Good nutrition is important to keep your eyes healthy and functioning their best throughout your lifetime. Two very important eye nutrients that may reduce your risk for macular degeneration and cataracts have names you may not be familiar with: lutein LOO-teen and zeaxanthin zee-ah-ZAN-thin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two types of carotenoids kuh-RAH-teh-noidswhich are yellow to red pigments found widely in vegetables and other plants.
Though lutein is considered a yellow pigment, in high concentrations it appears orange-red. In nature, lutein and zeaxanthin appear to absorb excess light energy to prevent damage to plants from too much sunlight, especially from high-energy light rays called blue light.
In addition to being found in many green leafy plants and colorful fruits and vegetables, lutein and zeaxanthin are found in high concentrations in the macula of the human eyegiving the macula its yellowish color. In fact, the macula also is called the "macula lutea" from the Latin maculameaning "spot," and luteameaning "yellow". Recent research has discovered a third carotenoid in the macula.My Daily Supplement Routine - Dr. Josh Axe
Called meso-zeaxanthin, this pigment is not found in food sources and appears to be created in the retina from ingested lutein. Lutein and zeaxanthin appear to have important antioxidant functions in the body. Along with other natural antioxidants, including vitamin Cbeta-carotene and vitamin Ethese important pigments guard the body from damaging effects of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can destroy cells and play a role in many diseases. In addition to important eye and vision benefits, lutein may help protect against atherosclerosis buildup of fatty deposits in arteriesthe disease that leads to most heart attacks.
It is believed that lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin in the macula block blue light from reaching the underlying structures in the retina, thereby reducing the risk of light-induced oxidative damage that could lead to macular degeneration AMD. A number of studies have found that lutein and zeaxanthin either help prevent AMD or may slow progression of the disease:.
AREDS2 was a follow-up to the original 5-year AREDS study published inwhich found use of a daily antioxidant supplement containing beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and copper reduced the risk of progressive AMD by 25 percent among participants with early and intermediate macular degeneration. The goal of AREDS2 was to evaluate the effect of other nutrients — including lutein and zeaxanthin — on the prevention of AMD and other age-related eye diseases.
AREDS2 also investigated the effect of removing beta-carotene from the AREDS supplement, since supplementation of this vitamin A precursor has been associated with increased risk of certain cancers among smokers and previous smokers.
The AREDS2 results revealed study participants with early signs of macular degeneration who took a modification of the original AREDS nutritional supplement that 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 progression. Study participants whose diets contained the lowest amounts of foods containing natural lutein and zeaxanthin experienced the greatest AMD risk reduction from taking the daily nutritional supplement.
While AREDS2 and other studies provide evidence that lutein and zeaxanthin may play a role in preventing macular degeneration or at least reducing the risk of progression of AMDit's less clear if these carotenoids help prevent cataracts. Research published in Archives of Ophthalmology suggests women whose diets include high amounts of healthful foods containing lutein, zeaxanthin and other carotenoids have a lower risk of cataracts than women whose diets contain lower amounts of these nutrients.
In AREDS2, however, supplemental lutein and zeaxanthin had no effect on cataract risk or progression. Eyefoods: A Food Plan for Healthy Eyes is a new book designed to help you improve the health of your eyes. Written by eye doctors Laurie Capogna, OD, and Barbara Pelletier, OD, the book describes nutrients such as lutein, zinc and vitamin C and tells you which foods they are found in and how much you need each day to help maintain healthy eyes.
The book also presents research that links good nutrition to reduced risk of eye disease, as well as quick recipes for incorporating eye-healthy vitamins and minerals in your daily diet. The text is easy to understand, and the big, colorful food photos will inspire you to eat better.
Eyefoods is available at eyefoods. The best natural food sources of lutein and zeaxanthin are green leafy vegetables and other green or yellow vegetables.Lutein is one of the most prevalent carotenoids in nature and in the human diet. Together with zeaxanthin, it is highly concentrated as macular pigment in the foveal retina of primates, attenuating blue light exposure, providing protection from photo-oxidation and enhancing visual performance. Recently, interest in lutein has expanded beyond the retina to its possible contributions to brain development and function.
Only primates accumulate lutein within the brain, but little is known about its distribution or physiological role. Our team has begun to utilize the rhesus macaque Macaca mulatta model to study the uptake and bio-localization of lutein in the brain. Our overall goal has been to assess the association of lutein localization with brain function.
In this review, we will first cover the evolution of the non-human primate model for lutein and brain studies, discuss prior association studies of lutein with retina and brain function, and review approaches that can be used to localize brain lutein. We also describe our approach to the biosynthesis of 13 C-lutein, which will allow investigation of lutein flux, localization, metabolism and pharmacokinetics. Lastly, we describe potential future research opportunities.
The carotenoid lutein is prevalent in nature, with important functions in the plant and animal kingdoms. It is an essential component of the chloroplast, playing a role in both light harvesting during photosynthesis and photo-protection when there is excess light.
