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What is lutein?

●Basic informationWhat is lutein?carotenoidsIt is a type of yellow natural pigment that has antioxidant properties [*1].Lutein isphytochemicalA type ofMarigoldyellow petals such asspinach、Carrot、pumpkinIt is found in large amounts in green and yellow vegetables, such as green vegetables, and in the green leaves of plants.It works to protect your eyes by suppressing active oxygen [*2] that causes eye aging and absorbing harmful blue light and ultraviolet rays emitted from TVs and smartphones.

It is said that there are over 600 types of carotenoids, which can be broadly divided intoβ-caroteneCarotenes such as α-carotene and luteinZeaxanthinThey are divided into two types: xanthophylls, such asThe xanthophyll to which lutein is classified, xantho is the Latin word for "yellow" and phil is the word for "leaf".chlorophyllIt is a component found in plant leaves and flowers along with chlorophyll, which gives them color.ginkgo bilobaWhen cold waves come in autumn, the chlorophyll in the leaves of plants that turn yellow is destroyed, and xanthophyll remains in the leaves, which gives them their beautiful yellow color.

●Function of luteinOne of the functions of lutein that has attracted particular attention is its powerful antioxidant effect.In the human body, lutein is mainly found in the macula of the eye, crystalline lens, skin, breast, and large intestine, but it is said to be particularly effective in the eyes.The eyes are the only organs in the human body that are exposed to the outside, so they are constantly exposed to light while the eyes are open.Light includes sunlight that contains ultraviolet rays, and blue light, which is emitted from electricity, smartphones, computers, televisions, etc.All of these things accelerate eye oxygenAmong them, blue light has a short wavelength and is said to be a powerful light, so it can cause great damage to eye cells.The eyes are said to be a place where active oxygen is very likely to be generated due to harmful light such as ultraviolet rays and blue light.​​​​​​​However, lutein, which is present in the crystalline lens and macula, plays the role of removing active oxygen generated by these harmful lights and suppressing its excessive generation.​​​​​​This "crystalline lens" is the part that plays the role of a lens in the human eye.When humans perceive things, the crystalline lens inside the eye refracts the light coming in from outside, forming an image of the shape and color of what we see. The crystalline lens is an organ with a diameter of about 1 cm, but its thickness changes by a muscle called the ciliary muscle, making it thinner when viewing distant objects and thicker when viewing closer objects.Lutein, which is contained in the crystalline lens, plays a role like a filter that blocks blue light.The macula, which is part of the retina, is the part that functions as the film in a camera.It is a very small part of the retina, which is the inner wall of the eyeball, with a diameter of 2 mm and a thickness of 0.2 mm.The macula is where light entering from the outside world forms an image after being refracted through the cornea and crystalline lens.Therefore, the macula is the part of the eyeball where the most light gathers, and it can be said to be the part that supports vision.In this way, lutein is present in important parts of the eye, such as the crystalline lens and macula, and protects them from harmful light and active oxygen.

●Need for luteinLutein is a nutrient that originally exists in the human body, but cannot be synthesized by the body.Additionally, the amount of lutein present in the body decreases with age."Age-related macular degeneration" and "cataract"It is thought that the increase in eye diseases such as lutein with age is related to the fact that the amount of lutein in the body decreases with age.Therefore, in order to maintain the health of your eyes and body and prevent eye diseases, it is important to intake lutein from your daily diet and supplements.

●How to take in lutein efficientlyContains luteincarotenoidsis a fat-soluble [*3] component, so it is not suitable for green and yellow vegetables such as spinach.lipidIt is effective when taken together.It is believed that when taken with fat, lutein dissolves in the oil and improves absorption.However, in order to ingest a sufficient amount of lutein from vegetables, carrots require more than 10 plants and spinach requires more than 4 plants, making it difficult to ingest sufficient amounts of green and yellow vegetables from daily meals. .It has been found that people who consume sufficient amounts of lutein on a daily basis have a higher amount of lutein present in their retinas.The amount of lutein in the retina is affected by diet and living environment, so it is important to continuously consume a sufficient amount of lutein.

Lutein is an ingredient that Japanese ophthalmologists are paying attention to, and more and more ophthalmologists are recommending lutein supplements to protect eye health.It is said that it is desirable to take at least 6 mg of lutein per day, but it is said that it is better to take around 10 mg to prevent diseases such as cataracts. This is equivalent to 666 cherry tomatoes and 21 carrots.A paper published in 2004 found that continuing to take 10 mg of lutein per day can help prevent diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, which increase with age.

Furthermore, luteinbilberryIt is said that taking it together with the extract improves its absorption.Therefore, in order to ingest lutein more effectively as a supplement, it is recommended to take it together with a supplement containing bilberry extract.

