Ever heard of lutein? If you have consider yourself well-informed. There is no Recommended Daily Allowance. But a study of monkeys fed a laboratory diet, presumably containing all necessary nutrients, found that they got macular degeneration eight years earlier than monkeys fed ordinary foods. The missing nutrient appears to be lutein, which is found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach. More info here.

One more indication that our knowledge of nutrition is incomplete even at the simplest (single nutrient) level.

Thanks to Martha Neuringer, who was one of the first researchers to study the brain effects of omega-3s.

One Reply to “Lutein”

  1. I checked the Wikipedia link to Lutein (which I had heard of) in your post. I was struck by the statement in the first paragraph describing the sources of lutein: green leafy vegetables, flowers, egg yolk, and animal fat. This struck me as so glaringly obvious when I connected this with a prior sentence in the same paragraph explaining that lutein binds to fatty acids. Well, then of course lutein should be found in animal fat-grazing animals (cows, sheep, goats, etc.) eat grass and leafy greens, they consume the lutein which after entering their system binds to fatty acids, which then get deposited in animal fat! This logical sequence was something I probably would never have made if I just read the paragraph without thinking about it. But my training in science, and more recently, my reading of Taubes’ GCBC which discussed how animal fat is loaded with vitamins and minerals AND with a lot of mono-unsaturated fat (fatty acids) prepared my mind for this logical inference.

    I had salad and steak for dinner last night. I feel great this morning. I can’t wait to get my next physical and see what my blood lipid profile looks like.

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