Much of a baby’s cognitive health is determined during gestation; unfortunately, today’s typical diet often doesn’t provide expectant mothers with all the nutrients her developing baby’s brain needs for healthy development.
Lutein and Brain Health for the Developing Baby
During pregnancy, lutein levels in the mother’s bloodstream increase while other carotenoid levels remain fairly constant.[1. Oostenbrug GS, et al., Br J Nutr 80:67-73, 1998.] The same differential pattern for increased lutein over other carotenoids is also noted in cord blood and breast milk, supporting the assertion that lutein is part of the optimal nutrition necessary for the developing baby. [2. Yeum et al., J Am Coll Nutr 17: 442-447, 1998.] As lutein is transferred from mother to baby, it is deposited in the eye and the brain in areas including the occipital lobe, hippocampus, frontal cortex and auditory lobe. [3. Vishwanthan et al., Lutein is the predominant carotenoid in the human brain, Poster at the International Carotenoid Society Conference, 2011.] And as early as 17 to 22 weeks of gestation, lutein is found to be present in the retina for the fetus.[4. Bone RA, et al., Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 29: 843-849, 1988. ] [5. Handelman GJ, et al., Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 29: 850-855, 1988. ]
Lutein’s importance for infant development may likely be related to its well-known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Since the mother’s body does not produce lutein, it is important that mothers have a sufficient intake of lutein during pregnancy and lactation to support the development of their growing infant. Continued use of products containing FloraGLO® Lutein helps assure the baby receives optimal nutrition to support neural development and protection. Not only is FloraGLO safe for mothers and infants, it is currently the only lutein brand that has been used in infant feeding studies and the brand most selected for infant nutrition.
Preferential Uptake of Lutein in Infants
While lutein represents only 12% of the carotenoids in the typical infant diet,[6. NHANES III (1988-1994).] at 59% it is the dominant carotenoid in an infant’s brain.[7. Vishwanthan et al., 2014 J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 59(5):659.] These statistics indicate preferential uptake of the nutrient over other carotenoids.
Lutein for the Protection of Your Little One’s Eyes
Nearly every source of light, whether natural or artificial, emits harmful blue light. The growing prevalence of digital devices like computers, tablets and smartphones is exposing people to more blue light than ever before. In addition to blue light from digital devices, the use of light emitting diodes (LED) in indoor lighting is another growing source of blue light exposure. LED bulbs emit about 35% of their energy as blue light, compared to 3% in traditional incandescent bulbs. In North America alone, LED lighting represented a $4.8 billion market in 2012 and is expected to reach $42 billion by 2019. As the concern for blue light exposure grows, parents can stay ahead of the blue light trend by offering their children the eye protection they need.
Lutein Source Matters!
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found together in nature either in an esterified or in an unesterified form. Lutein and zeaxanthin cannot be synthesized in the body and must be acquired through dietary sources such as fruit and vegetables like spinach and kale. The distinction between esterified and unesterified forms are important since 93% of the foods that humans consume contain lutein and zeaxanthin in the unesterified form wheras only 7% contain it in the esterified form. Unesterified lutein and zeaxanthin are more readily absorbed into the body and are found in the human bloodstream as well as organs of the human body.
Our kiddieMED omega-3 product contains Lutein with credible scientific evidence regarding the bioavailability to ensure our consumers are getting the highest quality ingredient possible. FloraGLO® Lutein is a leading source of lutein used by many researchers in both laboratory and clinical studies for a wide variety of indications, particularly in the areas of eye, skin and cognitive health. In addition, suboptimal bioavailability of lutein in a product formula could adversely affect the finished product’s ability to deliver necessary benefits for eye and general health. Efficacy is an important factor during all product development stages of our products. FloraGLO® Lutein is proven to increase lutein levels in babies after supplementation, and FloraGLO® Lutein the ONLY Lutein brand used in infant feeding studies.