Lutein

Luetin is an antioxidant (enzyme or organic substance) that is commonly present naturally in a wide assortment of vegetable and fruits, including sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, like kale, collards and bok choy, and mangoes. Lutein is categorized as a carotenoid. It may be noted here that this nourishing substance is said to be beneficial for the proper functioning of the eyes - both for their general healthiness as well as their aptitude to route blue light. Interestingly enough, this nutrient is found in abundance in Asian diets, while it forms a minor portion of the usual American diet that does not include sufficient vegetables and fruits.

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Lutein has a major remedial property; it helps in diminishing the risks of developing macular degeneration - a condition where the central portion of the retina deteriorates resulting in a loss of sharp vision. Since a considerable quantity of this nutrient is stored up in the eyes, it is generally believed that lutein has an express effect on the state of the macula or the opaque spot on the cornea. In fact, the macula is responsible for the distinctive characteristic of central vision. In addition, there are several indications of the fact that lutein aids in safe guarding the eyes from free radicals, thereby diminishing the harm done by the sun rays.

In addition to vegetables and fruits, it is also possible to get lutein from different various kinds of animal fats. In fact, egg yolks possess considerable amounts of this antioxidant. However, at times the cholesterol present in the egg yolks slows down the usage of this source of nutrient. In such instances, it is considered to be an improved alternative to consume fruits like grapes and kiwi in conjunction with turnip greens and related vegetables. Moreover, one may also use dietary supplements containing lutein to increase the amount of antioxidants in the body. Sometimes, supplements containing lutein are also blended with additional vitamins and thiamin to promote the health of the eyes. In fact, blended lutein supplements are available in the majority of the health food stores and vitamin outlets. In addition, from time to time, shops selling herbs also offer combinations of natural herbs that also enclose considerable quantities of this antioxidant in the combination of the constituents.

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It may be mentioned here that as of now scientists and physicians have not fixed any common daily minimum requirement of lutein ingestion. Nevertheless, there are several herbal medicine practitioners as well as alternative medicine practitioners who recommend consumption of at least six milligrams of the antioxidant on a daily basis as a safeguarding dosage. They also recommend higher dosages for treating troubled eyes. However, when any individual regularly takes a larger dosage of the nutrient it may possibly give the skin a somewhat bronze-colored tone. Ironically, many may consider this minor side effect of taking lutein as an advantage!

Researchers continue to examine the remedial properties of lutein as well as the function of the antioxidant in preserving the health of our eyes. While the findings of a number of studies have suggested that carotenoid is useful in preventing macular degeneration, other researches hint that lutein may also be helpful to prevent or treat blurred vision as well as the ability of eye to react to different forms of light. Nevertheless, it needs to be mentioned that the medical community has not unanimously accepted the findings of any of the researches undertaken on this subject thus far. In other words, this denotes that some physicians would recommend the use of a dietary supplement containing lutein, while others may adopt other treatment methods for eye conditions.

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Many experts regard lutein as an advent-grade innovative dietary supplement that has the potential to distinguish very well between preserving the vision of your eyes even during your old age or becoming blind. It has been found that macular degeneration - a condition resulted owing to damage of the macula or the small central spot in the retina, is responsible for most cases of blindness among elderly people who are in the age group of 65 years and above. In fact, the macula is in control of the central vision - the sort of vision necessary for actions like identifying faces, reading, writing and even driving a car. It is unfortunate that approximately 20 per cent of elderly people in the age group of 65 years and above are victims of macular degeneration. In addition, women in the postmenopausal stage also face risks of macular degeneration to the extent of 500 per cent probably owing to the decreased level of estrogen production in their body. While scientists are yet to ascertain the precise reason for macular degeneration, they suspect that prolonged or continuous exposure to the ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun to be a primary cause of this condition. This is primarily because the ultraviolet rays of the sun help in the formation of free radicals that are not only harmful for the eyes, but also our general health.

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As of date, there is no specific remedy for macular degeneration, making the condition even more troublesome. However, the progression of this eye disease may perhaps be inhibited by means of laser surgery. In addition, there is ample proof that consuming the correct foods as well as taking suitable dietary supplements, especially those containing lutein, are able to protect the eyes from macular degeneration to a great extent. As discussed earlier, lutein is an antioxidant belonging to the carotenoid family and is naturally present in numerous vegetable, such as corn, spinach, collard greens, kale, mustard greens and carrots. Large quantities of lutein taken in through foods and supplements are stored in the macula and this has actually encouraged scientists to examine if the lutein present in the food has any influence on our vision.

Although lutein is believed to prevent macular degeneration, the predicament is that everyone does not consume enough of this nutrient. In addition, dietary supplements containing lutein were not available in the market till recently. Actually, unlike other more popular carotenoids like beta carotene, lutein has been overlooked till recently. People considered it to be worthless primarily owing to the fact that unlike beta carotene, it is not able to convert into vitamin A. However, now we are aware that lutein is a valuable antioxidant and according to several researchers, lutein has the capability to neutralize the hazardous free radicals formed by the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. By deactivating the free radicals, lutein is able to protect our eyes from oxidative harm, especially macular degeneration. It is good news that presently several products containing lutein are available in the market. If you are conscious regarding the uses of this nutrient and desire to protect your eyes from damage, you should choose the specific combined formulas containing lutein that are particularly intended for improving the eyesight. It may be noted here that majority of these supplements also contain zinc, a mineral that also helps in preserving the health of the macula, as well as zeaxanthin, an additional carotenoid present in the macula.

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Advantages of taking lutein

In addition to adding value to our diet, the key advantage of taking lutein is that it boosts the amount of antioxidant in our body. The antioxidant characteristic of this nutrient aids in diminishing as well as eliminating the free radicals present all over our body. Considering the harm caused to our body due to ultra violet rays and cigarette smoking, this is of immense benefit to our overall health. In fact, the free radicals present in our body are responsible for numerous chronic ailments.

Apart form these benefits, lutein is also useful since it filters the blue wavelength of the light received from the perceptible light spectrum. In fact, lutein is able to strain as much as 80 per cent of this high energy glow. While this may be described something akin to the familiar ultraviolet rays of the sun, in reality they are different. It may be noted here that straining the blue wavelength of light, indoors as well as this emitted by the sun, is helpful as the blue light has the capability to generate oxidative pressure and result in injury to the open organs, including the eyes and the skin.

Who should take lutein

Lutein is basically for one and all and it provides benefits to any healthy individual who consumes the nutrient. Especially people who are usually exposed to excessive sunlight may gain most by taking lutein. Aged people also benefit by taking lutein as it helps in preventing macular degeneration. In fact, it is the older people, particularly those above the age of 65 years, who are more susceptible to this condition of the eyes.

Usual dosage

Several studies have shown that a healthy individual needs to consume at least around six to ten milligrams of lutein daily. At the same time, it is neither feasible nor additionally beneficial to consume excessive amounts of the antioxidant in one's every day diet. This is primarily owing to the fact that if you want to consume lutein in excess of six milligrams daily, you will be required to consume a large bowl of spinach every day just to obtain six milligrams of the nutrient. However, the fact remains that the typical American diet contains very less amount of lutein and, hence, they are advised to take additional dietary supplements containing lutein.

Side effects and cautions

Ingestion of lutein generally does not result in any adverse effect. So far, there has been no report of side effects from taking this antioxidant. It may be noted here that lutein is capable of functioning well when taken along with another familiar antioxidant known as zeaxanthin. This common antioxidant is present in foods and dietary supplements that also contain lutein.

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