Getting Your Local Store...
Lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and astaxanthin belong to a group of nutrients called carotenoids. Carotenoids are a group of naturally occurring pigments that are largely responsible for the red, yellow, and orange color of fruits and vegetables and some animals. They are also found in many dark green vegetables; however the large amounts of chlorophyll in these plants masks them.
The natural carotenoid pigments carry out a variety of important biological functions. In humans, carotenoids function as antioxidants, stimulate cell to cell communication, are involved in cell growth, play a role in the immune system and some are converted by the body into vitamin A. (None of the above listed carotenoids, are converted into vitamin A.)
In terms of skin health one of the most important functions that these carotenoids play is their role as antioxidants. Free radicals form in skin during exposure to sunlight (particularly the UVA and UVB rays and blue light) and are believed to be largely responsible for skin aging. These free radicals break down DNA, proteins and fats in skin cells – this is sometimes referred to as photo-oxidative damage. The consequence is that skin cells are damaged and cannot create healthy new cells. Additionally, it has been found that UVA rays particularly degrade collagen.
All of these carotenoids deposit in the skin and appear to play a role in protecting the skin from photo-oxidation caused by exposure to the sun. Studies have used between 10 to 20 mg. These amounts increase concentrations of these carotenoids in the skin and have been shown to support skin health. The most important point to note is that it takes at least 8 to 10 weeks supplementing with these amounts in order to support healthy skin during times of sunlight exposure.
Natural Grocers only sells natural source forms of these carotenoids. This means, the supplements are extracted from natural sources and concentrated. There are two forms of lutein on the shelf: lutein and lutein esters. Lutein esters are lutein with fatty acids attached. In order for the body to utilize the lutein, it has to cleave it from the fatty acids. The body seems to be able to do this with no problems. Both forms appear to increase the amount of lutein in the blood. In order to get the same amount of lutein from lutein esters you have to take about double the amount. Some manufacturers, like NOW, who sell lutein esters account for this and so if the label reads 20 mg of lutein from lutein esters, the label explains that this supplies 10 mg of lutein. One more caveat to taking lutein esters, this form probably needs to be taken with some fat in order to ensure absorption.
Carotenoids are fat-soluble nutrients and therefore require fat for absorption. Since most of the carotenoids in the diet come from plants, eating them with some healthy fats will enhance absorption. Additionally, release of carotenoids from plant cells may require cooking, pureeing, or fine chopping.
These two carotenoids are found together in foods with lutein predominating. They are yellow in color. Eggs can be a source of lutein and zeaxanthin, provided the chickens are fed a feed that contains them. While eggs contain less per ounce, it is better absorbed then vegetarian sources.
Lycopene is a bright red carotenoid. Found in apricots, pink grapefruit, and watermelon, but not found in strawberries or cherries.
Is a red-orange color that is found in highest amounts in aquatic animals, particularly krill, shrimps, crustaceans, and salmonid fish. Wild sockeye salmon has the highest concentration, with a 3.5oz serving providing 4mg
View your points and punches.
View your reward progress.
Clip digital coupons to your account
Change your Password
Edit your phone number and email
View saved shopping lists and recipes
Please check your email and confirm to complete your enrollment.
Please close this window, and click the Allow Button in your browsers geolocation dialog shown below.