RSSEyes a nutritional window to the brain

Posted on Thu, 20 Jul 17

Eyes a nutritional window to the brain

Higher levels of special group of phytonutrients that concentrate in your eyes has been linked to better academic performance. 

So called “macular carotenoids” are a group of phytochemicals called xanthophylls that have a high affinity for the retina in your eyes, where they preserve eye health by buffering the stress caused by light in the eye and protect against age-related macular degeneration. 

Lutein, zeaxanthin, the dietary xanthophylls, not only have a unique affinity for your eyes, but also accumulate in your brain where they have been shown to play an important role in improving and preserving neurological health. 

Macular pigment optical density (MPOD) is a way of measuring retinal xanthophylls and correlates well with brain lutein. In a new study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience MOPD was found to correlate well with academic achievement in children, particularly in math and written language.

It is the first time an association between MPOD and academic achievement has ever been observed. “This finding is important because macular lutien is modifiable and can be manipulated by dietary intake in most of the population,” commented the study investigators. “…improved academic performance among preadolescents may be yet another beneficial aspect of increased intake of foods high in carotenoids,” they note. 


Barnett SM, Khan NA, Walk AM, et al. Macular pigment optical density is positively associated with academic performance among preadolescent children. Nutr Neurosci. 2017 May 23:1-9. 

Tags: Carotenoids, Lutein, Brain Health

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