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Lutein is a natural pigment found in many fresh vegetables. A member of the carotenoid family that includes beta carotene, lutein is the only one of the nonprovitamins found in significant concentration in the macula and crystal lens in the human eye. Scientific research has found that lutein is helpful in preventing and lessening the damage associated with age related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness among adults. It also may help prevent cataracts, and the most recent research has suggested that it may also reduce the risk of coronary disease and colon cancer.


What Lutein Does:

Lutein and zeaxanthin are the two carotenoids found in high concentration in the macula of the eye where they seem to protect against the damage caused by age, UV radiation and free radicals. In various studies, it has been shown that including more lutein and zeaxanthin in the diet can slow the progression of macular degeneration, and may prevent the formation of cataracts.


Scientists believe that macular degeneration may be the result of oxidative damage to the tissues in the eye. Its been suggested that the macular pigment confers protection through absorbing harmful UV rays and serving as an antioxidant to capture and bind free radicals before they can irreparably damage the eye. Because lutein and zeaxanthin are two pigments found in high concentration in the macula, and because they have proven antioxidant capabilities, scientists have focused on these nonprovitamins as a possible preventive for eye deterioration as we age.


In addition, some promising new research suggests that lutein and zeaxanthin may also play a role in preventing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) which is a major cause of coronary problems and heart attacks.


Health Benefits of Lutein:

Benefits Eye Health

Age related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in adults over the age of 50. The effects of AMD are irreversible. In numerous studies, lutein has proven beneficial in reducing and slowing the progress of damage to the macula of the eye.


Several studies have been undertaken to determine the effectiveness of lutein in protecting the eye against the formation of cataracts. Two different studies involving nearly 100,000 health professionals over the age of 50 showed that adults with the highest levels of lutein intake in their diets have 20% fewer cataracts.


Protects against Colon Cancer

Researchers at the University of Utah Medical School studied over 4,000 adults, half of whom were diagnosed with colon cancer. They found that a higher intake of lutein over the previous two years was associated with a 17% lower risk in the incidence of colon cancer.


Protects against Coronary Disease

Researchers in Los Angeles studied the effect of lutein supplementation on the progression of atherosclerosis a leading cause of heart attacks in about 500 utility workers between the ages of 40 and 60. Their conclusion supports the hypothesis that increased lutein intake protects against the development and progression of atherosclerosis.


Possible Side Effects of Lutein:

Even at extremely high dosages, there are no reported adverse side effects to lutein supplementation.



Though scientists have not yet established exactly how lutein works in the body, many studies have shown that it is effective in lessening and slowing the damage done by age related macular degeneration. It also has antioxidant properties, can enhance the operation of the immune system, seems to confer some protection against colon cancer and reduces the risk of heart disease. Because of the mounting evidence that lutein is effective in preventing macular degeneration and the absence of harmful side effects, most doctors recommend increasing your intake of lutein either through diet or with lutein supplements. The supplement we use that includes lutein is Xtend-Life's Total BalanceTotal Balance was developed to help prevent the progressive degeneration of cells in your essential organs and brain.


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