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  • Carotenoids and branched-chain amino acids support neural function
    • Carotenoids improve eye-hand coordination after VDT use

    Extended exposure to a visual display terminal (VDT) can reduce tear production and increase eye-muscle strain and fatigue. In this study, 64 men and women, aged 20 to 60, who routinely played video games, used computers, or performed VDT activities, took a placebo, or a combination of the following carotenoids: 6 mg of astaxanthin, 10 mg of lutein, plus 2 mg of zeaxanthin per day.

    After eight weeks, those in the carotenoids group saw significant improvement in eye-hand coordination after VDT operation. Doctors also measured carotenoid levels in the macula of the eye, known as macular pigment ocular density (MPOD), which increased significantly.

    REFERENCE: NUTRIENTS; 2023, VOL. 15, NO. 6, 1459

    • BCAA levels may signal early AD

    Low levels of the essential branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) isoleucine, leucine, and valine may signal the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In this study, doctors used genetic data and obtained total BCAA levels from 115,047 participants in a United Kingdom biobank.

    Researchers did not find that low BCAA levels caused AD, but rather the reverse: that AD appeared to reduce the level of BCAAs. Doctors compared BCAA levels in participants with AD to BCAA levels in other participants without AD to identify the significant link.

    Reviewing the results, doctors concluded decreased levels of BCAAs may be a marker for early diagnosis of AD and believe BCAAs play a role in healthy nerve-signaling, energy production, and protein synthesis.

    Reference: Frontiers in Nutrition; 2023, Vol. 10, Article No. 1103303

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