Phospholipid hydroperoxides (PLOOH) accumulate abnormally in the erythrocytes of dementia patients, and dietary xanthophylls (polar carotenoids such as astaxanthin) are hypothesised to prevent the accumulation. In the present study, we conducted a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled human trial to assess the efficacy of 12-week astaxanthin supplementation (6 or 12 mg/d) on both astaxanthin and PLOOH levels in the erythrocytes of thirty middle-aged and senior subjects. After 12 weeks of treatment, erythrocyte astaxanthin concentrations were higher in both the 6 and 12 mg astaxanthin groups than in the placebo group. In contrast, erythrocyte PLOOH concentrations were lower in the astaxanthin groups than in the placebo group. In the plasma, somewhat lower PLOOH levels were found after astaxanthin treatment. These results suggest that astaxanthin supplementation results in improved erythrocyte antioxidant status and decreased PLOOH levels, which may contribute to the prevention of dementia.
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