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Article

Lutein and its Health Benefits

Wednesday, June 7th 2023 10:00am 4 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

Lutein is a naturally occurring carotenoid that is found in various fruits and vegetables. It is a yellow pigment that belongs to the family of xanthophylls, which are lipid-soluble antioxidants. Lutein is not produced by the human body, and therefore, it must be obtained from the diet. This article will explore the health benefits of lutein, including its impact on eye health, dementia prevention, cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention, improved mobility, and skin protection.

Eye health

Lutein plays a crucial role in eye health, particularly in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in older adults. AMD is a condition that causes the deterioration of the macula, which is the central part of the retina responsible for sharp vision. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that high levels of dietary lutein and zeaxanthin (another carotenoid) were associated with a 43% reduced risk of advanced AMD. Additionally, lutein and zeaxanthin can also help to protect against cataracts, which cloud the lens of the eye and impair vision. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that individuals with higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in their diet had a lower risk of cataracts.

Dementia prevention

Dementia is a progressive neurological disorder that affects cognitive function, memory, and behavior. Lutein may play a role in the prevention of dementia by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. Oxidative stress and inflammation are thought to contribute to the development of dementia. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in the blood were associated with better cognitive function and a lower risk of developing dementia. Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging found that higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in the blood were associated with better memory performance in older adults.

Cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention

Lutein may also have a protective effect against cancer and cardiovascular disease. Lutein’s antioxidant properties help to protect cells from damage that can lead to cancer and cardiovascular disease. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that higher levels of lutein in the blood were associated with a lower risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Another study published in the journal Atherosclerosis found that higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in the blood were associated with a lower risk of atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries and can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Improved mobility

Lutein may also have a positive impact on mobility in older adults. Mobility is a crucial aspect of healthy aging, and declines in mobility can lead to a loss of independence and an increased risk of falls. A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in the blood were associated with better physical function and mobility in older adults.

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