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Lutein, zeaxanthin may protect against colon cancer.

The carotenoid pigments lutein and zeaxanthin may work together to help prevent colon cancer, according to a new laboratory study. (1) These antioxidants are best known for their importance in reducing the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. (2)


Korean researchers extracted several bioactive carotenoid compounds, including lutein and zeaxanthin, from two common types of algae. Using a standard laboratory test, the researchers then measured the extracts' effects on human colon cancer cells growing in test tubes. Both extracts inhibited cancer cell growth and induced cells to undergo apoptosis, or programmed "cellular suicide." (1)

Although lutein and zeaxanthin are most often cited as crucial eye-health nutrients, the results were not unexpected. Evidence from epidemiological studies suggests that fruit and vegetable-rich diets, which provide high levels of these and other carotenoids, are associated with a reduced risk of various types of cancer. (3)


(1.) Cha KH, Koo SY, Lee DU. Antiproliferative effects of carotenoids extracted from chlorella ellipsoidea and chlorella vulgaris on human colon cancer cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Oct 23.

(2.) Rhone M, Basu A. Phytochemicals and age-related eye diseases. Nutr Rev. 2008 Aug;66(8):465-72.

(3.) Muller K, Carpenter KL, Challis IR, Skepper JN, Arends MJ. Carotenoids induce apoptosis in the T-lymphoblast cell line Jurkat E6.1. Free Radic Res. 2002 Jul;36(7):791-802.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:IN THE NEWS
Author:Kiefer, Dale
Publication:Life Extension
Article Type:Clinical report
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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