Recent evidence suggests that diet can modify the risk of future cognitive impairment and dementia. A biologically plausible rationale and initial clinical data indicate that the antioxidant activities of dietary carotenoids may assist the preservation of cognitive function. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials was conducted to examine the relationship between carotenoid supplementation and cognitive performance. A literature search was conducted in the MEDLINE (via PubMed), Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases from their inception to July 2020. A total of 435 studies were retrieved. Abstract screening using predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria was followed by full-text screening and data extraction of study characteristics and measured outcomes. A meta-analysis of eligible trials was performed using a random-effects model to estimate pooled effect size. We identified 9 studies with a total of 4402 nondemented subjects, whose age ranged from 45 to 78 years. Results of the pooled meta-analysis found a significant effect of carotenoid intervention on cognitive outcomes (Hedge’s g = 0.14; 95% confidence interval: 0.08, 0.20, p
< 0.0001). There was no evidence of heterogeneity among the studies (τ2 = 0.00, I2
= 0.00%, H2
= 1.00) or publication bias. Although further studies are needed, our results suggest that carotenoid interventions are associated with better cognitive performance. Thus, these dietary compounds may help to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.
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