<Trivia ①> Lutein and zeaxanthinLutein exists together with zeaxanthin, a carotenoid.The name macular area is said to have come from the fact that it looks like a yellow stain due to the presence of lutein and zeaxanthin.In addition, lutein is effective when combined with zeaxanthin in the body, so it is important to supplement them together.

<Trivia ②> Two types of luteinThere are two types of lutein contained in lutein supplements.​①Free luteinFree lutein is lutein that has been purified to the same form that exists in the body.Therefore, after taking it as a supplement, it is absorbed without changing its form.​②Lutein esterLutein ester is free lutein bound to a fatty acid, and refers to extracted and unpurified lutein.Since there is no refining process, it is inexpensive as a raw material, but even if it enters the human body, it will not be absorbed as is.​Ingested lutein ester is converted into free lutein by separating fatty acids from lutein with the help of enzymes in the body, and then absorbed into the body.

[*1: Antioxidant effect is the ability to suppress active oxygen generated in the body. ][*2: Active oxygen is oxygen with strong oxidizing power due to its significantly increased reactivity compared to ordinary oxygen. When excessively produced in the body, lipids andprotein、DNAIt is said to affect the body and cause aging. ][*3: Fat-soluble refers to the property of easily dissolving in oil. ][*4: Oral intake refers to taking in through the mouth. ]

Effect of lutein

●Efficacy in preventing age-related macular degenerationLutein isZeaxanthinIt is also said to have the effect of protecting the macula from oxidative damage caused by active oxygen. The retina has over 100 million photoreceptor cells that recognize light and color, and there are particularly large numbers of pancreatic cells that are responsible for color discrimination.The fact that the center of the eye receives a lot of information and receives a lot of light means that it is more susceptible to damage.Age-related macular degeneration, a disease in which the damaged macula degenerates, is a disease that causes vision loss due to aging and is thought to be one of the major causes of blindness in people over the age of 65. Masu.Typical symptoms include objects appearing to be different in size or color, or objects to appear to be moving or bending.If the symptoms worsen and a black dot appears in the center of the visual field, blindness may result. Masu.​However, in one study that investigated the effects of lutein on age-related macular degeneration, there were cases in which the symptoms improved when subjects took 10 mg of lutein per day as a supplement over a long period of time.​​​​Also, research on lutein for eye health has a long history, starting with the discovery in 1782 of the presence of yellow pigment in the macular region of the retina, and in 1866 it was discovered that yellow pigment improves the ability to see. A study was conducted. ​Recently, since 2007, we have been conducting a large-scale 6-year clinical trial (AREDS II) in the United States involving more than 4,000 people. ​​Data has been obtained that ingesting lutein and zeaxanthin lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration, and further research is expected in the future. ​Lutein's powerful antioxidant effect suppresses damage to the macular area and helps prevent age-related macular degeneration. ​​​【1】【2】【3】【4】【5】【6】【14】【17】​In addition, lutein is also an early symptom of age-related macular degeneration. ] It is also said to be effective.

●Efficacy in preventing and improving cataractsLutein is effective in preventing cataracts. [8] [14]Cataract is a disease in which the proteins in the crystalline lens are denatured by active oxygen, turning cloudy and gradually making it difficult to see.The crystalline lens is perfectly transparent when it is a baby, but it becomes cloudy due to protein degeneration due to aging or light damage.Once the area becomes white, it cannot return to its original transparent state.

Using a camera analogy, if the lens is dirty or cloudy, the image will look bad.Similarly, as cataract progresses, symptoms such as blurred vision and decreased vision appear.The symptoms and rate of progression of the disease vary from person to person, but when the lens is examined through a microscope, it is said that anyone over the age of 40 will experience clouding of the lens.Cataracts appear in 70% of people in their 60s and almost all people in their 80s, and cataracts are said to be the number one cause of blindness in the world.Complete treatment requires surgery to replace the cloudy crystalline lens with a transparent artificial lens in the eye to clear vision.Lutein absorbs especially harmful rays of light that enters the body, so actively consuming lutein is said to be effective in preventing cataracts.Furthermore, the more frequently you consume green and yellow vegetables rich in lutein, the more likely you are to reduce the risk of developing cataracts.

●Effect of improving contrast sensitivity"Contrast sensitivity" is the ability to distinguish between dark and light objects.When ingested, lutein is taken into the bloodstream and accumulates in the macula of the eye.It is known that contrast sensitivity improves when lutein accumulates in the macula.​A total of 115 people, 58 people in the placebo group (those who took a drug that looked and tasted like medicine but did not contain any medicinal ingredients) and 57 people who continued to take 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin for 3 months, I compared the contrast sensitivity.As a result, contrast sensitivity was significantly improved in the group taking lutein and zeaxanthin.In addition, the concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin in the plasma increased, and the macular density also increased.This study found that continuous intake of lutein and zeaxanthin can be absorbed into the blood and reach the macula, improving contrast sensitivity.

