lutein

Lutein boosts eye health, preventing cataracts and macular degeneration

Saturday, July 30, 2005 by: Dani Veracity

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Fruits and vegetables have yet another disease-fighting weapon to offer you: Lutein. Studies show this carotenoid prevents and, to some extent, reverses vision loss, immune system problems, cancer and cardiovascular disease. With that in mind, load up your plate with foods high in lutein -- carrots, corn, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard, mustard greens, red peppers, dill, parsley, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes and red, blue and purple fruits -- and read all about what this amazing plant nutrient will do for your body.

Is your vision blurry? I know mine is after sitting in front of the computer for a while. In that case, you and I need to eat more lutein-rich foods, according to Drs. Michael R. and Marc R. Rose. In their book, Save Your Sight, they write, "A few weeks after consuming more lutein-rich foods or lutein supplements, some normal-sighted people report less glare, improved color vision and sharper vision." Theory suggests that lutein and its companion carotenoid zeaxanthin may save our sight by acting "as a shield or filter that helps to absorb harmful UVB light and dangerous free-radical molecules, both of which threaten the retinal tissue," according to Life Extension Foundation's Disease Prevention and Treatment.

Though everyone's sight could benefit from a diet high in lutein, it can literally save the sight of those who have family histories of macular degeneration and other vision loss problems. If someone in your family has experienced loss of sight in old age, then your high-lutein diet should start long before you reach middle age. In a Harvard University-based study, women with diets high in lutein and zeaxanthin experienced a 22 percent reduced risk of cataracts, while men reduced their risk by 19 percent, according to Reader's Digest's Fight Back with Food.

Based on a study described by Laurie Deutsch Mozian in her book, Foods that Fight Disease, a dietary intake of only six milligrams of lutein per day decreases your chances of developing age-related macular degeneration by 43 percent. For that reason, in Bill Gottlieb's Alternative Cures, Dr. Mark Grossman of the Integral Health Center in Rye and New Paltz, New York, advises, "Everyone over the age of 50 should be taking lutein supplements." However, if you are already experiencing macular degeneration or other vision problems, a high-lutein diet can still help you save your sight by increasing the density of your macular pigment. "Macular degeneration may be stabilized or reversed with nutritional intervention," says Dr. Grossman. He later goes on to say, "By far, it's (lutein) the number one nutritional treatment for the disease."

Not only will lutein save your sight, it may also boost your immune system and, accordingly, prevent cancer. "Healthy people seeking to boost overall immune function should consider consuming 5,000 IU of beta-carotene daily, along with other carotenoids, such as lycopene and lutein," writes the Life Extension Foundation. By boosting your immunity, lutein decreases your chances of getting cancer, since development of cancer as a disease is associated with immune system impairment. I know you've probably heard this a million times, but just in case you haven't, I'll say it again: We all have cancer cells. Cancer cells develop in our bodies all the time, but our immune systems normally remove the malignant cells before they can develop into the symptoms we call cancer. In addition to boosting your immune system, lutein may also fight cancer by both protecting your cells from free radical damage and increasing cell-to-cell communication, thus preventing them from turning malignant.

However lutein prevents cancer, we know it works. According to Professor Ralph Moss' book, Antioxidants against Cancer, more than 250 scientific papers demonstrate lutein's potential as an anti-cancer agent. In a study described in Mark Stengler's Natural Physician's Healing Therapies, people with high-lutein diets at any age decreased their chances of developing colon cancer by 17 percent; furthermore, young people with high-lutein diets decreased their chances by 34 percent. Studies show that a diet high in lutein will also decrease your chances of other cancers, including cancers of the lung and breast. According to a study reported in Disease Prevention and Treatment, women who have low levels of lutein have a 2.08-fold increased risk of breast cancer, so not eating enough lutein-rich foods can actually harm you.

In this age of fast food and junk food, cardiovascular disease is more prevalent than ever. Instead of eating french fries as our vegetables, we should be eating more lutein-rich foods. The Life Extension Foundation reports the results in one study, in which participants with the highest blood levels of lutein showed virtually no arterial wall thickening. "This was a good sign that the bad LDL cholesterol had not oxidized inside them and formed the dangerous plaque that can lead to heart attacks," the editors of FC&A Medical Publishing conclude from the results of the same study. High-lutein diets can even decrease smokers' odds of developing cardiovascular disease, according to a study Selena Yeager describes in her book, New Foods For Healing. In this study of 1,900 men, smokers with high lutein levels in their blood experienced 25 percent fewer heart attacks than those with low lutein levels.

