HOW LUTEIN AND ZEAXANTHIN HELP YOUR EYES
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are types of carotenoid pigment found in the eye's retina. They are commonly found in green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, as well as in egg yolks and other yellow-orange fruits and vegetables.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are essential nutrients for maintaining overall eye health; critical benefits include protecting the eyes from damage caused by high-energy blue light, UV (ultraviolet) light and oxidative stress, supporting healthy vision, and reducing the risk of age-related eye diseases, such as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin help to absorb and scatter ultraviolet (UV) light, reducing the amount of UV light that reaches the retina and protecting it from damage.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are antioxidants that help to neutralise free radicals and protect the eyes from oxidative stress, which can lead to damage and disease.
These carotenoids play an important role in maintaining the retina's health, which is part of the eye responsible for processing visual information.
Shown to help reduce glare sensitivity by improving the macular pigment density in the eyes. The macula is the central part of the retina responsible for sharp, detailed vision and processing light in a way that reduces glare and enhances visual acuity. Lutein and Zeaxanthin act as natural filters for high-energy Blue Light, which is associated with increased glare sensitivity. By increasing the density of the macular pigment in the eyes, Lutein and Zeaxanthin help to absorb and scatter this light, reducing the amount that reaches the retina and reducing glare sensitivity.
“Lutein & Zeaxanthin protect the eyes from damage caused by blue light and oxidative stress, supporting healthy vision, and reducing the risk of age-related eye diseases, such as macular degeneration”
Visual acuity refers to the sharpness and clarity of vision. It is a measure of the eye's ability to distinguish fine details and to see objects clearly.
Visual acuity is typically measured by reading letters or numbers on a chart from a distance. It is expressed as a fraction, such as 20/20 or 20/40. The top number represents the test's distance (usually 20 feet). The bottom number represents the smallest letter size the person can read. Visual acuity of 20/20 indicates normal vision.
In contrast, visual acuity of 20/40 means that the person can see at 20 feet what a person with normal vision can see at 40 feet. Various factors can affect visual acuity, including age, disease, injury, and other conditions.
The recommended daily intake of Lutein and Zeaxanthin depends on age, gender, and overall health status. However, most experts recommend that adults consume around 10mg of Lutein and 2mg of Zeaxanthin daily.
It's also important to note that both Lutein and Zeaxanthin are fat-soluble nutrients best absorbed when consumed with a source of healthy fat, such as olive oil or avocado.
“By consuming a diet rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin foods and supplementing in recommended doses - individuals can help to protect their eyes from damage and support healthy vision.”
When taken in recommended doses, Lutein and Zeaxanthin are generally considered safe for most people. However, some individuals may experience mild side effects, such as stomach upset or skin yellowing, if they consume very high amounts of Lutein.
Additionally, people with a history of liver or gallbladder problems should speak with their doctor before taking Lutein supplements. Large doses of this nutrient may cause adverse effects in these individuals.
- Leafy greens: Kale, spinach, peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and collard greens are some of the best food sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
- Corn: Corn is a good source of Zeaxanthin.
- Fruits and vegetables: Certain fruits and vegetables, such as kiwi fruit, papaya, persimmons, and orange bell peppers, are also good sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
- Squashes: mainly yellow and orange, is a good source of Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
- Supplements: Lutein and Zeaxanthin can also be obtained from dietary supplements, such as Eye Vitamins.
“Lutein & Zeaxanthin are fat-soluble nutrients best absorbed when consumed with a source of healthy fat, such as olive oil or avocado”
Protecting the retina from oxidative damage
Lutein & Zeaxanthin have been extensively studied (including part of the global AREDS2 study) - and has been shown to support healthy vision and improve visual function in several ways, such as reducing glare sensitivity and improving visual contrast.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin act as selective filters in the retina, absorbing harmful blue light and protecting the delicate cells in the eye from oxidative damage. It also nourishes the retina's cells, which helps support healthy vision and prevent age-related eye diseases.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin are considered safe
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are considered safe when taken in recommended doses and are not known to interact with medications.
However, individuals taking prescription medications should always speak with their doctor before taking dietary supplements, including Lutein, to ensure no potential interactions.
“Most experts recommend that adults consume around 10mg of Lutein and 2mg of Zeaxanthin daily”
Lutein and Zeaxanthin and can reduce the risk of age-related eye diseases like Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)). Several studies (AREDS2) have found that individuals who consume higher amounts of Lutein and Zeaxanthin in their diet or through supplements have a lower risk of developing these conditions compared to those who consume lower amounts.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are antioxidants that have been shown to protect the eyes from damage caused by oxidative stress and UV light, which are factors that can contribute to the development of Cataracts. Studies have shown that higher levels of Lutein and Zeaxanthin in the diet are associated with a reduced risk of Cataracts. However, more research is needed to fully understand the role of these nutrients in preventing cataracts.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin - Resources & References
- Koushan, K., Rusovici, R., Li, W., Ferguson, L. R., & Chalam, K. V. (2013). The role of lutein in eye-related disease. Nutrients, 5(5), 1823-1839. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/5/1823
- Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Research Group (2013). Lutein + zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids for age-related macular degeneration: the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) randomized clinical trial. JAMA, 309(19), 2005-2015. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1684847
- Ma, L., Dou, H. L., Wu, Y. Q., Huang, Y. M., Huang, Y. B., Xu, X. R., ... & Lin, X. M. (2012). Lutein and zeaxanthin intake and the risk of age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Nutrition, 107(3), 350-359.
- Weikel, K. A., Garber, C., & Baburins, A. (2014). Nutritional modulation of cataract. Nutrition Reviews, 72(1), 30-47.
- American Optometric Association (n.d.). Lutein & Zeaxanthin. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition/lutein
- National Institutes of Health (n.d.). Lutein and Zeaxanthin Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.