According to a study published in the journal Nutrition by the University of Illinois, lutein in carotenoids may affect the memory function of the hippocampus through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It was found that higher levels of serum lutein were positively correlated with the accuracy of object association and negatively correlated with placement errors. But the researchers also point out that further research is needed because the study does not establish a causal relationship between lutein and memory function.
Obesity is associated with poor cognitive function, including poorer hippocampus function.
A potential mechanism associated with obesity and hippocampus function may be associated with an intake of lutein and a decrease in nerve concentrations, which accumulate five times as much in nerve tissue as other carotenoids.
The cross-sectional study, involving 94 overweight or obese adults aged 25-45, looked at whether lutein levels in diet, serum or macular and other carotenoids were associated with relationship memory function. Relationship memory is a process that relies on the hippocampus, which allows us to associate a face with a name or to plural a story in any order we choose. One way to evaluate relational memory is to use a spatial reconstruction task that requires participants to put objects back where they saw them before.
Participants in the study completed a computerized spatial reconstruction task to assess relationship memory, and they were also evaluated for lutein, IQ, serum carotenoids, and retinal carotenoids in their diet. The results showed that serum beta-carotene and lutein, as well as dietary beta-carotene and lutein-cosin-yellow matter were associated with memory.
However, after adjustment of covariates, the only still significant association was the relationship between serum lutein and two indicators of relationship memory performance: that serolutton in positive correlation with the accuracy of object association, and negative correlation with placement errors. Noted that because of the cross-sectional design, the study was unable to establish a causal relationship between lutein and memory function, so the researchers noted that a randomized controlled trial was needed to determine whether changes in lutein state would lead to changes in hippocampus memory performance.