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J Oleo Sci. 2013;62(10):773-9.

Chlorella is an effective dietary source of lutein for human erythrocytes.

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Food and Biodynamic Chemistry Laboratory, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tohoku University.


Chlorella contains a high amount of carotenoids, especially lutein, and has received attention as a possible dietary source for improving carotenoid levels in human blood. In the present study, we performed a 2-month single arm human study, and investigated the efficacy of Chlorella supplementation (9 g Chlorella/day; equivalent to 32 mg lutein/day) on lutein and other carotenoid concentrations in plasma as well as erythrocytes of 12 healthy subjects. Following Chlorella supplementation, lutein was the predominant carotenoid in erythrocytes, showing a 4-fold increase (from 14 to 54 pmol/mL packed cells). After the one month without Chlorella ingestion, erythrocyte lutein then decreased to a basal level (17 pmol/mL packed cells). Erythrocyte carotenoid (lutein, zeaxanthin, α-carotene, and β-carotene) levels were proportional to plasma carotenoid levels. The results suggest the transfer of Chlorella carotenoids, especially lutein, from plasma lipoprotein particles to the erythrocyte membrane. Chlorella intake would be effective for improving and maintaining lutein concentrations in human erythrocytes.

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