Scientists are continuously finding more evidence on how antioxidants acts to the presence of chronic diseases in our body. Lutein is a carotenoid, which is a potent antioxidant that is derived from food and unable to be synthesised by the body on its own.
High amounts of carotenoids in our diet can have a profound effect in reducing systemic diseases and age related diseases, especially those involving the eyes. But does our diet provide an adequate amount of lutein? Studies says this varies because lutein is mostly found in raw green vegetables like kale, basil and spinach. Thus, is it very unlikely we consume a sufficient amount of lutein-rich foods on a daily basis.
Studies also found that supplementing individuals who suffer from eye problems with lutein has proven to be effective. For example, a recurring and troubling eye problem for the aging population is age related macular degeneration (AMD), commonly caused due to poor eating habits. AMD has shown signs of improvement in people who took lutein dietary supplements. Not only that, lutein supplements also reduced sensitivity to screen glaring and photo toxicity effects, which are a precursor to cancer. The wavelength of blue light which is harmful to us and the absorption wavelength of lutein is almost the same, making lutein a great source to absorb blue light and protects us from more oxidative stress.
As a supplement that is best taken long term, lutein is also categorized under Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS). Lutein is also more highly distributed on the retina, making it concentrated there and increasing pigmentation of the lens. This helps in reducing cataract formation and supports eye health.
Recent studies have also found lutein to be responsible for cognitive health. Besides supporting vision health, lutein’s importance in cognitive health makes it a more prominent daily supplementation that we should consume either via our diet or from external resources.
With the upcoming World Sight day on 13th of October, let us give more importance and bring awareness to the topic of vision health, especially among the greying population
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Buscemi S, Corleo D, Di Pace F, Petroni ML, Satriano A, Marchesini G. The Effect of Lutein on Eye and Extra-Eye Health. Nutrients. 2018 Sep 18;10(9):1321. doi: 10.3390/nu10091321. PMID: 30231532; PMCID: PMC6164534.
Ma L., Lin X.M., Zou Z.Y., Xu X.R., Li Y., Xu R. A 12-week lutein supplementation improves visual function in Chinese people with long-term computer display light exposure. Br. J. Nutr. 2009;102:186–190. doi: 10.1017/S0007114508163000
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