lutein 20% UV
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Lutein and zeaxanthin are members of the carotenoid family, a family best known for another one of its members, beta-carotene (see Beta-Carotene) . They are natural fat-soluble yellowish pigments found in some plants, algae and photosynthetic bacteria. They serve as accessory light-gathering pigments and to protect these organisms against the toxic effects of ultra-violet radiation and oxygen. They also appear to protect humans against phototoxic damage. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the macula of the human retina, as well as the human crystalline lens. They are thought to play a role in protection against age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and age-related cataract formation. They may also be protective against some forms of cancer. These two carotenoids are sometimes referred to as macular yellow, retinal carotenoids or macular pigment.
Lutein and zeaxanthin belong to the xanthophyll class of carotenoids, also known as oxycarotenoids. The xanthophylls, which in addition to lutein and zeaxanthin, include alpha-and beta-cryptoxanthin, contain hydroxyl groups. This makes them more polar than carotenoids, such as beta-carotene and lycopene, which do not contain oxygen. Although lutein and zeaxanthin have identical chemical formulas and are isomers, they are not stereoisomers, as is sometimes believed. They are both polyisoprenoids containing 40 carbon atoms and cyclic structures at each end of their conjugated chains. Also, they both occur naturally as all-trans (all-E) geometric isomers. The principal difference between them is in the location of a double bond in one of the end rings. This difference gives lutein three chiral centers rather than the two that are found in zeaxanthin. The chemical structures are illustrated below.