Lutein and Zeaxanthin for Vision

Last updated on April 8th, 2017 at 06:13 pm

Good nutrition is essential to keep your eyes healthy and functioning their best throughout your lifetime. Two essential eye nutrients that might reduce your risk for macular degeneration and cataracts have names you might not recognize with: lutein (LOO-teen) and zeaxanthin (zee-ah-ZAN-thin). Find out the main benefits of Lutein and Zeaxanthin for your eye health in the article.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are two types of carotenoids (kuh-RAH-teh-noids), which are yellow to red pigments discovered widely in vegetables and other plants. Though lutein is thought about a yellow pigment, in high concentrations it appears orange-red.

Lutein and zeaxanthin appear to absorb excess light energy to avoid damage to plants from excessive sunshine, particularly from high-energy light rays called blue light.

In addition to being discovered in lots of green leafy plants and colorful vegetables and fruits, lutein and zeaxanthin are discovered in high concentrations in the macula of the human eye, giving the macula its yellowish color. In fact, the macula likewise is called the “macula lutea” (from the Latin macula, meaning “spot,” and lutea, meaning “yellow”).

Recent research has actually discovered a 3rd carotenoid in the macula. Called meso-zeaxanthin, this pigment is not discovered in food sources and seems produced in the retina from consumed lutein.

Lutein and zeaxanthin appear to have crucial antioxidant functions in the body. In addition to other natural anti-oxidants, consisting of vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin E, these important pigments safeguard the body from harmful impacts of totally free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can destroy cells and play a role in numerous diseases.

In addition to important eye and vision benefits, lutein may help protect versus atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty deposits in arteries), the disease that results in many heart attacks.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin protect your eyes from hazardous high-energy light waves like ultraviolet rays in sunshine. Studies recommend that a high level of both in eye tissue is linked with better vision, particularly in dim light or where glare is a problem.

Eye Advantages Of Lutein And Zeaxanthin

It is believed that lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin in the macula block blue light from reaching the underlying structures in the retina, thereby decreasing the risk of light-induced oxidative damage that might result in macular degeneration (AMD).

A number of research studies have discovered that lutein and zeaxanthin either aid avoid AMD or may slow progression of the disease:

  • Research published in Nutrition & Metabolism discovered that a nutritional supplement consisting of meso-zeaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin successfully increased the optical density of the macular pigment in eyes of the majority of human topics. The macular pigment is believed to provide protection versus the advancement of macular degeneration.
  • Research studies published in American Journal of Public health, Ophthalmology and Archives of Ophthalmology discovered higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in the diet are related to a lower occurrence of AMD.
  • Two research studies released in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science discovered that eyes with higher levels of macular pigments were less likely to have or establish macular degeneration.
  • In research published in Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, the research study authors conclude that lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin filter short-wavelength light and prevent or decrease the generation of free radicals in the retinal pigment epithelium and choroid. They likewise recommend that a mix of these carotenoids is more reliable than any among the private carotenoids at the same total concentration.
  • In a research study released in the journal Optometry, individuals with early AMD who took in 8 mg per day of dietary zeaxanthin for one year improved their night driving and their visual acuity improved an average of 1.5 lines on an eye chart.

In May 2013, the much-anticipated results of the 2nd massive Age-Related Eye Disease Research study (AREDS2) sponsored by the National Eye Institute were published.

AREDS2 was a follow-up to the initial 5-year AREDS study released in 2001, which found use of a day-to-day antioxidant supplement including beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and copper decreased the risk of progressive AMD by 25 percent amongst participants with early and intermediate macular degeneration.

The goal of AREDS2 was to assess the result of other nutrients– including lutein and zeaxanthin– on the avoidance of AMD and other age-related eye illness. AREDS2 likewise examined the impact of getting rid of beta-carotene from the AREDS supplement, given that supplementation of this vitamin A precursor has actually been associated with increased risk of specific cancers amongst smokers and previous smokers.

The AREDS2 results exposed study individuals with early signs of macular degeneration who took a modification of the original AREDS nutritional supplement which contained 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin (and no beta-carotene) every day for the 5-year study period had a 10 to 25 percent reduced risk of AMD development, according to eyexan.com. Study participants whose diets included the most affordable amounts of foods consisting of natural lutein and zeaxanthin experienced the best AMD risk decrease from taking the everyday nutritional supplement.

While AREDS2 and other studies offer evidence that lutein and zeaxanthin might play a role in preventing macular degeneration (or a minimum of reducing the risk of progression of AMD), it’s less clear if these carotenoids assist avoid cataracts.

Research released in Archives of Ophthalmology recommends women whose diets include high amounts of healthful foods including lutein, zeaxanthin and other carotenoids have a lower risk of cataracts than women whose diets consist of lower quantities of these nutrients.

In AREDS2, nevertheless, supplemental lutein and zeaxanthin had no effect on cataract risk or progression.

Foods Containing Lutein And Zeaxanthin

The best healthy food sources of lutein and zeaxanthin are green leafy veggies and other green or yellow veggies. Among these, prepared kale and prepared spinach leading the list, according to the United States Department of Farming (USDA).

Non-vegetarian sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include egg yolks. However if you have high cholesterol, you’re far better off getting most of these yellow nutrients from vegetables and fruits.

[Attempt these simple dishes– all contain lutein and zeaxanthin: sunset gazpacho, chicken sliced salad, after-workout tropical smoothie, broccoli rabe with tempeh and pine nuts.]

Lutein And Zeaxanthin Supplements

Since of the obvious eye and cardiovascular benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin, lots of nutritional business have actually added these carotenoids to their multiple vitamin solutions. Others have presented unique eye vitamins that are predominantly lutein and zeaxanthin supplements.

There currently is no Suggested Dietary Allowance (RDA) or Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for lutein or zeaxanthin, but some professionals say you need to consume at least 6 milligrams (mg) of lutein each day for useful results.

It remains uncertain how much lutein and zeaxanthin is needed daily for sufficient eye and vision protection. Likewise, it is unidentified at this time whether supplements have the exact same impact as lutein and zeaxanthin obtained through food sources.

There are no known harmful side effects of taking excessive lutein or zeaxanthin. In some cases, individuals who eat big quantities of carrots or yellow and green citrus fruits can establish a safe yellowing of the skin called carotenemia. Though the appearance of the condition can be somewhat disconcerting and might be confused with jaundice, the yellow discoloration disappears by cutting back on usage of these carotenoid-rich foods. (Carotenemia likewise can be related to over-consumption of carotenoid-rich nutritional supplements.)

Popular lutein and zeaxanthin supplements consist of:

  • EyePromise Zeaxanthin (Zeavision).
  • ICaps Eye Vitamin Lutein & Zeaxanthin Formula (Alcon).
  • Macula Total (Biosyntrx).
  • MacularProtect Total (ScienceBased Health).
  • MaxiVision Ocular Formula (MedOp).
  • OcuGuard Plus (TwinLab).
  • PreserVision (Bausch + Lomb).

The source of lutein in numerous lutein supplements is marigold flowers, while for zeaxanthin it is typically red peppers. If you choose a lutein and zeaxanthin supplement, ensure it’s a high quality product from a trustworthy dietary supplement company.

Keep in mind that taking dietary supplements does not replace a healthy diet. Eating a well-balanced diet that consists of plenty of vegetables and fruits typically is the best method to obtain the crucial eye nutrients you require.

Likewise, remember that people often respond differently to specific supplements, which can have unintentional results such as negative responses with medications. Talk to your doctor or eye doctor before attempting any vision supplements.

Alik Muradov (Eyexan Team Member) / author of the article
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Ophthalmology: Health of Your Eyes
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