The macular pigment of the eye is formed by a combination of lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein is more than just a filter of blue light and an antioxidant. Consider these points about lutein:
- Animals who received no lutein in their diets showed early degenerative signs in the retina.
- Macular pigment is important: patients with macular telangiectasia have serious difficulty seeing.
- The role of lutein in reducing the risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the subject of much of much scientific eye research.
- Lutein may cut the risk of cataract formation.
Research is showing that certain eye conditions that are believed to be caused by, or aggravated by, inflammation can be helped with lutein. These eye conditions include reperfusion (Tso and Lam, 1996), endotoxin induced uveitis, streptozotocin induced diabetes and laser induced choroidal neovascularization.
Interestingly, age-related macular degeneration includes a chronic low-grade inflammatory response throughout the body. Scientists are looking into the possibility that lutein may help AMD by reducing inflammation throughout the body, not just the eye. Therefore, rather than focusing on lutein’s precise effect on the eye, scientists may put more attention on lutein’s systemic anti-inflammatory effects.
In Latin, “lutein” means yellow.” It is the yellow pigment in the macula that controls central vision. Its ability to absorb blue light protect the eye from damage due to blue and near-ultra-violet light. Lutein protects the eye from many eye diseases and vision conditions. It also protects the rods and cones of the medulla from UV light, which would cause free radical damage.
Plants make lutein naturally, and it is plentiful in leafy greens, as well as in foods that are yellow in color (corn, eggs, etc.). Marigold flower petals are a highly potent source of lutein, and that is what we use in NaturalEyeCare’s lutein formulation.
Study: “Lutein: More than just a filter for blue light” by Kijlstra A, Tian Y, Kelly ER, Berendschot TT. University Eye Clinic Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2012 Mar 21.
Adding Lutein to Bread
In an attempt to determine how to increase the public’s lutein intake, Spanish scientists have been studying how lutein fortified bread and muffins may effectively deliver the nutrient to consumers. Findings published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry show that using high-lutein wheat and corn flower in bread products resulted in “reasonable amounts” of this powerful antioxidant still available in the cookies, muffins, and breads.