Written by Sara Uffelman
Fact checked by The Brain Blog Team
If you’re an adult who’s using lutein supplements for brain health, you may wonder, is the supplement lutein for kids, too? We believe that caring for your brain health is important at every age, including childhood, so we did some research to find out if lutein is a good supplement to add to your child’s nutritional intake.
Science has shown that lutein shows up in breastmilk, the infant brain and the fetal retina, which suggests a critical role in brain and eye health in both the infants and young children. In fact, scientists now recommend that expecting mothers take a daily carotenoid supplement (specifically one containing Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Meso-Zeaxanthin) so that their unborn child may receive the cognitive benefits directly as the fetus develops.
One study states “recent observational evidence indicates that lutein is likely important for brain development and cognition in early life … evidence is accumulating to suggest that lutein is important to optimize ocular and cognitive health. Although the precise mechanisms by which lutein may be influencing neural health across the lifespan remain to be investigated, efforts may be warranted to establish recommended intakes for this dietary bioactive given the sum of the evidence to date and the low dietary intake of lutein across all age groups.”
Does lutein for kids really impact a child’s cognitive performance, like it does for adults? According to scientists, the answer is a resounding yes. In one study, it was found that 8- and 9-year-old children who ate more lutein-rich foods had higher levels of lutein in their retinas (associated with levels in the brain), demonstrated improved academic performance, including better scores in math and written language
This same study found that “those with higher lutein levels did better on standardized academic tests than those with lower levels. The findings held true even when accounting for other factors known to contribute to better academic performance.”
So now we know that you should supplement lutein for kids, what’s the best way to do it?
While lutein is present in both the eyes (retinas) and brains of all human beings, supplementing lutein for kids is recommended for maximum benefit. The body doesn’t produce its own lutein, so it must be ingested, either through the diet or via supplementation.
Unfortunately, getting enough lutein in a standard diet is physically impossible, as factory farming has lowered the nutrient levels in our food. Basically, it’s unlikely that a child can eat enough of the leafy green and colorful vegetables that contain lutein to reach the optimal levels needed to improve and protect their sight and cognition. However, there are many ways to add lutein to a child’s diet, including:
Egg yolks: Egg yolks are an excellent source of both lutein and zeaxanthin, another critical antioxidant. Both lutein and zeaxanthin show significant benefits for both eye and brain health. Many children enjoy a morning breakfast of scrambled eggs or deviled eggs as a snack.
Leafy green vegetables: Crucial antioxidants - including lutein, zeaxanthin and meso zeaxanthin, are found in spinach, kale, and broccoli. Adding leafy green veggies to saucy dishes can help children learn to like them. Consider spinach lasagna for dinner or kale chips in place of potato chips with lunch.
Other colorful vegetables: Lutein is also found in brussel sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, peas, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and carrots. Many children enjoy a colorful stir fry of colorful veggies in orange, yellow and green or replace french fries with sweet potato fries.
Getting your child to eat enough lutein-rich foods may be challenging, though even if they’re veggie lovers, science tells us that current farming practices make it difficult to eat enough of this critical nutrient. The best way to ensure that they’re performing at their best cognitively and safeguarding their future brain health with the right amount of lutein is through supplementation with a natural brain health supplement like Memory Health®.
The Memory Health® supplement provides a daily optimal dose of lutein, as well as carotenoids zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin, vitamin E and Omega-3s.
The Omega-3s contain 500mg DHA and 150mg EPA, essential fatty acids that are necessary for rebuilding new cells and are often referred to as the building blocks for healthy cell membranes. Healthy cell membranes provide critical support for the brain connections that allow for a strong memory, cognition, and emotional well-being.
Learn more about the science behind Memory Health®, an all-natural, nutritional supplement clinically proven to support long-term brain health for both children and adults. Memory Health® was awarded a patent for the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative disease, specifically Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Recent clinical research also confirmed that cognitive performance can be improved in individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment following supplementation with the Memory Health® formula.