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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #161933



Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2004
Publication Date: 8/1/2004
Citation: Chung, H., Rasmussen, H.M., Johnson, E.J. 2004. Lutein bioavailability is higher from lutein-enriched eggs than from supplements and spinach in men. Journal of Nutrition. 134(8):1887-93

Interpretive Summary: Lutein, a common plant pigment, has been strongly implicated as being protective certain eye diseases. The mechanism by which lutein is involved in disease prevention may involve its role as an antioxidant, to protect the eye from light damage. Major dietary sources of lutein include green vegetables such as spinach. A dietary source not often considered is eggs. The purpose of this research was to compare the amount of lutein that is absorbed from eggs, spinach, and supplements. Ten healthy men were recruited for the study. The blood lutein levels were determined before, during and after consumption of an equal amount lutein contained in egg, spinach or two supplements types (lutein, lutein diesters). Differences among the blood response to the various lutein doses were observed the day after the first dose. At this time the blood lutein increase to egg was significantly greater than the supplements but not different than the spinach dose. After 9 days of a daily lutein dose, the increase in blood lutein level was significantly greater in the egg phase than any of the other phases (spinach, supplements). At study end, there were no differences among the spinach and two supplement doses. These results provide exciting evidence that lutein from eggs is easily absorbed when compared to more conventional sources. A healthy diet that includes lutein that is easily absorbed may lead to an increase concentration of lutein in the eye, which may reduce the risk for certain eye diseases.

Technical Abstract: Lutein has been shown to be protective against diseases such as age related macular degeneration. At present, data regarding bioavailability of lutein from various sources are insufficient. We compared the lutein response in serum and triglycerol-rich lipoprotein fraction (TRL) after ingestion of lutein supplement, lutein ester supplement, spinach and egg in humans. Ten healthy male subjects participated in intervention study with crossover design. After 2wk washout period of low carotenoid diet, the subjects consumed one of the four lutein doses (lutein supplement, lutein ester supplement, spinach egg) for 10 days. All lutein doses provided 6 mg lutein except for lutein ester dose, which provided 5.5 mg lutein equivalent. Fasting serum samples were collected on Day '14, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 10 and analyzed for changes in lutein concentration. TRLs were separated from postprandial blood samples after the first lutein dose and analyzed for lutein concentration. Subjects finished all four phases of the study in a randomized order. Results from repeated measures one way ANOVA showed that dose adjusted lutein response in serum was significantly higher in egg phase than in lutein, lutein ester and spinach phases on Day 2, Day 3 and Day 10. The result from TRL showed the same trend, but the difference was not statistically different. The lutein bioavailability from egg is higher than from other sources such as lutein, lutein ester and spinach. The lutein bioavailability from lutein, lutein ester and spinach are not significantly different.