August 17, 2022

Carotenoid pigment: lutein

Carotenoids are among the most abundant types of naturally occurring fat-soluble pigments. Carotenoids are a type of phytonutrient, or plant chemical, found in the cells of many types of plants. Generally found in yellow-orange fruits, marigold flowers and dark green leafy vegetables, playing an essential role on photosynthesis and photoprotection.

Lutein form part of the xanthophyll family of carotenoids; it is usually found in flowers, grains, fruits and vegetables, such as spinach and kale.

Lutein is one of two major carotenoids found in the human eye (macula and retina). It is thought to function as a light filter, protecting the eye tissues from sunlight damage. Zeaxanthin is another important carotenoid that offers eye health benefits. Because these carotenoids are found concentrated in the back of the eye, they are known as macular pigments and may be beneficial for eye health.

Lutein has antioxidant properties that may also play a role in cognitive function, heart health, and the prevention of some cancers.

Pure lutein typically appears as a yellow-orange crystalline, lipophilic, solid with the chemical name β,ε-carotene-3,3′-diol (C40H56O2). Lutein can be found as esterified or non-esterified with fatty acids, most commonly with palmitic acid.
Carotenoid pigment: lutein

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