Lutein is found in a variety of human tissues and is especially concentrated in the macular region of the retina, where it is believed to protect against harmful blue light, oxidative damage and macular degeneration. Recently, it has become clear that lutein also preferentially accumulates in the human brain [ 1 ] and its content in neural tissue has been positively correlated with cognitive function [ 1234 ]. Nonhuman primates are excellent animal models for brain physiology research.
Only nonhuman primates share with humans the selective accumulation of lutein in both the retina and brain, thus overcoming the poor lutein absorption problems incurred with other animal models. Our team, composed of investigators from three Universities as well as Abbott Nutrition, has undertaken a project utilizing the rhesus macaque Macaca mulatta model. Our overall goal is to use this model to study the uptake and bio-localization of lutein in the brain and to assess the association of lutein content with brain function.
Several work streams are being carried out by our team that will be discussed in more detail in subsequent sections of this review. Prior work from two of the authors E. To expand this foundational research, lutein localization in various subcellular membranes in different anatomical regions of the macaque brain will be determined E. Of particular interest is the specific accumulation and distribution of lutein and its relationships with areas associated with cognitive function. In addition, other researchers J.
Most commonly utilized animal models of nutrition and cognition have poor absorption and negligible tissue deposition of lutein. Only human and nonhuman primates have a macula with a central fovea, a structure that selectively accumulates lutein and zeaxanthin, resulting in the ophthalmoscopically visible yellow macular pigment Figure 1. This highly selective and concentrated distribution may be mediated by localized expression of the StARD3 binding protein for lutein [ 10 ] and the GSTP1 binding protein for zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin [ 11 ].
Similarly, but unlike common experimental animal models, only the brains of primates accumulate these compounds, with lutein being the predominant brain carotenoid in both infant and elderly humans and in macaque monkeys [ 1212 ]. Recent studies provide evidence that the unique accumulation of xanthophylls in primate retinal and neural tissues is related to low binding and inactivity of the key carotenoid cleavage enzyme, BCO2, which in other species is effective in metabolizing these compounds [ 13 ].
Thus, only nonhuman primates can provide a relevant model for investigating the metabolism and function of xanthophylls in the brain. Visualization of macular pigment in two primate fovea. Retinal fundus photographs illustrating the presence of yellow macular pigment in the fovea of a normal rhesus monkey A and its absence in a monkey fed a diet devoid of carotenoids including lutein and zeaxanthin B.
The right image in B also illustrates numerous macular drusen in the monkey lacking macular pigment. Evidence has accumulated for the past 30 years on the importance of lutein and zeaxanthin in retinal health [ 1415 ], but only recently have investigations been extended more generally to explore the potential role of these nutrients in the nervous system.
A series of studies on rhesus monkeys fed diets completely devoid of carotenoids from birth through the lifespan demonstrated a number of effects on retinal structure and health. First, the normal yellow macular pigmentation was absent Figure 1 Bas measured in vivo and biochemically [ 61617 ]. Morphologically, there were changes in the foveal cell density of the retinal pigment epithelium RPEthe cell monolayer directly behind the retina that is in close contact with the photoreceptors and is critical for their nutrient supply and processing of waste products.Zeaxanthin is a bioflavonoid or flavonoidwhich is a type pigment found in almost all herbsfruits, and vegetables.
Bioflavonoids provide the body with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protectionand are one of the main reasons fruits and vegetables are so healthy to eat. Zeaxanthin belongs to a group of bioflavonoids known as carotenoidsa group that is further subdivided into two groups: carotenes and xanthophylls.
Zeaxanthin is one of the xanthophylls, which are found most abundantly in dark, leafy green vegetables, and are crucial to the good health of the eyes. The retina of the eye actually contains a lot of zeaxanthin, which is why it is so important to include this carotenoid in your diet. Zeaxanthin helps protect the eye from ultra-violet UV damage, and prevents free-radical damage to the retina and the lens of the eye that is associated with diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.
The best sources of zeaxanthin are dark-green leafy vegetables, such as greens, kale, and spinach. Zeaxanthin is also found in yellow fruits and vegetables, and egg yolks. Zeaxanthin is a fat-soluble nutrient, which means that it is best absorbed when taken along with foods that contain fat, or in combination with fatty-acid supplements such as fish oil and conjugated linoleic acid CLA. People that have low-fat diets or diets lacking fruits and vegetables, or with physical conditions that prevent them from properly digesting fat, are at increased risk for carotenoid deficiency.
NOTE: Smokers should not take any form of carotenoid supplementsas some studies have shown that these may increase the risk of lung cancer. Zeaxanthin is available in supplements of 1 to 10 milligrams. It is also found in many supplements that combine lutein and zeaxanthin, but these usually contain more lutein than zeaxanthin. There have been no toxic reactions associated with zeaxanthin consumption, although it is strongly recommended that smokers avoid all carotenoid supplements.
