What is Lutein?Lutein is an antioxidant, which belongs to the carotenoid family. Lutein is a yellow coloured pigment. Although lutein is not categorized as a vitamin, dietary lutein is believed to be an essential nutrient for normal vision. Because lutein is fat soluble, a deficiency may occur if fat digestion is impaired.
DistributionLutein is found in egg yolk and many plants and vegetables, including red peppers, mustard, broccoli, zucchini, corn, garden peas, spinach, leek, collard greens and kale. Lutein is responsible for the colouring of many fruits and vegetables.
Health Benefits of LuteinLutein is an antioxidant which is believed to be an essential nutrient for normal vision. The protective role of lutein against eye damage is well document. Studies have also indicated that lutein improves heart health, protects our skin against UV damage, reduces diabetes induced oxidative stress, and possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
The central part of the retina, called the macula, contains macular pigments in which lutein is concentrated. The yellow coloured pigments protect the retina from damage of the photo-oxidative affect of high-energy light. Lutein offers eye protection by lowering the risk of age related vision loss, which causes gradual loss of central vision. Age related vision loss or age related macular degeneration is caused by steady damage of the retina.
Lutein can also reduce the risk for artery diseases. Studies have shown that persons with the highest lutein intake showed the lowest artery wall thickening. Lutein also reduces the oxidation of LDL cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of artery clogging.
Lutein can also reduce the risk of skin cancer and sunburn. Under influence of sunlight, free radicals are formed inside the skin. These free radicals can damage the DNA of cells. Lutein can protect against the damaging effects of UV-B radiation.