Summary: Intestinal carotenoid absorption is greatly affected by dietary factors. In this study, it was hypothesized that lipids with varying functional groups may influence differentially on lutein bioavailability. Hence, the influence of glyco‐, phospho‐, neutral, crude (mixture of lipids) lipids or mixed micelles (control) on the percent lutein micellarization in vitro and its postprandial plasma, liver and eye response in mice were investigated. Results show that the percent micellarization of lutein with crude and glycolipids were higher (91.4 and 45.7%) than control, while no significant difference was found between phospho‐ and neutral lipids. The mean plasma response of lutein was higher for crude‐ (6 times), glyco‐ (3 times), phospho‐ (2.7 times) and neutral (2 times) lipid than control (12.4 ± 1.18 nmol mL−1 8h−1) group. Lutein levels (pmol/g) in liver were higher in crude (7.4 ± 1) and phospho‐ (3.6 ± 0.8) lipid groups while in eyes it was higher in glyco‐ (54) and neutral (21.2) lipid groups than control. The influential effect of glyco‐ and phospholipids may be due to smaller micellar size (glyco‐upto 3.43 µm, phospho‐ upto 5.78 µm) than the neutral lipids (upto 66 µm). Ingestion of lutein with glycolipid or phospholipids may improve lutein bioavailability.
Practical applications: Findings of the present study will be useful in nutritional and biomedical applications for feeding lutein with specific lipid combinations to achieve enhanced lutein absorption. In specific, feeding diet/emulsion with lutein and glyco‐ and phospholipid combination may reduce the risk of macular degeneration, owing to the influential effect of these lipids on intestinal absorption of lutein. However, repeated intubation and dietary feeding studies were warranted to support the present single dose study.