The Antioxidants Section. Skin Care. Healthy Foods. Vitamins Home Page. Vitamin Stuff Notes. Health and Fitness.Lutein and zeaxanthin are xanthophyll carotenoids found particularly in dark-green leafy vegetables and in egg yolks. They are widely distributed in tissues and are the principal carotenoids in the eye lens and macular region of the retina. Epidemiologic studies indicating an inverse relationship between xanthophyll intake or status and both cataract and age-related macular degeneration suggest these compounds can play a protective role in the eye.
Some observational studies have also shown these xanthophylls may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, particularly those of the breast and lung. Emerging studies suggest as well a potential contribution of lutein and zeaxanthin to the prevention of heart disease and stroke.
Lutein and zeaxanthin and their potential roles in disease prevention.
Even as the evidence for a role of lutein and zeaxanthin in disease prevention continues to evolve, particularly from human studies directed to their bioavailability, metabolism, and dose-response relationships with intermediary biomarkers and clinical outcomes, it is worth noting that recommendations to consume foods rich in xanthophylls are consistent with current dietary guidelines.You may have heard about recent research suggesting that certain nutrients can help delay or prevent eye problems and disease.
Eye Health And Supplements You may also have heard a lot of claims for over-the-counter OTC vision supplements containing these nutrients and claims for others that have not been tested in clinical studies.
So what should you believe? What can you do to protect your eye health and eyesight using vision supplements? Here is information to help you decide. Important: Your doctor is your first resource for information about your health. Regardless of dosage, supplements are not a cure for health problems or a substitute for medication your doctor has recommended. Do Vitamins For Eye Health Work Always check with your doctor before beginning to take any dietary supplement, including vision supplements.
Top 10 Foods Highest in Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Before you ask your doctor about taking mega-doses of vision supplements, take a look at your multivitamin, if you use one. You'll probably find you're already taking several of the following nutrients for healthy eyes. If not, look for these nutrients.
But do you need vitamins or supplements as a result? If your diet is missing the key vitamins or nutrients you need on a day-to-day basis or you have a diagnosed deficiency that increases your disease risk Eye Health Services South Weymouth Ma your doctor may recommend taking supplements.
You can get the vitamins you need through your diet. And there is little evidence connecting vitamin supplements with improved eye health. For other eye conditions, the evidence is limited.
AREDS did study cataract formation, but the results were too limited to produce a strong recommendation for supplements. As for glaucoma, there is little evidence that vitamins have any impact on this condition. Foods that have high levels of the same elements found in the AREDS formula will certainly have some benefit. For example, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, Eye Health Vision Centers Dartmouth mustard greens and others offer many of the vitamins and nutrients that are good for eye health.
That may come as a surprise if you were told growing up like I was that rabbits never wear glasses. Research suggests that certain vitamins and nutrients may help prevent or slow the progression of several different eye conditions.
However, eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and healthy fats will provide you with all the nutrients your eyes and the rest of your body need for optimal health. Eye supplements are nutritional products that contain vitamins and other nutrients that research has shown to be beneficial for maintaining eye health and good vision.Share this link with friends and earn rewards for the future!
Essential Nutrients For Better Eye Health
Learn More or Sign In. Derived from bright yellow marigold flowers, Lutein is a carotenoid pigment with nutritional value.
When paired with its sister compound, Zeaxanthin, the two work synergistically in your body. Today, you can get 40 mg of lutein plus the added goodness of 2 mg of zeaxanthin in easy-to-swallow softgels!
The beauty lies in the depth of our assortment. We offer capsules, powders, softgels, liquids, organic formulas and much more. Our products are stacked with premium ingredients, sourced from all over the globe. Our robust product line is evolving every day to meet your wellness needs! Each product goes through hundreds of checks, in-process and post-production. We guarantee purity, potency, safety and innovation in everything we do.
Logo Pipingrock Rewards. Expires April 18, You can add an item to cart by clicking on the button Quantity: Add to cart. No Gluten. Directions: For adults, take 1 quick release softgel daily, preferably with a meal.
If any adverse reactions occur, immediately stop using this product and consult your doctor. If seal under cap is damaged or missing, do not use.
Keep out of reach of children. Store in a cool, dry place. Rated 5 out of 5 by Anonymous from Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by Klpinky from Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by Eitch from Good value Very good value Date published: She takes one every day.
Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by Hope from Date published: Continue to Health Encyclopedia. Health Notes is an independent provider of information regarding health and wellness.Enter your email and we'll keep you on top of the latest nutrition research, supplement myths, and more. Our evidence-based analysis on zeaxanthin features 29 unique references to scientific papers. Each member of our research team is required to have no conflicts of interest, including with supplement manufacturers, food companies, and industry funders.
The team includes nutrition researchers, registered dietitians, physicians, and pharmacists. We have a strict editorial process. This page features 29 references. All factual claims are followed by specifically-applicable references.
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This page is regularly updated, to include the most recently available clinical trial evidence. Research analysis led by Kamal Patel. Reviewed by Examine. NERD Articles. Can lutein and zeaxanthin improve the cognitive function of young adults?
Lutein + Zeaxanthin, 40 mg, 90 Softgels
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