Effects of Composite Supplement Containing Astaxanthin and Sesamin on Cognitive Functions in People with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;62(4):1767-1775. doi: 10.3233/JAD-170969.


Background: Dementia and its first or transitional stage, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), is a major concern for the aging Japanese society. Thus, the use of dietary supplements to improve or maintain cognitive function has become a topic of public interest.

Objective: In this study, we evaluated the effects of a composite supplement containing food-derived antioxidants, specifically astaxanthin and sesamin (AS), on cognitive function in people with MCI.

Method: Twenty-one healthy participants with MCI were recruited in our double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study. They were assigned to either an AS group, who received ingestible capsules containing AS, or a placebo group, who received identical placebo capsules. To assess cognitive functions, we performed the Japanese version of the Central Nervous System Vital Signs (CNSVS) test and the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cog test at baseline, after 6 weeks, and after 12 weeks of dietary supplementation.

Results: The CNSVS test revealed significant improvements in psychomotor speed and processing speed in the AS group compared with the placebo group, suggesting that the daily supplementation of AS improved cognitive functions related to the ability to comprehend, and perform complex tasks quickly and accurately.

Conclusion: Our results provide support for the use of AS as a dietary supplementation for improving cognitive functions.

Keywords: Astaxanthin; CNSVS; cognitive functions; mild cognitive impairment; sesame extract; sesamin.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Dioxoles / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lignans / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pilot Projects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Xanthophylls / therapeutic use


  • Dioxoles
  • Lignans
  • Xanthophylls
  • astaxanthine
  • sesamin