Nutrition is the best way to prevent or delay the progression of any disease. Carotenoids i.e. lutein (pronounced loo-teen) and zeaxanthin (pronounced zee-uh-zan-thin), are antioxidants that are located in the Lens and macula of the both eyes.
Many studies has shown that these two anti oxidants help to reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases like Cataracts, and AMD. Recent studies has shown, another anti-oxidant called meso-zeaxanthin as a vital component of macula and is not found in food. The retina thus, transforms the ingested lutin to make this anti-oxidant. Along with keeping the eyes healthy, lutin protects against deposition of fatty molecules in arteries that cause Heart diseases.
How do they work ?
Lutin and Zeaxanthin functions by absorbing the harmful sunlight i.e. Ultraviolet rays of light. They absorb wavelengths ranging from 400-500 nanometers (Violet to Green). This cause them to appear yellow in color.
Note: Macula of the eye also called “Macula lutea” in latin, where “macula” means spot and “lutea”means yellow.
What research and studies show?
Amount of lutin and zeaxanthin present in macular area is measured in terms of Macular Pigment Optical density(MPOD) which is the bio marker for prediction of retinal vision problems. Thus, higher the MPOD, lesser is the chances of AMD says “Research published in Nutrition & Metabolism”and “Two studies published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science”
Lens need to be clear to focus light on the retina. Any opacity in lens is caused by oxidation. To prevent it, diet rich in lutin and zeaxanthin is necessary. They neutralize the free radicals in the lens, preventing the oxidation and thus preventing the cataracts.
In a study published in the journal Optometry, participants with early AMD who consumed 8 mg per day of dietary zeaxanthin for one year improved their night driving and their visual acuity improved an average of 1.5 lines on an eye chart. Many other studies claim, lutin and zeaxanthin improves the visual performance in AMD patient.
How much should you eat?
Egg is a wonderful source of Lutin
As lutin and zeaxanthin is not formed by our body, we need to eat them in regular basis. Recommended daily dose for optimal for healthy eyes of lutein is 10 mg per day and 2 mg per day for zeaxanthin but higher dose is not yet set. There is no toxic side effects of these unlike carotenes, over dose which could cause carotenemia (Harmless yellowing of the skin). The condition could be confused with jaundice though. The Lutin supplement available in market is mostly prepared from Marigold flower but eating raw Marigold is probably not a good idea. Zeaxanthin supplement is prepared from Red Peppers.
Raw material used for Lutin and zeaxanthin supplement
Sources and Servings:
The major sources of lutin and zeaxanthin are Kale, Spinach, collards, Mustard Greens, Green peas, Sweet corn, broccoli, Egg, Orange, Sun dried Peppers etc.
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