It has been well established that lutein and zeaxanthin are present in high concentrations in the retinal tissue of the human eye. Epidemiologic research and the majority of clinical studies infer that a higher intake of these two xanthophylls is associated with a superior level of eye health. In a study of 376 individuals (ages 18–75), blood nutrient levels were analyzed alongside lens optical density (LOD) and macular pigment optical density (MPOD) measurements to find out which nutrients may be beneficial for these markers of eye health as we age. MPOD is associated with blood levels of lutein and can be altered with dietary intake of xanthophylls. Due to the inverse relationship found between MPOD and LOD, the researchers determined that lutein and zeaxanthin intake supports maintenance of healthy eye lenses with age. One of the first lutein supplementation for vision clinical trials was conducted to determine whether taking lutein in supplement form actually increased the density of the carotenoid pigments present in the macula. In this pilot study of 8 healthy subjects, researchers estimated the density of the macular pigments prior to administering 10mg of lutein daily for 12 weeks. Plasma lutein concentrations were measured at 4 week intervals, and during the course of the study they increased five fold from baseline measurements. It was also shown that macular pigment density increased by an average of 5.3% during the 4 week periods due to increased deposition of lutein in optical tissues. More recently, in a 9 month randomized, placebocontrolled study of 40 subjects, daily supplementation was administered at a dose of 10mg of lutein and 2mg of zeaxanthin. A two-fold to three-fold increase in blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin was seen at 6 months.
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Lutein is one of the major carotenoids found in human blood
Lutein functions as a potent free radical scavenger in a number of tissues
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