Lutein Protects the Eyes and Skin of Smokers
Antioxidants taken orally (by mouth) may play an important role in preventing damage to the fats and proteins that are part of the
skin and eye. The ability of Lutein to protect the skin and eyes
from the suns damaging radiation was evaluated in this study. 50
smokers (minimum of 10 cigarettes a day) between the ages of 25
and 36 who were affected by dry skin were given oral Lutein
supplementation or placebo in a randomized, double-blind study.
The amount of free radical activity was noted according to an
accepted measurement system. Vision and other aspects of the eye
were measured by different tests. Lutein decreased the amount of
oxidative stress in the blood of the smokers by 40%. Vision improved,
and global visual function clearly improved in the Lutein takers.
The Lutein also offered photoprotective activity (protecting the
skin from the suns rays) and it will eventually increase the
protective activity of topical sunscreen lotions. Lutein also
offered photoprotective activity to the eyes. The study is published
in the November-December 2004 issue of the journal Skinmed.
Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.
It is very hard to increase antioxidant activity in smokers. Both
smoking and sun exposure increase the risk of developing a cataract
later in life. Lutein is the ideal supplement protecting the eyes
of these individuals from both smoking and sun exposure. It is
important to note that this Lutein was found in a base of its
accompanying and activity promoting carotenoids (just like in
Taking Lutein Before Eye Surgery May Protect the Retina
A dye called Indocyanine Green (ICG) is used to pinpoint leakage or
damage to the blood vessels which nourish the retina in diagnostic
tests of the eye. ICG is superior to other dyes when checking for
possible retinal damage due to macular degeneration because it has
a longer wavelength than other dyes allowing the doctor to see
blood vessel damage deeper within the eye. Once damage is determined
the doctor can be more accurate if using laser technology to seal
the area, helping to prevent damage to surrounding, still healthy eye
tissue. ICG is injected into the arm and travels to the eye within
15 to 20 seconds serving as a contrast medium where sharper more
accurate photos of the eye can be generated. The retinal doctor uses
these digital photos of the eye to pinpoint the treatment of areas
with leakage and damage. The problem is that previous studies have
shown that although valuable, ICG damages the retinal pigment.
In this study scientists tested the direct toxic effect of ICG on
retinal pigment tissue, they also checked if this damage is worsened
after the eye is exposed to different levels of light. ICG was
added to retinal pigment tissue, some of these tissue samples were
also treated by the eye carotenoid Lutein. Some of the eye samples
were then exposed to different levels of light energy for 48 hours.
After two days it was found that ICG decreased the number of
healthy-viable cells compared to cultures not exposed to ICG showing
a direct toxic effect by ICG. In retinal tissue exposed to both
light and ICG there was a significant decrease in working retinal
cells compared to tissue exposed to ICG alone (the toxicity of ICG
was increased by increasing levels of light exposure). Lutein
protected the cells exposed to both ICG and light. The study suggests
that taking Lutein before eye surgery or diagnostic tests decreases
damage to the retina caused by the interaction of light and ICG. The
study is published in the September 2004 issue of the journal
Photochemistry and Photobiology.
Drug Safty Alert
Dr David Graham, a Food and Drug Administration reviewer speaking
at a Senate hearing, has accused the FDA as being lax on monitoring
drug safety said five drugs on the Market need closer scrutiny due
to side effects. These drugs are the weight loss drug Meridia, the
statin drug Crestor, the arthritis drug Bextra, the acne drug
Accutane, and the asthma drug Serevent. According to Dr Graham the
drugs need to be looked at quite seriously to see if they should
remain on the market. Dr Graham is the associate director for science
in the FDA's Office of Drug safety.
In August Dr Graham presented his own study one month before Vioxx
was removed from the market showing it increased the risk of stroke
and heart attack. Graham alleges senior FDA officials tried to
suppress his study.
- Meridia has caused 29 known deaths in the USA and a number of strokes, heart attacks, mental impairment, and seizures.
- Crestor is causing deaths, kidney failure, and muscle problems
- Bextra can cause fatal skin reactions among other side effects
- Accutane causes birth defects and may be implicated in an increased risk of suicide
- Serevent has increased the number of asthma-related fatalities in studies