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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DIETARY CAROTENOIDS, RETINOIDS, AND BIOACTIVATES ON HEALTHY AGING

Location: Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging

Title: Intake of lutein and zeaxanthin differ with age, sex, and ethnicity

Authors
item Johnson, Elizabeth -
item Maras, Janice -
item Rasmussen, Helen -
item Tucker, Katherine -

Submitted to: Journal Of The American Dietetic Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 22, 2010
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Citation: Johnson, E.J., Maras, J.E., Rasmussen, H.M., Tucker, K.L. 2010. Intake of lutein and zeaxanthin differ with age, sex, and ethnicity. Journal Of The American Dietetic Association. 110(9):1357-1362.

Interpretive Summary: Lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) are carotenoids that are selectively taken up into the macula of the eye where they are thought to protect against the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Current dietary databases make it difficult to ascertain their individual roles in eye health because their concentrations in foods are generally reported together.In this study we determined intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin, separately, in a large U.S. population. The top major food sources for lutein + zeaxanthin intake were analyzed for lutein and zeaxanthin by our laboratory. Results were applied to dietary data from a large U.S. population. Lutein + zeaxanthin food contents were separated into lutein and zeaxanthin in the nutrient database and lutein and zeaxanthin intakes were calculated separately. Among all age groups, both genders, and all ethnicities, intakes of lutein were greater than of zeaxanthin. Relative intake of zeaxanthin to lutein (Z:L) decreased with age, with Z:L ratio lower in females. Z:L in Mexican Americans was significantly greater than other ethnicities (other Hispanics, non Hispanic white, non Hispanic black, other races). Intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin differed among age groups, gender and ethnicities. Lower Z:L ratios were measured in groups at risk for age-related macular degeneration (older subjects, females). Estimates of intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin are needed for determination of their individual role in eye health.

Technical Abstract: Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that are selectively taken up into the macula of the eye where they are thought to protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Current dietary databases make it difficult to ascertain their individual roles in eye health because their concentrations in foods are generally reported together. We determined lutein and zeaxanthin intakes, separately, in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2004, using data from our laboratory on their levels in foods. The major food sources for lutein+zeaxanthin intake in NHANES 2003-2004 were analyzed for lutein and zeaxanthin by HPLC. Results were applied to dietary data from NHANES 2003-2004. Lutein+zeaxanthin food contents were separated into lutein and zeaxanthin in the nutrient database. Mean intakes from two non-consecutive 24-hr dietary recalls were grouped into food groups, based on nutrient composition; these were matched to the new database, and lutein and zeaxanthin intakes were calculated separately. Among all age groups, both genders, and all ethnicities, intakes of lutein were greater than that of zeaxanthin. Relative intake of zeaxanthin to lutein (Z:L) decreased with age, with Z:L ratio lower in females. Z:L in Mexican Americans was significantly greater than other ethnicities (other Hispanics, non Hispanic white, non Hispanic black, other races).In conclusion, intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin differed among age groups, gender and ethnicities. Lower Z:L ratios were measured in groups at risk for age-related macular degeneration (older subjects, females). Estimates of intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin are needed for determination of their individual role in eye health.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014