Early lutein doesn’t impact kids’ diabetes, heart disease, stroke risk: 2000-strong 5-year study

By Annie Harrison-Dunn

- Last updated on GMT

Lutein doesn’t improve kids’ diabetes, heart disease, stroke risk

Related tags Nutrition Metabolic syndrome

Taking lutein at 13 months of age does not benefit the child’s cardiometabolic health at six, say researchers.

Published in the British Journal of Nutrition​, the paper looked at the impact on 2044 Dutch children.

They found no consistent associations between lutein intake at 13 months and movement and body composition measures again at six years of age.

“In addition, lutein intake was not associated with a continuous cardiometabolic risk factor score, nor was it associated with any of the individual components of the cardiometabolic risk factor score,”​ wrote the researchers from the Erasmus MC University Medical Centre and the Leiden University College in the Netherlands.

Cardiometabolic risk refers to the chance of having diabetes, heart disease or stroke.

Average lutein intake was 1317 micrograms per day, according to the food frequency questionnaires given to the parents. At 13 months only 6.8% of the children received any breastfeeding and all the children received complementary feeding.

Previous research had suggested higher lutein intake was associated with blood levels and a decreased risk of metabolic syndrome – in particular lower waist circumference and body mass index (BMI). However, research in children was scarce – with only one previous published article on lutein and cardiometabolic health in children.

This piece of research in 1339 US adolescents had suggested lutein levels were not significantly associated with metabolic syndrome diagnosis, however higher levels of lutein was significantly inversely associated with a continuous score of a number of metabolic syndrome components.

“It is important to study the effects of nutrition early in life as dietary behaviours track throughout the life course, and therefore early interventions can have benefits to improve health later in life.

“In addition, there is no recommended intake for lutein at present, and studying the effects of lutein is important from a public health perspective to determine whether recommendations are required,” ​they said.

Lutein is a carotenoid present in many fruits and vegetables as well as animal products like eggs and dairy.

Source: British Journal of Nutrition​  

Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1017/S0007114515002779

“Lutein intake at the age of 1 year and cardiometabolic health at the age of 6 years: the Generation R Study”

Authors: E. T. M. Leermakers, J. C. Kiefte-de Jonga, A. Hofmana, V. W. V. Jaddoe and O. H. Franco

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