), and progression of AD was less for this group (p=0.003), with carers reporting functional benefits in memory, sight, and mood. Conclusion: This preliminary report suggests positive outcomes for patients with AD who consumed a combination of xanthophyll carotenoids plus fish oil, but further study is required to confirm this important observation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-378
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Volume64
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • dementia
  • DHA
  • fatty acids
  • lutein
  • meso-zeaxanthin
  • nutrition
  • omega-3
  • prevention
  • xanthophyll carotenoids

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