Lutein and Zeaxanthin

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Picture of pillbox lutein and zeaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin brain health, brain health supplements, supplements for brain health, supplements for eye health, zeaxanthin facts, lutein factsLutein and zeaxanthin help protect the macula (the part of the eye with the sharpest vision) from blue and near-ultraviolet light. The two nutrients also represent 3/4 of the carotenoids found in the brain, and scientific evidence is accumulating to suggest their importance to optimize neural health.

Of more than 600 carotenoids found in nature, only lutein and zeaxanthin and their metabolites are found in the macula. The body selectively deposits lutein and zeaxanthin into the macula as macular pigment, and the more macular pigment, the stronger the layer of protection.

Health Benefits of Lutein and Zeaxanthin

  • Absorb blue light and act as “internal sunglasses” that may reduce photochemical damage caused by short-wavelength visible light.
  • May reduce eye fatigue and glare sensitivity
  • Increase macular pigment optical density (MPOD) in our eyes, which reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Researchers have identified an association between macular pigment (MP) density and cognitive function, with lower levels of macular pigment associated with reduced cognitive function.
  • Protect the macula from oxidative stress.
  • May lower the risk of cataracts. A study of older women found those with the highest levels of lutein and zeaxanthin were about 30 percent less likely to have cataracts.
  • May promote brain health. In one study, lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations in the brain were significantly lower in individuals with mild cognitive impairment than in those with normal cognitive function. Here’s a link to a great report on emerging science on lutein in the brain.

Food Sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in dark green leafy vegetables, and other green and yellow vegetables. Cooked kale, spinach, collards and turnip greens are all fantastic sources, with each cup of these cooked greens providing between 12- to 24 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids are also found in very low levels in other green vegetables, egg yolks, persimmons, oranges, squash and corn.

Most people consume only 10 percent of the lutein and zeaxanthin needed to help protect their eyes and keep them healthy. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data (NHANES) from 2001-2002 estimate most adults in the United States consume an average of 1-2.5 mg per day of lutein and zeaxanthin, although the American Optometric Association recommends 10 mg/day of lutein and 2 mg/day for zeaxanthin. The European Food Safety Authority has established an acceptable daily limit as not more than 1 mg/kg of body weight per day. One kilogram is equal to 2.2 pounds, so an individual weighing 135 pounds would weigh 61.235 kilograms, and an acceptable daily lutein limit of 61 mg.


Article provided by Cooper Complete team.

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