According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (the “CDC”), the number of U.S. adults aged 65 or older will more than double by 2030. As the percentage of elderly in the population continues to increase, the prevalence of diseases resulting in cognitive decline can be also expected to increase.

While the underlying cause of cognitive decline still remains to be fully elucidated, many studies support the important pathophysiological role of oxidative stress and inflammation, particularly in both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Further, epidemiological studies support a relationship between brain carotenoids (a class of related natural compounds including astaxanthin) and cognitive performance.

Measurable amounts of carotenoids have been found in the human brain and are reported to be significantly lower in the brain of Alzheimer’s disease patients. Most importantly, a recently conducted, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical trial supported the potential for astaxanthin to improve cognitive function in an elderly population afflicted with age-related forgetfulness. The trial was conducted with astaxanthin doses comparable to current nutraceutical doses.

The development of an astaxanthin based anti-inflammatory approach to aid in cognitive decline represents potential treatment for an expanding population with few options to help slow progression or delay onset of these diseases.