[Study of lutein and zeaxanthin content in the diet with the assessment of the relationship between the level of alimentary intake of non-vitamin carotenoids and the density of the macular region of the retina at a young age]

Vopr Pitan. 2018;87(5):20-26. doi: 10.24411/0042-8833-2018-10049. Epub 2018 Sep 13.
[Article in Russian]


Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoid pigments that affect the function of the visual analyzer. They selectively accumulate in the yellow spot of the retina, form macular pigment and determine the density of the retina macula. Lutein and zeaxanthin slow down the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of senior-age blindness. The main food sources of non-vitamin carotenoids are green leafy vegetables, zucchini, pumpkin, green peas, broccoli. The aim of the study is a retrospective assessment of the levels and sources of alimentary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin in young people and research of the effect of lutein and zeaxanthin in the diet on macula density. A specially designed questionnaire was used to quantify the content of lutein and zeaxanthin in the diet, reflecting the amount of consumption of the main sources of these carotenoids on the day preceding the survey. A non-invasive non-contact method of optical coherence tomography of the retina was used to determine the density of the macula. The study involved 96 students of Sechenov University at the age of 21-27 years. The study found that only 6.25% of the respondents had daily intake of lutein and zeaxanthin of 6 mg or more, 8.33% had 4.6-5.9 mg, 8.33% had 3.0-4.5 mg, in 18.75% - 1.5-2.9 mg, in 45.83% <1.4 mg. 12.5% of respondents didn't include sources of lutein and zeaxanthin in the diet. The more common sources of lutein and zeaxanthin in the diet were eggs and fresh tomatoes. Retinal density indices corresponded to the age standards in the majority of the examined. In 8.3% surveyed the thickness of the retina was decreased, and 4.2% had higher thickness of the retina in comparison with the standards. Significant differences in the Central subfield thickness in men and women were revealed. There was no dependence of the levels of lutein and zeaxanthin coming from food sources on the retina thickness indicators.

Keywords: carotenoids; lutein; macular area of the retina; optical coherence tomography; zeaxanthin.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carotenoids* / administration & dosage
  • Carotenoids* / analysis
  • Diet*
  • Eating*
  • Female
  • Food Analysis
  • Humans
  • Lutein* / administration & dosage
  • Lutein* / analysis
  • Macula Lutea* / diagnostic imaging
  • Macula Lutea* / metabolism
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence*
  • Zeaxanthins* / administration & dosage
  • Zeaxanthins* / analysis


  • Zeaxanthins
  • Carotenoids
  • Lutein