Lutein and brain health
So I recently came upon an article that said lutein is the preferred carotenoid of the brain. It piqued my curiosity. I knew that lutein and zeaxanthin were good for the eyes, but the brain’s preference for it was new to me. I decided to look a bit deeper into it.
So why is lutein the preferred carotenoid of the brain? It is because there is a specific lutein binding protein in the brain. The brain is especially vulnerable to free radical attack due to its high polyunsaturated fat content and high metabolic activity. Lutein with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory function reduces oxidative stress in the brain. Research has shown that oxidative stress and low-grade inflammation are the major risk factors underlying brain aging and age-related cognitive decline. Lutein improves cognition by increasing the efficiency with which nerves communicate and by preserving the integrity of white matter( the area of the brain that facilitates information transfer). It is so powerful that seniors with highest blood lutein levels showed superior “crystallized intelligence’, a measure of the ability to use skills and information acquired throughout lifetime. Indeed, lutein levels are linked to a more youthful and agile brain.
What about lutein in eye health? It is known to improve or even prevent age-related macular degeneration by its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. Did you know that the retina is an extension of the brain and measuring lutein levels in the eyes is a good indicator of lutein levels in the brain? In addition, lutein is capable of filtering blue light. This reduces toxic damage to light receiving cells in the eyes.
Of course lutein is beneficial to the whole body through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.
Knowing all this, surely we should increase our lutein intake. Lutein is abundant in green leafy vegetables, corn, egg yolks and fruits and vegetables of various colors. Lutein is more bioavailable when it is mixed with a bit of oil/fat. It gives me great pleasure to report that Moringa contains one of the highest amounts of lutein and we have a product that contains Moringa! When mixed with the healthy fats from nuts, you get a very potent source of lutein. So eating our yummy, healthy Moringa balls is one delicious way of getting your bioavailable lutein fix everyday! After all, who doesn’t want a youthful, agile, and alert brain for a lifetime?