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- Lutein (LOO-teen)
(from Latin lutea meaning "yellow") is one of over 600 known naturally
- Found in green leafy
vegetables such as spinach and kale, lutein is employed by organisms as
an antioxidant and for blue light absorption.
- Lutein is covalently
bound to one or more fatty acids present in some fruits and flowers,
- Lutein is also found
in egg yolks, animal fats and the corpus luteum.Lutein is a lipophilic
molecule and is generally insoluble in water.
- Lutein can lower the
risk of age related vision loss, which causes gradual loss of central
- Age related vision
loss or age related macular degeneration (AMD) is caused by steady
damage of the retina.
- Lutein probably acts
by preventing oxidative damage of the retina cells. Lutein is
concentrated in the central part of the retina, called the macula.
- Lutein also reduces
the oxidation of LDL cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of artery
clogging. Lutein can also reduce the risk of skin cancer and
crystals containing 5 % zeaxanthin were obtained from the dried petals
of Marigold flowers $i(Tagete erecta) while zeaxanthin was isolated and
purified from the berries of $i(Lycium Chinese Mill (LCM berries)).
- This process has
been employed to isolate and purify a mixture of lutein, beta-carotene,
neoxanthin, violaxanthin, and lutein epoxide from green plants,
preferably, kale, collard green, and spinach.
- The purified
carotenoids isolated by this process are free from impurities and serve
as a safe source of nutritional supplement for human consumption as well
as providing a suitable and effective color additive for human
- This new market
pushed lutein's market value up to $139 million in 2004, compared to
just $64 million in 1999. Strong growth is anticipated to continue,
which BCC pitches annually at 6.1 per cent until 2009.
- Most of the
carotenoids on the market are currently produced by chemical synthesis
and partly by extraction from plant material.
- With eye health as
its main sput, the lutein market is currently estimated to be worth in
the region of US$100m and $130m.
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