Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and its incidence is rapidly increasing. Risk factors include sun exposure and having a fair complexion that burns easily.
One of the largest case-controlled studies investigating the association between diet and melanoma reported that high intake of lutein from fruits and vegetables significantly reduces the risk of melanoma. Scientists believe these xanthophyll carotenoids prevent melanoma by protecting the skin against sun damage. Because tissue levels rather than plasma levels of xanthophylls provide this protection, eating lutein-containing foods on the day of sun exposure may not necessarily be protective, but daily consumption of such foods will be beneficial. Read source article
Because lutein and zeaxanthin are deposited in breast tissue, scientists are studying possible associations between breast cancer prevention and xanthophylls. While the study findings to date are inconclusive, some researchers have reported that lutein and zeaxanthin can protect against breast cancer.
A long-term study of 83,234 healthy women evaluated the relationship between breast cancer and carotenoid intakes. The researchers found that intake of lutein and zeaxanthin from food and supplements may reduce the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women. The association was particularly strong among women with a higher risk for breast cancer, as determined by a family history of the disease or alcohol use (defined as at least one alcoholic drink per day). The authors concluded that consuming fruits and vegetables high in lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of breast cancer among premenopausal women. Similarly, another study of 540 women found an increased risk of breast cancer in women with very low intakes of lutein due to a poor diet or lack of supplementation. Read source article
Korean researchers have found alga-extracted carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce colon cancer growths.
The carotenoids extracted from two popular Asian algae forms – Chlorella ellipsoidea (CEE) and Chlorella vulgaris (CVE) – blocked growth of human colon cancer cells, the scientists found.Lutein and zeaxanthin, more commonly known for eye health benefits, were not the only xanthophylls present in the algae but it was suggested they were the most bioactive. They also found the extracts had a more powerful anti-cancer effect when used in combination than in isolation. Read source article