You may have heard of eating carrots to support the health of your eyes and your vision, but have you heard of lutein and zeaxanthin to help your eyes function at their best? These lesser-known carotenoids are an excellent addition for your daily routine to support eye and vision health that also packs some hidden benefits.
What exactly are lutein and zeaxanthin?
Lutein is a type of carotenoid, a vitamin that is related to vitamin A (the vitamin that makes carrots such a popular eye health booster). A significant amount of research that shows lutein to have several beneficial effects, especially for the health of the eyes. Lutein is specifically known to help improve (and even prevent) age-related macular disease which is a leading cause of blindness and vision impairment.
Zeaxanthin is also a carotenoid that is closely associated with the macula as well. In foods, it is commonly found in dark green vegetables and orange and yellow fruits. Zeaxanthin is actually the compound that gives paprika its characteristic reddish color.
Okay. . . So how do they help your eyes?
These two critical carotenoids are very similar and play an important key role in healthy vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin can help protect your eyes from UV rays, prevent age-related eye diseases (including macular degeneration), prevent cataracts, and provide antioxidant support to the entire body.
Lutein and zeaxanthin compounds are stored in the macula of the eye, a pencil tip-sized portion of your eye which allows you to experience color vision. Both of these carotenoids can help promote the integrity and density of macular pigment due to their powerful antioxidant properties, which act to promote photoreceptor function and support the optimal use of your retina.
What other benefits are lutein and zeaxanthin hiding?
Surprisingly, lutein and zeaxanthin pack even more benefits. Both of these carotenoids are also powerful antioxidants that work to defend your body against unstable molecules called free radicals. Free radicals can contribute to aging and lead to the progression of diseases because they drastically damage otherwise healthy cells.
But the benefits don’t stop there! Lutein is actually able to accumulate in your brain where it helps protect the neuronal structure and function of your brain cells.1 In addition, the antioxidant properties of lutein can play a direct role in benefiting the brain and cognition by protecting DNA in your brain from free radical damage. What’s not to love?
The Bottom Line
Lutein and zeaxanthin are powerful eye-supporting ingredients that research shows can help prevent a variety of vision-related diseases. Additionally, these active carotenoids provide amazing antioxidant benefits to the brain and body that can help prevent free radical damage to keep your cells healthy and thriving.
If you want top choice ingredients that can support optimal vision health as well as some added antioxidant benefits, check out this superstar duo of lutein and zeaxanthin!