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Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Dec;74(6):796-802.

Relation between dietary intake, serum concentrations, and retinal concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin in adults in a Midwest population.

Author information

  • 1Department of Animal and Nutritional Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA. joannec@christa.unh.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Information on concentrations of retinal carotenoids (macular pigment, or MP) is of particular interest because MP protects against age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States.

OBJECTIVE:

This study was designed to evaluate the relation between dietary intake, blood concentrations, and retinal concentrations of carotenoids in a large group of volunteers.

DESIGN:

Two hundred eighty volunteers in the Indianapolis area completed health and diet questionnaires, donated a blood sample, and participated in MP density assessment to determine retinal carotenoid status. Dietary intake was assessed by food-frequency questionnaire. Serum concentrations of lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene were measured by HPLC. MP optical density (MPOD) was determined psychophysically with a 460-nm, 1 degrees test stimulus.

RESULTS:

Average MPOD was 0.21 +/- 0.13. Average intakes of lutein + zeaxanthin and beta-carotene were 1101 +/- 838 and 2935 +/- 2698 microg/d, respectively. Although several key dietary intake variables (eg, lutein + zeaxanthin and beta-carotene) differed by sex, no significant sex differences were found in either serum concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin or MPOD. Serum beta-carotene concentrations were significantly higher in women than in men. Serum lutein + zeaxanthin and dietary intake of lutein + zeaxanthin were significantly correlated and significantly related to variations in MPOD (r = 0.21, P < 0.001, and r = 0.25, P < 0.001, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS:

Retinal carotenoids can be measured in epidemiologic studies. In this study, MPOD was associated with lutein + zeaxanthin in the diet and the serum. Retinal concentrations, however, were influenced by other factors as well. To understand the effect of dietary lutein + zeaxanthin intake on the retina and risk of age-related eye disease, future studies should include measures of macular concentrations of these pigments.

PMID:
11722962
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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