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18 2013

Zeaxanthin and lutein

Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid compound found in the retina of the eye. In the macula, an area in the center of the retina, there are high concentrations of zeaxanthin, with lower concentrations of lutein, a related compound. In the rest of the retina, lutein predominates, with lesser levels of zeaxanthin.The macula is the part of the eye responsible for central sharp vision, which is necessary for driving and reading. Lutein and zeaxanthin have antioxidant properties and thus help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

Zeaxanthin for eye health benefit, cataracts, macular degeneration, eye diseases Astaxanthin supplement benefit to reduce lipid peroxidation and free radical oxidation prevention Of the many carotenoids circulating in human bloodstream, only lutein and zeaxanthin are accumulated in significant quantities throughout the tissues of the retina of the eye. Lutein is a carotenoid which has become popular as a dietary supplement either by itself, or combined with zeaxanthin and other carotenoids and vitamins for the prevention of visual disorders such as macular degeneration or to improve eyesight. Dietary zeaxanthin is considered a critical nutrient in the eye and in the fight against macular degeneration. Zeaxanthin accumulates in the human macula lutea and protects retinal cells from blue light damage.

Zeaxanthin in combination with Lutein is helpful in maintaining healthy eyesight and in many cases improving eyesight and day and night vision within days. The retina is unique in the human body in containing three xanthophyll carotenoids; 3R,3'R-zeaxanthin, meso-zeaxanthin and lutein. Xanthophyll pigments occur widely in vegetables and fruits but meso-zeaxanthin is found in only a few foods such as the shrimp carapace and fish skin. In spite of the amounts of the different xanthophylls in the diet, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin occur in approximately equal amounts in the eye, and their combined concentration can exceed that of lutein.

Food sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include eggs, kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli,zucchini, corn,garden peas and Brussels sprouts. To maximize the availability of the carotenoids in the foods listed above, the foods should be eaten raw or steamed lightly. People who think that they may not get enough of this compound through their diet can take standalone supplements or combination supplements which include it.

There are several herbs that have lutein and zeaxanthin. A common source of these Carotenoids is the herb marigold.

Benefits of taking Zeaxanthin and lutein  supplements:


A cataract occurs when the normally clear lens of the eye gets cloudy. Symptoms of cataracts include blurred, dim or clouded vision, sensitivity to light, double vision and poor night vision. In a study published in a 2008 issue of "Archives of Ophthalmology," researchers studied the relationship between the intake of carotenoids and vitamins C and E and the risk of cataracts in women. The team found that a high dietary intake of lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin E from food and supplements was associated with a significantly decreased risk of cataracts.

>>Dietary carotenoids, vitamins C and E, and risk of cataract in women: a prospective study.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2008 Jan; Christen WG, Liu S, Glynn RJ, Gaziano JM, Buring JE. Divisions of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215-1204, USA.

To examine in prospective data the relation between dietary intake of carotenoids and vitamins C and E and the risk of cataract in women. In these prospective observational data from a large cohort of female health professionals, higher dietary intakes of lutein / zeaxanthin and vitamin E from food and supplements were associated with significantly decreased risks of cataract.

Macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly, is a degenerative condition of the macula due to by death or dysfunction of the photoreceptors. Lutein and zeaxanthin are macular pigments that may play a role in reducing the development and progression of age-related macular degeneration. Evidence is accumulating on the consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin (in whole food or supplemental form), resulting in higher concentrations in serum, and tissue distribution throughout the body, particularly in the retina. Lutein and zeaxanthin intake increases serum concentrations which in turn increases macular pigment density. There have been conflicting studies regarding the role of these nutriens in macular degeneration.

>>According to All About Vision, age-related macular degeneration, commonly called ARMD, is the leading cause of vision loss in America in people age 65 and higher. ARMD is caused by the deterioration of the macula. In a study published in a 1994 issue of the "Journal of the American Medical Association," researchers studied the effect of dietary carotenoids, vitamin A, C and E on advanced age-related macular degeneration. The authors found that a diet high in carotenoids was associated with a low risk for the disease. The research team commented that among the specific carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin were most strongly associated with a reduced risk for age-related macular degeneration.


Atherosclerosis is a condition caused by the accumulation of fats in and on your artery walls, which form plaques and restricts blood flow. Over time, the plaques can make the artery wall narrow and hard, reducing blood flow. Restricted blood flow to the heart can lead to chest pain, shortness of breath and heart attacks. According to Eurekalert.org, lutein may help prevent atherosclerosis by helping prevent the thickening of artery walls.

Study Shows Link Between Zeaxanthin & Cognitive Function

A new study has shown that taking zeaxanthin supplements may help preserve memory and other brain functions, helping to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's Disease.

Researchers in France have discovered a significant link between carotenoid levels in the blood and cognitive function, according to a new study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. The study, titled "Plasma Carotenoid Levels and Cognitive Performance in an Elderly Population: Results of an EVA Study," was conducted over nine years and included a population of more than 1,300 healthy, elderly people in France. Results showed that participants with the lowest cognitive function were more likely to have low levels of zeaxanthin (primarily) and lycopene (to a lesser extent).

While the authors of the study said that more research is needed, one possible explanation for the positive effect of zeaxanthin is that it stops the formation of the harmful free radicals in the brain that seem to be associated with diminishing mental abilities.