Carotenoids are yellow-orange-red pigments that are abundant in plants, flowers, and animals. To date approximately 700 carotenoids have been isolated and characterized from natural sources. The yellow-red color of carotenoids in green plants and flowers is masked with the green of chlorophylls. The vibrant colors we seen in marine animals and birds are also results of carotenoids. Carotenoids also function in humans by acting as antioxidants to maintain normal cellular integrity. Unfortunately, carotenoids are nutrients that are not produced by the human body. Research has shown the many benefits from the daily consumption of carotenoids through our diet.
Lutein is an antioxidant carotenoid a pigment nutrient that is responsible for the yellow colors of fruits and vegetables including mangoes, corn, sweet potatoes, leafy greens such as kale and spinach. It is naturally deposited as a protective layer in the macula, a small spot in the back of the eye responsible for central vision. Zeaxanthin, like lutein, is an antioxidant that our bodies need to support eye health. Within the central macula, zeaxanthin is the dominant component, up to 75% of the total, whereas in the peripheral retina, lutein predominates, usually being 67% or greater. To help maintain eye health as they age, research indicates a daily supplementation of lutein in the everyday diet is essential. While lutein is widely recognized as an important eye nutrient, clinical research shows lutein can also enhance the look of the skin. Research is also suggesting a possible role for lutein in cognitive development, especially showing synergistic benefits with the combination of zeaxanthin and DHA. The source of lutein and zeaxanthin in Super Lutein is FloraGLO®, the most clinically researched lutein worldwide and the brand most trusted by doctors for eye health in the United States*.
* Based on the results of the National Disease and Therapeutic Index syndicated report among physicians who recommend a dietary supplement with lutein for eye health – Dec. 2011 – Dec. 2012 (USA data).
A non-provitamin A carotenoid found in high concentrations in red fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes red grapefruit, watermelon and apricots. Research accelerated in the late 1980’s when it was found that lycopene demonstrated high antioxidant activity. It is found in high concentrations in the human liver, serum (blood), adrenal glands, lungs, prostate, colon, and skin at higher levels than other similar pigments.
One of the first carotenoids isolated and researched in depth for benefits as precursors of vitamin A. As we need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision, these two carotenoids are a great source as they are converted in the body to vitamin A as much as it is needed, preventing the excess intake of vitamin A. Like all other carotenoids, alpha and beta carotene are antioxidants that help reduce free radicals and support cellular health. Carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, and various herbs & spices are rich in both alpha and beta carotene.
β-cryptoxanthin is an orange pigment abundant in unshiu mikan (satsuma mandarin oranges). Unshiu mikan is a general term for "mandarin oranges" in Japan. Besides mandarin oranges, β-cryptoxanthin is also abundant in red capsicums, papayas, persimmons, loquat and so on. Although the unshiu mikan is regularly consumed in Japan, it is not as common in other countries. Therefore, the research on β-cryptoxanthin is slower compared to the research on lycopene and other carotenoids. However, its benefits are becoming more apparent in the recent years, and now it is an ingredient that is attracting a lot of attention. It is a provitamin A that converts to vitamin A according to the needs of the body.