It's easy to add more lutein to your diet because it's found in so many foods. Just refer back to the list you read above. Moreover, "lutein is five times more readily available from vegetables than beta-carotene," writes Professor Moss. Just adding a few more fruits and vegetables to your plate each day may save your sight, boost your immune system, prevent you from developing cancer and reduce your chances of having a heart attack. It's so easy to be so healthy.

The experts speak on lutein and its health benefits:

Other useful nutrients for ensuring vision health are the carotenoids lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin. Food sources of lutein: kale, collard and mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, red peppers, parsley, romaine lettuce, dill, celery, carrots, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and red, blue, and purple fruits...
Alternative Medicine by Burton Goldberg, page 946

… Even though cooking any food reduces the amount of lutein … will absorb more of that protective substance if you add a little bit of fat when cooking. … use olive oil instead of animal fats.
Eat and Heal by the Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing, page 229

Lutein and vision-health benefits

A few weeks after consuming more lutein-rich foods or lutein supplements, some normal-sighted people report less glare, improved color vision, and sharper vision.
Save Your Sight by Marc R Rose MD and Michael R Rose MD, page 73

A study conducted by researchers at Harvard University showed that women with the highest intake of dietary lutein (and its companion carotenoid, zeaxanthin) had a 22% reduced risk for cataracts, while men reduced their risk by 19%.
Fight Back With Food by Readers Digest, page 73

… The study showed that a daily intake of 6 milligrams of lutein was associated with a 43-percent lower incidence of age-related macular degeneration.
Foods That Fight Disease by Laurie Deutsch Mozian MS RD, page 122

"Everyone over the age of 50 should be taking lutein supplements," Dr. Grossman says. That's because many scientific studies have shown that regular intake of the nutrient, which is a pigment found in leafy green vegetables such as kale, collard greens, and spinach, can prevent macular degeneration, he says.
Alternative Cures by Bill Gottlieb, page 428

… "Macular degeneration may be stabilized or reversed with nutritional intervention," says Marc Grossman, O.D., an optometrist, licensed acupuncturist, and codirector of the Integral Health Center in Rye and New Paltz, New York. And the single most important nutrient to prevent or treat it is lutein.
Alternative Cures by Bill Gottlieb, page 428

Besides preventing the condition, lutein may be able to stop or even reverse existing macular degeneration by increasing the density of the macula pigment. "By far, it's the number one nutritional treatment for the disease," Dr. Grossman says.
Alternative Cures by Bill Gottlieb, page 428

lutein … WithZeaxanthin forms eye macular pigment in the retina cavity, protects against Aging Macular Degeneration of the eye (AMD), the main cause of blindness after age 40 (usewithBilberry).
Anti-Aging Manual by Joseph B Marion, page 50

… lutein … zeaxanthin … Together, these two carotenoids help protect various delicate tissues from free radical damage. lutein even beats beta-carotene at protecting fats inside eye cells from such damage.
Antioxidants Against Cancer by Ralph Moss PhD, page 36

… The fact that lutein and zeaxanthin are particularly concentrated in these parts of the eye suggests that they may act as a shield or filter that helps to absorb harmful UVB light and dangerous free-radical molecules, both of which threaten the retinal tissue …
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 1368

Lutein and immune system function in general

… Healthy people seeking to boost overall immune function should consider consuming 5000 IU of beta-carotene daily, along with other carotenoids, such as lycopene and lutein.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 901

… When plasma levels were measured for all antioxidant micronutrients in persons with HIV and in controls, it was observed that these patients showed a significant depletion of all carotenoids (lutein, lycopene, alpha-carotene, etc.) and vitamin C. …
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 901

Lutein as an anti-cancer agent

… A family of nutrients called lutein and zeaxanthin…. They're antioxidants, which means that they have the ability to neutralize harmful free radicals. In this way, antioxidants safeguard the maculae against free-radical damage.
Blended Medicine by Michael Castleman, page 19

