Lutein Health Benefits
Lutein health benefits include reducing the risk of vision problems and possibly inhibiting prostate cancer growth. This potent antioxidant is a cousin of lycopene, beta-carotene, and other carotenoids and is found in dark green leafy vegetables, fruits, corn, and egg yolk.
Lutein is perhaps best known for its support of vision, especially helping reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Overall it is an antioxidant that can reduce or destroy free radicals throughout the body, which brings us to the prostate gland.
Several studies have indicated that lutein health benefits may include some cancer-fighting properties when it comes to the prostate. In 2005, a study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) looked at the impact of avocado extract versus pure lutein against human prostate cancer cell growth. (Lu 2005)
Why avocado? Because it is one of the richest food sources of the carotenoid. The researchers found that avocado extract inhibited cell growth by up to 60 percent, but that pure lutein alone was ineffective. The researchers believed their findings meant that the combination of carotenoids, vitamins, and other compounds in avocados may have a synergistic effect against prostate cancer compared with lutein alone. In a subsequent study, published in Nutrition and Cancer, researchers showed that lutein inhibited rat prostate cancer cells. (Gunasekera 2007)
How To Use Lutein
To appreciate lutein health benefits, research suggests that adults should get a minimum of 6 to 10 mg daily of lutein from food sources. Because most people don’t reach that goal, a supplement may be in order. Consult a knowledgeable healthcare professional about the best dose for your needs.
Gunasekera RS, Sewgobind K, Desai S, Dunn L, Black HS, McKeehan WL, Patil B. Lycopene and lutein inhibit proliferation in rat prostate carcinoma cells. Nutr Cancer 2007; 58(2): 171-77.
Lu QY, Arteaga JR, Zhang Q, Huerta S, Go VL, Heber D. Inhibition of prostate cancer cell growth by an avocado extract: role of lipid-soluble bioactive substances. J Nutr Biochem 2005 Jan; 16(1): 23-30