No Difference Found in Lutein Bioavailability from Supplements of Esterified or Non-esterified Lutein
BACKGROUND: Lutein forms part of the macular pigment, located at the center of the retina, where it is believed to function as an antioxidant and filter of harmful blue light. Studies have suggested that diets high in lutein may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
RESEARCH: To determine differences in the body's absorption or bioavailability of lutein, 10 healthy men were asked to consume 6 mg daily of lutein from several different sources. During four separate phases of the study, the subjects consumed lutein-rich eggs, cooked spinach, lutein supplements and lutein ester supplements as additions to their diet. The lutein-rich eggs were from chickens that had been fed marigold petals, which are high in lutein.
RESULTS: Lutein absorption, based on blood levels, was significantly greater from the lutein-rich eggs than from spinach or the lutein supplements after 9 days of each study phase. "At the study end, there were no differences among the spinach and two supplement doses."
IMPLICATIONS: Studies have shown that lutein that is highly bioavailable may lead to an increased concentration of lutein in the eyes, which may decrease the risk for certain diseases of the eye. Johnson EJ. "Carotenoid response to a chronic, oral dose of lutein in human serum." Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2003;