` Researchers Give Olive Oil Antioxidant Kick for Eye Health - Olive Oil Times

Researchers Give Olive Oil Antioxidant Kick for Eye Health

Jul. 8, 2014
Elena Paravantes

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While extra vir­gin olive oil is known to con­tain a high amount of antiox­i­dants, there may be room to add some more: Spanish researchers from the University of Jaén are exper­i­ment­ing with sup­ple­ment­ing olive oil with lutein, a sub­stance with antiox­i­dant activ­ity that plays a role in eye health.

Lutein is a carotenoid — a nat­ural occur­ring pig­ment found mainly in green leafy veg­eta­bles such as col­lard greens and spinach — and acts as an antiox­i­dant in humans. Lutein along with zeax­an­thin accu­mu­late in the mac­ula and retina of the eye.

Studies have shown that lutein may help pre­vent or reduce the symp­toms of age-related mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion, a dis­ease that is char­ac­ter­ized by dete­ri­o­ra­tion of the retina caus­ing impaired vision. The results are not yet clear though, as not all stud­ies have shown such an effect

The researchers have extracted lutein from sea­weed and added it to olive oil. University of Jaén researcher and pro­fes­sor Ruperto Bermejo, notes that the aver­age con­sump­tion of olive oil per per­son in Spain is 30 mil­li­liters and that it would be very easy if the antiox­i­dant they have puri­fied to pre­vent the dis­ease were already included in those 30 mil­li­liters.

According to the research, it took a year and a half to define the method to add lutein with­out chang­ing the color and taste of the olive oil.


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