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Lutein belongs to the xanthophylls, a subgroup of the carotene family.
Carotenoids are a group of over 600 compounds known as the carotenoid pigments.
These pigments give yellow, green or orange coloration to vegetables and fruits
and are precursors for vitamin A or retinol, an essential chromophore in all
known visual systems. Lutein is naturally found in egg yolk and several plants
including collard greens, kale, leeks, peas, romaine lettuce and spinach.
Lutein is a yellow carotenoid pigment produced by plants and found in our eyes
in the central area of the retina, called macula. The macula is a small,
concentrated collection of photosensitive cells in the middle of the retina,
directly behind the lens, that is responsible for central vision. In front of
the photoreceptor is the neural retina. The neural retina is a network of
various nerve and other cells that carry visual signals laterally to the optic
nerve. A special antioxidant pigment accumulates within the neural retina
directly over the central macular region. This antioxidant is observed as a
yellow spot called the macula lutea. This yellow pigment is derived from the
diet in foods that are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, a non-vitamin A carotenoid
pigment that is a “cousin” to beta-carotene. While vitamin A, beta-carotene and
lycopene are also members of the carotenoid family, researchers have found that
lutein is the carotenoid found most abundantly in the eye. Recent evidence
suggests lutein/zeaxanthin acts similarly to yellow "blue-blocking" sunglass
filters, protecting receptors from bleaching by sunlight and oxidative damage.
Dietary lutein is considered an essential micronutrient for normal vision.
Lutein acts as a filter to protect the light-sensitive photoreceptor cells (cone
cells) in macula from potentially damaging forms of light and light-originated
free radical damages. Lutein protects the optic nerve and may help deter the
development of age-related eye disorders such as macular degeneration, a leading
cause of blindness in older people. Macular degeneration is the breakdown of
these light-sensing cells, eventually resulting in the loss of sight in the
central part of the field of vision. This breakdown of light-sensing cells is
due to a process called oxidation. The oxidants responsible for this are present
in all of us, produced by normal metabolic processes. These oxidants are kept
under control by antioxidants that prevent the oxidation of the macular cells.
Unfortunately, as we grow older, this protective process becomes less effective.
Studies show that people who eat more lutein-containing foods or take lutein
rich supplements appear to be less likely to develop macular degeneration.
Cataracts are the leading cause of vision impairment and a leading cause of
blindness worldwide. They can only be treated by surgically replacing the lens
and cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the
U.S. Recently, the correlation between dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin
and the risk of cataracts have been studied. In fact, three recent
epidemiological studies have reported a definite correlation between higher
intake of lutein and zeaxanthin and a reduced risk of cataracts. Lutein and
zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids found in the lens, but at much lower
concentrations than in the macula.
The levels of these nutrients found in foods and in typical multivitamins are
not sufficient to significantly impact the progression of eye-related disease
making supplementation an easy way to obtain the necessary levels of these
nutrients to optimize and support eye health.
Olympian Labs’ Lutein is a 100% pure, vegetarian formulation containing no
animal bi-products and is available in easy-to-swallow, kosher-certified
Servings Size: One (1) Capsule
Servings Per Container: 60
Amount Per Serving:
Grape Skin Extract
†Daily Value not established.
Other Ingredients: Microcrystalline Cellulose (Plant Fiber), Rice Flour,
Magnesium Stearate, and Silica.