Taleen Elias '05

The Effect of Lutein Supplementation on Age-Releated Macular Degeneration

Taleen Elias - Nutrition Science major

Lutein is a carotenoid found in green leafy vegetables and in egg yolks. It is dispersed in tissues and throughout the macular region of the retina. Lutein’s role as an antioxidant protects the macula from damage due to oxidative stress.

Supplementation of lutein within the rage of 6 mg to 30 mg increases macular pigment optical density and serum concentrations. Lower amounts of macular pigment optical density and serum concentrations are associated with a greater risk for an individual to suffer from Age-related macular degeneration.

Age-related macular degeneration, also known as ARMD, is a degenerative condition of the macula. It is the leading cause of severe vision loss in the developed world in those 50 or older, its prevalence increasing with age. Macular degeneration varies widely in severity from complete loss of central vision, making reading or driving impossible, to causing slight visual distortion.

Due to the hypothesized beneficial effects of lutein supplementation on ARMD there is an increased interest in the bioavailability of lutein in foods. Bioavailability of lutein can be affected by fat content in food, amount and type of fiber in the diet, as well as food matrix. Additional parameters such as smoking and obesity are linked to the progression of early and intermediate stages of ARMD.

Normal Vision

Visual effect of Macular Degeneration 

Research Advisor: Amy Olson