The Macular Carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin Are Related to Increased Bone Density in Young Healthy Adults

Foods. 2017 Sep 7;6(9):78. doi: 10.3390/foods6090078.


Lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) status can be quantified by measuring their concentrations both in serum and, non-invasively, in retinal tissue. This has resulted in a unique ability to assess their role in a number of tissues ranging from cardiovascular to central nervous system tissue. Recent reports using animal models have suggested yet another role, a developmental increase in bone mass. To test this, we assessed L and Z status in 63 young healthy adults. LZ status was determined by measuring LZ in serum (using HPLC) and retina tissue (measuring macular pigment optical density, MPOD, using customized heterochromatic flicker photometry). Bone density was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Although serum LZ was generally not related to bone mass, MPOD was significantly related to bone density in the proximal femur and lumbar spine. In general, our results are consistent with carotenoids, specifically LZ, playing a role in optimal bone health.

Keywords: DXA; bone; carotenoids; lutein; zeaxanthin.