… lutein in spinach prevents normal cells from converting to abnormal cells by improving cell-to-cell communication. …
The Origin Diet by Elizabeth Somer, page 71

"Lutein and lycopene possess exceptionally high antioxidant capacity compared to other carotenoids and may be useful in preventing cancer," said Dr. Fred Khachik, a chemist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. lutein promotes healthy immunity and decreases the growth of cancer. There are already over 250 scientific papers referring to lutein's potential as an anticancer agent. And lutein is five times more readily available from vegetables than beta-carotene.
Antioxidants Against Cancer by Ralph Moss PhD, page 36

A recent study showed that high-lutein diets were associated with a 17 percent decrease in colon cancer risk, and young people with a diet high in lutein had a 34 percent lower risk of colon cancer.
Natural Physicians Healing Therapies by Mark Stengler ND, page 91

… Eating a lutein-rich diet cut colon cancer risk by 17%. …Theory: lutein protects colon cells from damage caused by highly reactive compounds called free radicals. Good sources of lutein include tomatoes, carrots, oranges, broccoli, kale, Romaine lettuce and spinach.
Bottom Line Yearbook 2002 by Bottom Line Personnel, page 305

At Japan's National Cancer Center Research Institute in Tokyo, scientists showed that lutein protects against the formation of colon cancer, as measured by the number of pre-cancers per mouse. (203,308)
Antioxidants Against Cancer by Ralph Moss PhD, page 36

…Selenium, lycopene, lutein, and glutathione have been associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer. …
Prescription For Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A Balch CNC and James F Balch MD, page 258

… The risk of breast cancer associated with low levels of other carotenoids was similar, that is, a 2.08-fold increased risk if lutein is deficient … Analysis showed that lycopene was associated with decreased breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women, but in premenopausal women, lutein offered greater protection (Hulten et al. 2001).
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 220

Lutein has many beneficial effects in experimental animals. It increases the time until the tumor appears, suppresses the growth of breast tumors, and also enhances the growth of normal white blood cells. (340) What was particularly exciting was that very low amounts of lutein, comprising no more than two-thousands of the overall diet by weight, "can efficiently decrease mammary [breast] tumor development and growth in mice." (341)
Antioxidants Against Cancer by Ralph Moss PhD, page 36

Lutein and cardiovascular health

For example, individuals participating in the Toulouse study who had higher blood levels of lutein also had a lower incidence of coronary artery disease … Participants with the highest blood levels of lutein showed virtually no artery wall thickening, while those with the lowest lutein levels showed increased arterial thickness. In addition, lutein reduces the oxidation of LDL cholesterol…
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 466

The study followed 480 middle-aged men and women for 18 months. During that time, those who had the most lutein in their bloodstream had almost no increase in the thickness of their carotid (neck) arteries. This was a good sign that the bad LDL cholesterol had not oxidized inside them and formed the dangerous plaque that can lead to heart attacks. Results of two other parts of the study, one done in the lab with human tissue and the other with mice, supported the findings of the first.
The Folk Remedy Encyclopedia by the Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing, page 184

In a study of almost 1,900 men, Dr. Morris and his colleagues found that men who had the most carotenoids in their blood—not just beta-carotene but also such things as lutein and zeaxanthin—had 72 percent fewer heart attacks than those with the lowest levels. Even smokers, …who got the most of these protective compounds had 25 percent fewer heart attacks than those who got the least.
New Foods For Healing by Selene Yeager, page 517

Dr. James Dwyer, who led this research, recommends eating plenty of lutein-rich foods to keep your arteries clear. "A diet rich in vegetables, including the dark green leafy variety," he says, "will provide sufficient lutein to achieve the levels of persons in our study."
The Folk Remedy Encyclopedia by the Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing, page 184

Lutein may also offer protection against lung infections and osteoarthritis

… Thirdly, certain plant alcohols in the leaves (notably xanthophyll or lutein) disinfect the lungs, making it much harder for the bacilli to remain there.
Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices by John Heinerman, page 117

Other antioxidants — beta cryptoxanthine, lutein, and lycopene — appeared to lower the chances of getting OA of the knee by 30 to 40 percent, Jordan says. These phytochemicals, which are common in orange and green vegetables and tomatoes, put you ahead of the game when it comes to arthritis protection.
The Folk Remedy Encyclopedia by the Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing, page 256

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