Lutein is one of many naturally occurring carotenoids which help us see better. It helps support our skin, and it plays an important role in keeping our eyes healthy.
Lutein is linked closely to another substance called zeaxanthin because they both belong to the xanthophyll family of carotenoids, and because they are the only carotenoids found in both the macula and lens of the human eye. They act as powerful antioxidants, and they help filter out damaging, high-energy blue light.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are chemically similar in fact, both have the exact same chemical formula. They are the major components of the macular pigment in the retina. The macula is a small, heavily pigmented area of the retina responsible for our central, high-resolution vision.
Both lutein and zeaxanthin are natural, fat-soluble, yellowish pigments found in plants, algae, and bacteria. Lutein was named from the Latin word luteus which means "yellow," because lutein absorbs blue light, thereby making it appear yellow.
Here's another interesting fact about lutein: traditionally, chickens were fed lutein to give their skin a slightly yellow color because market research indicated consumers preferred a more yellowish skin to a more natural white color.
- Lutein nutritionally promotes the health of your eyes.
- Lutein is the principal carotenoid found in the central area of the retina called the macula.
- Lutein is not made in the body and must be obtained from dietary sources.
- As we age, the body's natural supply of this vital carotenoid can decrease, especially if dietary intake is insufficient.
- Lutein supports clear vision.
- Staring at a computer all day can be tiring for your eyes and it's been shown that the longer you work on a computer the more your eyes can be affected.
- Lutein has antioxidant properties and is found in the macula of healthy eyes.
- Scientific evidence indicates that lutein helps filter out high-energy blue light from the sun and artificial light, which may otherwise induce oxidative stress and possible free-radical damage to the eyes and skin.
- Lutein can accumulate in cell membranes of the central nervous system, where it may support cognitive health.
- Lutein promotes healthy skin and skin hydration.
- Lutein may increase skin lipid levels, which can support skin hydration and overall skin health.
- Lutein is a powerful antioxidant credited with protecting the eye and optic nerves against damaging blue light. It helps filter out the ultraviolet (short) wavelengths which can negatively affect the eye lens and macula.
- Lutein helps build up the density of macular pigment which is important to the health of the macula and the retina. It acts as a natural sunshade to protect the eye against intense light.
- Lutein is an antioxidant which helps protect your cells from damage. Lutein may also maintain vision health when taken on an ongoing basis.
Dark green leafy vegetables contain the highest amounts of lutein, but almost as good are brightly colored fruits and vegetables. All the following are great sources:
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