The Health Benefits of Lutein – A Supplement That Increases the Motivation to Run?

People are always looking for miracle cures in tablet form. Whether those are vitamin tablets promising to give us more energy, nootropics promising to make us smarter and more mentally alert, or fat burners that claim to increase our metabolism and burn all our fat. While we all probably know better, we still hang to the hope that a dose of the right ‘magic formula’ will help us to improve all the problems in our lives and enjoy better health and more luck in love and finance.

What we inevitably find though, is that nothing worth having comes for free. Though some supplements might give us a helping hand in our aims to lose weight or climb the corporate ladder, ultimately we still need to put in the effort ourselves and find the motivation to do the exercise, pursue that job or approach that attractive partner. Motivation is often where it all falls down… so what if there was a supplement for that?

A Supplement to Unlock Our Drive

If such a supplement were exist, then that could be considered a ‘master supplement’. This would be essential to any ‘stack’, seeing as it would make every other ingredient exponentially more potent by giving us the will to put in the work.

And according to some recent research, it appears that just such a supplement might be out there. The ingredient in question is called ‘lutein’ and is a carotenoid primarily found in the macula – the central part of the retina. Among other things, lutein helps to protect the eye from sunlight and can thereby prevent macular degeneration – protecting vision into old age (1).

But a recent study suggests that it may have uses beyond protecting the eyes and could be of interest to athletes and those looking to lose weight. The media is hailing it as ‘motivation in a pill’ and according to a study published in ‘PLoS One’, consumption of lutein can activate the ‘marathon enzyme’ AMPK when consumed with a source of dietary fat such as whole milk.

The Study and How Lutein Appears to Work

In the study, lab rats were given either lutein, full fat milk or a combination of the two (while a control group were given nothing). From there, the rats were then observed to see if they would voluntarily use their treadmill. After about 5-6 weeks, the milk + lutein group began to cover a much larger distance: as much as 20km more than those using just lutein and 30km more than the control group. The muscle cells of the rats were then examined and it was found that the lutein, milk and exercise increased the amount of CPT1 produced (carnitine palmitoyltransferase). CPT1 is an enzyme that helps the mitochondria to burn fat.

It is hypothesized that the reason for this increased activity and CPT1 was a spike in AMPK which was also seen to increase in the rats’ muscle cells. AMPK is also an enzyme, which in this case is produced in the muscles when they have little energy available stimulating the development of those muscle cells.

How to Benefit

It’s important to note that this is all based on only one study and is just a preliminary finding. Thus it is early to draw any extreme conclusions or start paying for another expensive supplement.

Nevertheless, this is still a very interesting study and one that certainly warrants further research. And if you did want to try and mimic the results of the study yourself, then you would want to consume the lutein supplement with whole milk (which improves uptake by 2-3 times) and take at least 10-15mg per day (the researchers gave rats 1mg per kg of bodyweight). If it does work, then you might find your body becomes better at burning fat for energy and you’re left with more drive and determination to work out or just enjoy life in the evening. If it doesn’t work? Well then you’ll have done a little to slightly improve your eyesight.

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Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki is a full time writer who spends most of his time in the coffee shops of London. Adam has a BSc in psychology and is an amateur bodybuilder with a couple of competition wins to his name. His other interests are self improvement, general health, transhumanism and brain training. As well as writing for websites and magazines, he also runs his own sites and has published several books and apps on these topics.

Follow Adam on Linkedin: adam-sinicki, twitter: thebioneer, facebook: adam.sinicki and youtube: treehousefrog

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