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Data on age-related macular degeneration described by investigators at Tufts University, Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging


Fresh data on age-related macular degeneration are presented in the report 'Intake of lutein and zeaxanthin differ with age, sex, and ethnicity.' "Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that are selectively taken up into the macula of the eye, where they may protect against development of age-related macular degeneration. Accurate assessment of their intakes is important in the understanding of their individual roles in eye health," researchers in the United States report (see also Age-Related Macular Degeneration).

"Current dietary databases lack the appropriate information to ascertain valid dietary intakes of these individual nutrients. The purpose of this research is to determine intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin separately in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2004. The top major food sources for lutein and zeaxanthin intake in NHANES 2003-2004 were analyzed for lutein and zeaxanthin by high-performance liquid chromatography from June to August 2006. Results were applied to dietary data from 8,525 participants in NHANES 2003-2004. Lutein and zeaxanthin food contents were separated into lutein and zeaxanthin in the nutrient database. Mean intakes from two nonconsecutive 24-hour 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 sexes, and all ethnicities, intakes of lutein were greater than of zeaxanthin. Relative intake of zeaxanthin to lutein decreased with age, with zeaxanthin to lutein ratios lower in females. Zeaxanthin to lutein ratios in Mexican Americans was considerably greater than other ethnicities (other Hispanics, non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, other races). Lower zeaxanthin to lutein ratios were measured in groups at risk for age-related macular degeneration (eg, older participants, females). Our findings suggest that the relative intake of lutein and zeaxanthin may be important to age-related macular degeneration risk," wrote E.J. Johnson and colleagues, Tufts University, Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.

The researchers concluded: "Future studies are needed to assess the individual associations of lutein and zeaxanthin in eye health."

Johnson and colleagues published their study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (Intake of lutein and zeaxanthin differ with age, sex, and ethnicity. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2010;110(9):1357-62).

For additional information, contact E.J. Johnson, Boston, Jean Mayer US Dept. of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, MA USA.

Keywords: City:Boston, State:MA, Country:United States, Age Related Macular Degeneration, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Retinal Degeneration, Retinal Diseases.

This article was prepared by Aging & Elder Health Week editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2010, Aging & Elder Health Week via

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