Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids concentrated in the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for sharp and detailed vision. They also are found in dark green, and leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale and, together, maximize antioxidant activity. Scientific evidence shows lutein, a yellow antioxidant, is key in reducing the risk of macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in seniors.

Protecting Eye Health

Lutein protects eye health by filtering light, such as the damaging rays of the sun, and by acting as an antioxidant, which helps delay the effects of aging. Lutein is obtained from sources outside the body, such as foods and vitamin supplements. Studies show there is a relationship between diets rich in lutein and a decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in people older than 65 years. Additionally, the antioxidant decreases the risk of cataracts and slows their progression.

Kemin Foods, Des Moines, a global manufacturer and marketer of natural ingredients for the food, beverage, vitamin and dietary supplement industries, supplies the only purified and patented lutein product with GRAS status on the market. FloraGloLO® lutein, derived from marigolds—the most efficient source of lutein—can be added to certain beverages and food products, without affecting the taste, texture and aroma of a formulation. Typical applications include breakfast and granola bars, cereals, energy bars, energy drinks, fruit drinks, fruit juices, meal replacement drinks, mixed vegetable juices, ready-to-drink tea, soup, yogurt, soy milks, vitamins and dietary supplements. Product forms include 5% beadlets and 20% and 5% liquids.

The company recently conducted studies to measure the stability of its lutein in ready-to-eat (RTE) baked cereals and cereal bar products, to better advise manufacturers on lutein use in foods. The studies focused on physical and organoleptic properties, such as color, taste, aroma, texture and mouthfeel. The trials were conducted at the company's new Functional Foods Applications Center, a state-of-the art facility that allows investigators to carefully study the addition of functional ingredients to foods and beverages.

The incorporation of lutein shows a positive “flatline,” in that its stability does not change over a 12-week period in cereal bars; the product is believed to be stable for a longer period.
Results showed that FloraGLO 5% beadlets do not impart flavor, color, odor or texture changes in the baked cereals or bar products, and that the beadlets remain stable through processing and shelf life. Additionally, the study indicated no changes in the manufacturing process or ingredient list had to be made in order to incorporate the lutein into both types of products; overages to compensate for losses during processing may not be needed.

The baked cereal products were baked at a temperature of 350°F for 15 minutes and then dried at 200°F for 90 minutes. The lutein remained stable in the cereal after six weeks of storage at 100°F and 75% RH (relative humidity). The data suggests the ingredient can remain stable in cereal at room temperature for six months or more.

Those interested in lutein fortification will find cereal and cereal bars easy methods by which to ingest the recommended daily level of four to six milligrams.
In cereal bars, the antioxidant was subjected to 350° F for 15 minutes. The lutein was added to the fruit filling of the bar to protect it from further environmental damage. In this instance, the antioxidant, also available as an oil suspension, was found to remain stable after 12 weeks of storage at 100° F and 75% RH. The results indicate lutein will remain stable in this application for 12 months or longer.

As lutein and its health properties continue to catch the public eye, manufacturers will respond with an increasing number of lutein-fortified products.

For more information:
Linda Fullmer at 515-248-4000
Kemin Foods LC Write in 204