Macular Degeneration

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Evaluation of patients' experiences with conventional and alternative therapies at dry and wet macular degeneration. Includes success, risks, cost, addresses...

Macular Degeneration & Lutein

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The numerous statements about doctors who recommend vitamins does not allow to name a mostly named doctor or specialist. Therefore we recommend to contact a ophthalmologist of your choice.

Does Lutein help at Macular Degeneration?

People who have eaten in their whole life much green vegetables or fruit, suffer less frequently from macular degeneration and cataracts. The reason for this is accepted by the research at the moment especially lutein and zeaxanthin its related. But many questions are still open, so that the question is whether lutein in future play an important role in the prevention and treatment of age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration or cataracts, cannot yet be answered.
Various studies have shown in recent years that people who had eaten in her life a lot fruit and vegetables, less often diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration. Compared to people who ate luteinarm, there was a significantly lower rate of disease-related macular degeneration. (1; 2)

The other in 1994 by Seddon and colleagues study on the role of lutein and similar substances called carotenoids in the prevention of macular degeneration brought interesting results. Thus, the subjects had the highest intake of carotenoids (including lutein) less a 43% risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. (1)

In 2002 at the University of Salt Lake City (USA) patients were studied with age-related macular degeneration. It was a novel analytical methods for laser use. It could be demonstrated that can be found in patients with age related macular degeneration, lutein and zeaxanthin in low concentrations in the macula.

In the course of the study subjects were given this drug with a high-dose lutein (about 4 mg per day). This allowed the concentration of lutein in the macula increased significantly. . (3)

In a small study on macular degeneration, similar effects could also be achieved by a change in diet. The subjects received one of maize and spinach-rich diet. This resulted in about half of all subjects to an increase in the density of the macular pigment. These improvements could be after just 4 weeks to determine diet, after stopping the diet rich in lutein was the positive effect for several months. This could suffer the risk of macular degeneration and possibly also to cataracts, lessen considerably. (4)

On the role of lutein and zeaxanthin in the macula, and macular degeneration and cataracts is not yet much known. Most likely both, lutein and zeaxanthin have a protective effect for the macula and the retinal pigment epithelium. Thus, here assumed a particular effect as a natural sun glasses, because both substances are lutein and zeaxanthin in a position certain to neutralize the harmful components of the light cells and the risk of macular degeneration or cataracts may decrease with.

Overall, it is not yet possible to say whether and how lutein can help with age-related macular degeneration. There are no long-term studies that can show a direct correlation between disease of the intake of lutein. In particular, there is no long application and follow-up study of lutein in patients who have been diagnosed with macular degeneration.

Also has not been examined whether preventing the carotenoids lutein as an isolated means of macular degeneration, or whether this happens only when they are taken up with the other components of the food.

hitherto unexplained are the risks, including those on macular degeneration or cataracts, which are associated with high doses of lutein and zeaxanthin over time.

Seddon et al: "Dietary Carotenoids, Vitamin A, C and E, and Advanced
Age-Related Macular Degeneration" JAMA., 272, 1413-1420 (1994)
Pauleikoff et al: "Makuläres Pigment und altersabhängige Makuladegeneration"
Ophthalmologe Heft 98, 511-19 (2001)
Bone et all: "Lutein and Zeaxanthin dietary supplements raise macular pigment
Density and serum concentrations of these carotenoids in humans"
J Nutr 133, 992-998 (2003)
Hammond et al: "Dietary Modification of Human Macular Pigment Density
Invest" Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci., 38, 1795-1801 (1997)

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What is Lutein and what functions it fulfilled at Macular Degeneration?

Lutein is a carotenoid is present in most plants. In nature, it always comes together in front with zeaxanthin. The name of lutein is derived from the Latin "luteus" and means "orange-yellow." Lutein is next to the ß-carotene, the most common carotenoid.
Carotenoids are different chemical compounds, which can only be produced by plants. To date, approximately 600 different substances known to associate with this group. This is the ß-Carotene of the best known representatives of this group and met as a precursor to vitamin A is an important task in vision and expert opinion to follow in the prevention of macular degeneration.

Lutein and zeaxanthin occur in the plant before always together. You will not be converted in the body to vitamin A, but there are other tasks to fulfill. Lutein is probably the most important carotenoid in the plant, as it has been found in studies in almost all higher plants. Especially in the green leaf shares Lutein is concentrated very high, it also occurs in petals, fruits and pollen. .

Plants obtain energy through a process, called photosynthesis. They convert the green parts of the plant, the energy of light into chemical energy to build and then having processed carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. Photosynthesis is a very important process because it serves other living things as energy source and carbon dioxide from the air, and oxygen consumption produced.

Lutein is in this context a very important substance. When light hits the parts of the plant, which absorb practically the lutein is probably responsible for including the light particles and their energy to the center of the so-called "light-harvesting complex" to pass. Important in macular degeneration and cataracts. (5)

Lutein met but there are other important tasks in plant and animal cells. It has antioxidant and therefore has a protective function for survival, may also help to combat macular degeneration or cataracts. Free radicals, which occur frequently in nature and may be also the result of normal metabolic processes, are able to damage healthy cells so that they die at the end (see cells in a related macular degeneration). One of these free radicals is a specific form of oxygen, the so-called singlet oxygen that is formed on exposure to light from oxygen. This aggressive form of oxygen is able to alter metabolic processes in cells so that they mutate at the end - for example, to cancer cells - or die faster or aging, similar to macular degeneration.