●Effectiveness to suppress inflammationLutein has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects as well as antioxidant effects.The anti-inflammatory effect of lutein is said to be effective in preventing eye diseases such as uveitis. [7] [11]“Uveitis” is a general term for inflammation that occurs in the uvea.The uvea refers to the iris [*5], ciliary body [*6], choroid [*7] and adjacent tissues in the eye.The uvea is a very important tissue that makes up the eye, but there are various causes of uveitis, and sometimes infection by unknown pathogens can occur.Typical symptoms of uveitis include redness of the eyes, pain in the eyes, decreased vision, and distortion.The anti-inflammatory effect of lutein is expected to be effective in suppressing inflammation that occurs in the uvea and reducing the risk of developing uveitis by suppressing the actions of factors that cause inflammation.

●Beautiful skin effectUltraviolet rays can also cause serious damage to the skin, but the lutein contained in human skin is consumed when trying to protect the skin from oxidation and photo damage. [18] [19] [20]In other words, supplementing your body with lutein helps prevent aging not only for your eyes but also for your skin.A research group in Italy conducted a clinical trial on a variety of women with skin concerns.When female test subjects ingested lutein and applied it to their skin, it was reported that the water content, lipid content, elasticity, and photoprotection of the skin improved.

[*5: The iris is the ring-shaped membrane that surrounds the pupil of the eye. It functions to regulate the amount of light that enters the eye. ][*6: The ciliary body is the part that controls the focus of the eye. In addition, the pressure inside the eye is kept constant by a fluid called aqueous humor, which is produced by the ciliary body. ][*7: The choroid is the tissue with the most blood vessels and rich in pigment. It also plays a role in nourishing and protecting the eyes. ]

Lutein is obtained from food and supplements.

Foods containing lutein

○Green and yellow vegetables (carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, etc.)○Egg yolk

We will introduce the ``TOP 15 vegetables'' according to the editorial team's rankings to see how much lutein is contained in 100g!

1st place. Kale 21.9mg

2nd place. Perilla (red) 14.25mg

3rd place. Molokheiya 13.63mg

4th place. Mugwort 11.26mg

5th place. Parsley 10.01mg

6th place. Peppermint 8.48mg

7th place. Basil 8.11mg

8th place. Komatsuna 7.59mg

9th place. Arugula 5.78mg

9th place. Seri 5.78mg

11th place. Bok choy 5.46mg

12th place. Peas 5.37mg

13th place. Watercress 5.05mg

14th place. Daikon (leaf) 4.73mg

15th place. Spinach 4.51mg

*Vegetable lutein values ​​are listed based on the information below.Kale ranked first, Mangels AR et al., J.Am Diet Assoc., 19932nd to 15th place areQuantitation of Carotenoids in Commonly Consumed Vegetables in Japan

Recommended for this type of person

○Those who want to prevent cataracts○Those who want to prevent and improve age-related macular degeneration○Those who are concerned about distorted or blurred vision○Those who are concerned about floaters○People who find it difficult to see due to aging○Those who want to suppress eye inflammation○Those who want to have beautiful skin

Research results

[1] Lutein and zeaxanthin help reduce the risk of diseases such as AMD by regulating the inflammatory response of retinal pigment epithelial cells caused by ultraviolet rays and blue light.

[2] In Japanese people, excluding people with severe myopia, it was found that macular pigment concentration increased when lutein was taken, and that its effect was further strengthened when used in combination with zeaxanthin. I did.

[3] It has been confirmed that ingesting three types of carotenoids, meso-zeaxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin, improves macular pigment concentration.

[4] Lutein has high antioxidant power and has been confirmed to maintain liver function and protect the eyeballs from oxidative stress even when fed a high-chol

associated with an increase in lutein levels and a decrease in BMI and waist circumference.

[16] Macular pigments such as lutein and zeaxanthin act as a filter against blue light, and are known to protect eye health through their oxidative action, which promotes active oxygen and lipid peroxides.

[17] Macular carotenoids were found to be higher in elderly donors who regularly used high-dose lutein supplements.This is thought to be due to the long-term intake of lutein supplements.

[18] The increase in white blood cells caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays was alleviated by taking lutein and zeaxanthin. In addition, it was confirmed that it suppresses skin cancer caused by ultraviolet rays and prevents aging caused by light.

[19] Ingestion of lutein suppressed lipid peroxidation in the skin caused by ultraviolet irradiation and also exhibited photoprotective effects.This effect was greater when lutein was taken over a long period of time than when applied topically.

[20] A clinical trial was conducted on various women in which they ingested and applied lutein, and the results showed that all aspects of the skin's moisture content, lipid content, elasticity, and ability to protect the skin from light were improved. It was done.

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