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Higher lutein and zeaxanthin levels may help guard against cataract.

In the British Journal of Nutrition, Finnish researchers report that increased plasma levels of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are associated with a lower risk of cataract in older individuals.*

The study included 1,130 men and 559 women who enrolled in the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study from 1998-2001. Plasma samples collected between 2005 and 2008 were analyzed for carotenoids and other factors.

From the beginning of the current investigation through 2008, 113 cataracts were diagnosed, including 108 nuclear cataracts, resulting in a four-year nuclear cataract incidence of 6.4%. Among subjects whose lutein levels were among the top one-third of participants, there was a 42% lower risk of being diagnosed with nuclear cataract and for those whose zeaxanthin levels were among the top third, the risk was 41% lower risk, compared to subjects whose plasma levels were in the lowest third.


* Br J Nutr. 2011 Oct 18:1-7.

Editor's Note: While three cross-sectional studies have found a lower risk of nuclear cataract or their progression in association with higher serum levels or dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin, the current study's authors note that a recent FDA review concluded that there was no credible evidence to support a protective effect for lutein or zeaxanthin on cataract risk. However, Dr. Karppi and colleagues remark that there are factors that could explain previous inconsistent study results.

-- D. Dye

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Title Annotation:IN THE NEWS
Author:Dye, D.
Publication:Life Extension
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2012
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