and MACULAR DEGENERATION"
1. What is lutein?
Lutein is an abundant carotenoid found
in many fruits and vegetables. Spinach and
kale contain the highest levels of lutein, but it is also
present in corn and egg yolks.
2. Where is lutein
found in the human body?
Lutein has been found in the eye, skin,
cervix and the breast. Lutein is deposited in the macular
region of the eye as well as the entire retina and lens.
3. How does lutein
Lutein belongs to a chemical class of
compounds called carotenoids. As an antioxidant, lutein
may protect the macula tissue from damaging oxidation
by filtering blue light. Lutein absorbs damaging UV radiation
and dissipates it harmlessly.
4. How much lutein
should I consume?
No formal recommendations for lutein exist
yet. Nutritionists use 6 milligrams per day as a good
guideline, based on existing research.
5. What is a
better source of lutein, cooked or raw vegetables?
Cooked vegetables. In raw vegetables,
lutein is locked within the vegetable's cellular structure.
Cooking unlocks the cell walls and releases lutein, improving
bioavailability. Lutein is more easily absorbed when vegetables
are cooked or served with a source of fat, such as cooking
oil or butter.
6. How much raw
spinach do I need to consume to get 6 milligrams of lutein?
You must eat at least two ounces or 58
grams of fresh spinach to achieve the suggested
daily dose of 6 milligrams/day. This is equivalent to
at least two salad bowls of spinach per
day. Only a small percentage of people consume 6 milligrams
or more of lutein per day.
7. Can your body
No. Your body is unable to manufacture
lutein. Consumption of either a balanced diet or dietary
supplements are the only ways for your body to obtain
8. Should I take
Test your average lutein intake from
foods. If you're not getting enough lutein through your
diet, you may want to consider supplements.
9. What is the
The macula is a small spot located directly
behind the lens in the middle portion of the retina. It
is responsible for central vision.
10. What is age-related
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in individuals
over the age of 65 in the U.S. and in other industrialized
countries. AMD occurs when the cells in the macula begin
to break down, eventually causing loss of sight in the
central part of the field of vision, but leaving peripheral
11. Who is at
higher risk for macular degeneration?
There are several factors that may increase
your risk of developing the disease: age, diet, lifetime
exposure to sunlight, smoking, heredity, gender, race,
eye color, alcohol consumption and heart disease. For
example, individuals with blue/green eyes, seniors, women,
smokers and Caucasians are all at higher risk.
12. What can
I do to protect myself from AMD?
While there are factors over which you
have no control such as age, heredity and sex, you can
improve your lifestyle. Here are some tips: wear sunglasses
and brimmed hats that protect you from direct or reflected
sunlight; eat a diet rich in fruits and leafy green vegetables
(such as spinach); stop smoking; and limit
your intake of alcohol, saturated fats and cholesterol.
(Information courtesy of: www.luteininfo.com)