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Abstract

LUTEIN – THE LESS EXPLORED CAROTENOID

Harsha Hirdyani* and Mini Sheth

ABSTRACT

Lutein and zeaxanthin are xanthophyll carotenoids found particularly in dark-green leafy vegetables and in egg yolks. They are widely distributed in tissues and are the principal carotenoids in the eye lens and macular region of the retina. Epidemiologic studies depicts an inverse relationship between xanthophyll intake and Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), cataract and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) thus suggesting a protective role of these compounds in the eye. Some observational studies have also shown these xanthophylls may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and diabetes. It is also known to have beneficial effects on skin health. Emerging studies suggest as well a potential contribution of lutein and zeaxanthin to the prevention of various cardiovascular diseases too. The use of lutein as a nutritional supplement has been explored in recent years. It is used as a major pharmaceutical but its application as a nutraceutical still needs to be emphasised upon as its industrial application will be very promising in near future. Lutein is a promising biologically active component in the food industry.

Keywords: Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Xanthophyll, Nutraceutical, ARMD, Cancer.


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