[Lutein and eye health--current state of discussion].

Medizinische Monatsschrift fur Pharmazeuten (2008-08-30)
Andreas Hahn, Bärbel Mang

Due to increased life expectancy the number of people with age-related diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) will grow. Currently AMD is incurable and only a few therapeutic strategies are available. Therefore prevention becomes more important. Protective effects related to eye health are discussed for the two carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Meanwhile both substances are offered as food supplements to a great extent. Both carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are accumulated in the retina, especially in the macula lutea. They are able to absorb blue light, which damages photoreceptors and pigmentary epithelium. Due to their antioxidative properties they can reduce changes in membrane permeability via quenching reactive oxygen species and free radicals. Research studies suppose lutein and zeaxanthin may contribute to improvement of vision in patients with AMD and other eye diseases. Based on the scientific rationale, these carotenoids may be effective in the prevention of age-related eye diseases. However, this issue has to be examined in a differentiated way.

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Lutein, analytical standard
Xanthophyll, from marigold