New research by the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland lead by Professor John Nolan (BON Conference Chair) and Rachel Moran (Postgraduate Researcher on the project) has just been published in the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging (Volume 21 Issue 3). This aim of this research was to investigate non-dietary correlates and determinants of plasma lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) concentrations in 3,681 Irish adults as part of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). TILDA represents a unique large-scale, nationally representative, longitudinal study on ageing in the Republic of Ireland and has collected data on all aspects of health, economic and social circumstances from adults aged 50 years and older. TILDA began in 2009 (with interviews every two years and health assessments every four years), but the focus of this publication relates to baseline (wave 1) data (collected between 2009 and 2011).
The findings of this report indicated that plasma concentrations of L and Z were lower in association with indicators of a poor lifestyle (high BMI, tobacco use, and less physical exercise) and in association with lower education, indicating that modifying lifestyle in a positive way is likely to be reflected in higher concentrations of plasma carotenoids, with consequential and putative health benefits for humans.
This research was completed in conjunction with the core research team at TILDA (). The main project work was supported by An Roinn Sláinte (Irish Department of Health), The Atlantic Philanthropies, and Irish Life plc. This component of the research study was supported by Bayer, Ireland and the Waterford Institute of Technology Presidential Scholarship.
Professor Nolan commented “This is a major piece of research for our field. We know that the dietary-derived macular carotenoids display a lot of variation between individuals, even between individuals with similar diets. Therefore, understanding the non-dietary factors that affect their concentrations in blood is very important. This work emphasises the importance of optimising lifestyle to enhance human carotenoid nutrition, which we now believe is significant for human function and wellness.”
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