At this point, one suspects, the protective effect of lutein to macular degeneration and possibly even with cataracts. It apparently prevents the formation of singlet oxygen, because it catches the light before and in the form of heat to its environment gives. (6)

Because of its role in the metabolism of plants is mainly lutein in the green part of plants found in high concentration. But since it is the green plant pigment, chlorophyll, is superimposed, the leaves are not yellow. Only when the chlorophyll dies in the fall, the lutein still takes an aesthetic function. Lutein leads to the orange yellow color of autumn foliage. In animals, lutein is mainly in blood, found in the skin or feathers. It also fulfills important functions in the animal organism. Special mention should be here once the high amount of lutein in the yolk of eggs, where this percentage is in part at 70%. (7)

In humans, lutein and zeaxanthin are concentrated in the macular pigment especially high. There they are likely the only carotenoids and probably fulfill the function of an "inner sun glasses, possibly Star against macular degeneration or gray. Lutein is used by the industry as a food colorant (E161b) in soups, sauces, drinks and much more. Indirectly, the use of lutein is via animal feed, to achieve this primarily as a chicken feed to the beautiful yellow color of egg yolk.

Miller N.J., Sampson J., Rice-Evans C.A. "Antioxidant activities of carotenes and xanthophylls." FEBS Lett. 384: 240-242 (1996) 1&_cdi=4938&_user=10&_orig=search&_coverDate=04%2F22%2F1996&_sk=996159996&view=c&wchp=dGLbVtz-zSkzV&md5=090662afdf315761d2691e525649a3ca&ie=/sdarticle.pdf
Britton G. " Structure and properties of carotenoids in relation to function"
The FASEB Journal 9: 1551 - 1558 (1995)

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Lutein in the macular - protection against macular degeneration

Lutein and zeaxanthin are stored as color pigments in the macula. For several years they are from the science an important role ascribed to protect against age-related macular degeneration. They act as an apparently natural sunglasses! (See also Article:) Macular Degeneration and sunlight))
In the human body to play six different carotenoids play an important role. The best known is certainly the β-carotene, often referred to as pro-vitamin A. The relationship with macular degeneration and cataracts is probably not yet been finally resolved. This pro-vitamin A is converted in the body in Retionol, which is important for growth, function and structure of skin, mucous membranes and blood cells, and for the visual process. It is an important part of the rods in the retina and after the impact of a light pulse is responsible for triggering the impulse of vision. Even a slight deficiency of retinol in the rod leads to poorer vision in the night, a major defect in a faster fatigue of the eyes and in the extreme to night blindness.

A lack of β-carotene or retinol but seems not to be responsible for the development of age-related macular degeneration.

When the carotene with the strongest antioxidant effect is mainly active in tomato occurring lycopene. It is probably the most effective protection against oxygen radicals, such as singlet oxygen. (8, 9)

For the exact look - for example reading - is the yellow spot in the retina, macula lutea, also called responsible. This is where the problems lie with macular degeneration. The yellow spot has a sufficiently high concentration of photoreceptor cells, allowing us to enable higher visual tasks. While in the surrounding retina, which is important for viewing the surroundings focusing mainly the rods are mainly found on such cones in the macula. How exactly do these pins and the context in which they may be associated with macular degeneration, is still known about exactly. .

The yellow color of the macula lutea caused by lutein and zeaxanthin, which provide with their yellow pigment for this conspicuous feature. Their main function is probably also here is similar to the plant cell to provide protection against free radicals. In particular, the cell membranes of the photoreceptor cells consist largely of unsaturated fatty acids. These are very sensitive to light, which studies show can also encourage related macular degeneration. Each of us can understand that, if he makes a good olive oil for some time in the sun. The photoreceptors are exposed to a consistently high exposure to light and therefore suffer from a high oxidative stress. If the cell membranes of the retina does not protect against age they would die very quickly. (6)

Lutein acts as a light filter first of all, because it is able to filter out certain particularly harmful elements from the light. This short-wavelength blue light components, and especially high energy for the formation of oxygen radicals are responsible and for favoring the development of macular degeneration (See article: Macular degeneration and sunlight). (10)

Lutein is to prevent that is due to its previously described properties that enable the formation of these free radicals and thus protect the sensory cells of the retina (macular degeneration or possibly even before cataracts). Probably the lutein can interrupt already ongoing reactions of oxygen radicals, thus preventing the disintegration of cell membranes and influence the course of macular degeneration. A presumption of the researchers, is that it enables the formation of lipofuscin is prevented. Lipofuscin is blamed with the development of age-related macular degeneration. (6)

Miller N.J., Sampson J., Rice-Evans C.A. "Antioxidant activities of carotenes and xanthophylls." FEBS Lett. 384: 240-242 (1996)
Junghans A. et al: " Macular Pigments Lutein ans Zeaxanthin as Blue Light Filters Studied in Lipisomes" Arch. Bioch. Biophys. 391: 160 - 164 (2001)

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