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DSM announces a new study demonstrating that free lutein has a 23% higher absorption than lutein esters

Kaiseraugst, CH, 21 Jun 2011 13:00 CEST

According to a study published in June 2011 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, free lutein has a better bioavailability or absorption than lutein esters, enabling a higher utilization by the body.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are two dietary carotenoids that accumulate physiologically in a specific part of the retina, the macula lutea or ‘yellow spot’ referred to as the macular pigment (MP). Higher levels of MP are associated with a decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and improved visual function. The available supplements contain lutein either in its free or in an esterified form. The present study was conducted to determine whether free lutein or lutein ester has a better bioavailability and is thus more available in the blood to be accumulated into the MP.

The investigators, E.P. Norkus (Department of Medical Research, Montefiore Medical Center, New York) and colleagues demonstrated that the relative plasma lutein response to supplementation with FloraGLO® Lutein containing free lutein is significantly greater than that to supplementation with lutein esters. The study was conducted with 72 volunteers. After seven days of supplementation, plasma lutein levels were significantly higher in subjects who had received free lutein. They remained so through four weeks of supplementation. The Area under the Curve response was 23% greater for free lutein.

FloraGLO® is a registered trademark of Kemin Industries, Inc.


Norkus, E. P., Norkus, K.L., Dharmarajan, T.S., Schierle, J., and Schalch, W. (2010). "Serum lutein response is greater from free lutein than from esterified lutein during four weeks of supplementation in healthy adults." Journal of the American College of Nutrition 29 (6) 575-585.