Director of the Centre, Associate Professor Jon Buckley says the supplement has strong potential to help older people stay fit and healthy for longer.
“Aging naturally predisposes us to physical disability but engaging in regular physical activity can protect against the development of disability by reducing the loss of bone and muscle,” Prof Buckley says.
“We are looking at the combination of lutein and milk to see if it can help people who want to exercise regularly to both increase and maintain their physical activity levels.
“Early evidence from tests with animals has shown that the consumption of lutein and milk increased their voluntary exercise behaviour, with the data suggesting a potential mental effect made exercise more enjoyable.
“Studies in humans have shown that lutein can elicit mental effects, so it is possible that lutein might alter a person’s perception of exercise to one that is more enjoyable, thus helping them to achieve a higher level of regular physical activity”.
Prof Buckley says that if the supplement does help people increase their physical activity levels, it may be particularly beneficial for enhancing health and reducing disability, especially in the aging population.
In a bid to assess the benefits of lutein for increasing physical activity, the research team at UniSA’s Nutritional Physiology Research Centre is recruiting volunteers for a study.
Project coordinator, Dr Rebecca Thomson says the study group will be men and women aged 60 to 80 years.
“We are looking for men and women of healthy weight, aged 60-80 years who are not currently undertaking a lot of exercise but would like to participate in a study where they will be encouraged to undertake more physical activity,” Dr Thomson says.
“All participants will be given a health screening to ensure they have no conditions that might limit their ability to safely engage in regular exercise.”
Eligible volunteers will take part in a five-week study, incorporating four weeks of consuming milk and capsules which contain lutein or a placebo every day. Participants will be encouraged to increase their levels of physical activity during the final 3 weeks of the 5-week study period.
“This is an excellent opportunity to contribute to our knowledge about this novel nutritional supplement while at the same time benefitting from the health and exercise advice that will be available during the course of the study,” Dr Thomson says.
To find out more about making a contribution to this important study, potential volunteers can telephone the Nutritional Physiology Research Centre on (08) 8302 2809 or email and leave their details.
- Michèle Nardelli office (08) 8302 0966 mobile 0418 823 673 email [email protected]