Eye Health – Lutein & Zeaxanthin is very important
American Optometric Association strongly recommends Lutein & Zeaxanthin for good eye health.
Recent studies show health benefits in taking 10 milligrams/day of a
lutein supplement, and 2 milligrams/day of a zeaxanthin supplement.
Cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are the leading causes of visual impairment and acquired blindness in the U.S, affecting millions of aging Americans. Nutrition is one promising way to prevent or delay the progression of these diseases.
Two carotenoids, lutein (pronounced loo-teen) and zeaxanthin (pronounced zee-uh-zan-thin), are antioxidants that are located in the eye. Green leafy vegetables, as well as other foods such as eggs, contain these important nutrients. Many studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including AMD and cataracts.
Lutein and zeaxanthin filter harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light and help protect and maintain healthy cells in the eyes. Of the 600 carotenoids found in nature, only these two are deposited in high quantities in the retina (macula) of the eye.
Unfortunately, the human body does not naturally make the lutein and zeaxanthin it needs. This is why eating green vegetables is important. Getting daily amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin through your diet or nutritional supplements can help maintain good eye health.
Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Cataracts
The crystalline lens (the natural lens in the eye) primarily collects and focuses light on the retina. To do this throughout your life, the lens must remain clear. Oxidation of the lens is a major cause of cataracts, which cloud the lens.
Antioxidant nutrients neutralize free radicals (unstable molecules) that are associated with oxidative stress and retinal damage. This is why the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin likely play a role in preventing cataracts. In fact, a recent study demonstrated that higher dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin and vitamin E was associated with a significantly decreased risk of cataract formation.
Lutein, Zeaxanthin and AMD
There is a lot of evidence that lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of AMD. In fact, in the Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS and AREDS2), the National Eye Institute found that taking certain nutritional supplements every day reduces the risk of developing late AMD. Beyond reducing the risk of eye disease, separate studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin improve visual performance in AMD patients, cataract patients and people in good health.
According to the USDA’s full report (all nutrients), every 100 grams of zucchini squash, cooked, with salt contains 1150 micrograms (1.15 milligrams) of lutein and zeaxanthin. To translate this in terms of your diet, a large zucchini contains about 325 grams of zucchini, which gives you about 3.75 milligrams of lutein and zeaxanthin combined. Supplements can help you bridge the gap between the amount of nutrients you need, and the amount you’re actually getting. If you’ve been taking NPUSA’s Super Lutein, you’re already supplementing your diet with 19 milligrams of lutein and 1.73 milligrams of zeaxanthin per dose. That’s about double the amount of lutein that the American Optometric Association reports as being beneficial.
And NPUSA doesn’t use just any lutein; we use the best the market has to offer. Not all luteins are created equal. Technical literature from Kemin Foods, L.C., explains that lutein can exist in nature, either in its true “free” form—free lutein—or as substances bound to fatty acids— lutein esters.
According to Kemin, free lutein is the only form of lutein directly absorbed by the human body and found in human serum. Solubility seems be important. This research abstract, published on the website for the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), concludes by suggesting that free lutein is significantly more soluble in our blood than the other kind, lutein esters.
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are the richest sources of lutein and zeaxanthin combined, and other foods such as corn or eggs provide these carotenoids too. For a variety of reasons, intake of these foods in the industrialized world is low. Average intake in the U.S. is between 1.0 to 2.5 milligrams per day.
NPUSA offers a solution to inadequate nutrition, by providing FloraGLO®’s free lutein in its own product, Super Lutein. Kemin’s proprietary manufacturing process uses the petals of the flowers of Tegetes erecta (marigold) to make a food-grade oleoresin which is the basis for FloraGLO®. From the Kemin manufacturing facility, free lutein has a few stops before finally arriving at your home, to become a building block for wellness.