Lutein is a carotenoid and a powerful antioxidant especially important for vision health. Meaning "yellow" in Latin, it is the yellow pigment found in macula which controls central vision. Because it absorbs blue light it protects against blue and near-ultra-violet light. It defends against a variety of vision conditions and eye diseases, and protects the rods and cones in the macula from free radical damage from UV light. Lutein is absorbed more readily when combined with vitamin C.
Lutein is synthesized naturally by plants and is found in large amounts in leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collards, mustard greens, broccoli, and brussels sprouts, and in yellow foods such as corn and eggs. One of the most potent natural sources of lutein are marigold flower petals, found in NaturalEyeCare's lutein formulation:
- Contains South American Lutein made from pesticide-free South American marigold - with natural and not synthetic sources
- Studies show it helps, in combination with zeaxanthin, to prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Our diet provides only about 900 mcg/day - this support formula contains therapeutic levels of lutein -- 3.5 mg per Vcap
- Combined with zeaxanthin, effectively reduces free radicals
Retinal pigment. Lutein comprises a major portion of retinal pigment and as such acts as a filter for damaging radiation. The lutein that comes from red and orange foods, such as saffron, red peppers and paprika, contribute more to macular pigment density than lutein which comes from green leafy vegetables.5
Immune response. Lutein is more than merely a filter for the sun's UV radiation. 2012 research has shown that it modulates immune responses as well as inflammation, including inflammation in the eye such as that manifested in uveitis, laser-induced choroidal neovascularization, retinal ischemia and diabetic retinopathy.1
Artherosclerosis. New research just published in 2017 determines that levels of lutein in the blood are directly related to a lower risk of atherosclerosis. It is now widely accepted in the medical community that clogged arteries are closely associated with inflammation. In the study lutein, more than other carotenoids, was associated with lower rates of atherosclerosis.3
Biomarker Role. In 2016 researchers identified lutein as one of the carotenoids that makes an excellent biomarker in observing women's dietary intake. In other words, the levels of lutein in the blood indicate the degree to which nutrients are actually being absorbed by the body and being used by cell tissue.2 Generally, biomarkers are used as tools in diagnosing disease.
Cancer. Other research suggests that lutein and other carotenoids might have a role in treating certain cancers.4
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1. A. Kijlstra, et al, Lutein: more than just a filter for blue light, Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, July, 2012.
2. J. W. Lampe, et al, Dietary biomarker evaluation in a controlled feeding study in women from the Women's Health Initiative cohort, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December, 2016.
3. A. N. Howard, et al, Lutein and atherosclerosis: Belfast versus Toulouse revisited, Medical Hypotheses, January, 2017.
4. F. Chen, et al, Carotenoid intake and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of observational studies, Annals of Hemotology, December, 2016.
5. R. Estevez-Santiago, et al, Lutein and zeaxanthin supplied by red/orange foods and fruits are more closely associated with macular pigment optical density than those from green vegetables in Spanish subjects, Nutrition Research, November, 2016.