Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Often combined in a single supplement, lutein and zeaxanthin (zee-ah-zan-thin)are carotenoids. Carotenoids are pigments that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant red, orange, yellow and green colors. Lutein and zeaxanthin absorb excess light energy to prevent damage to plants from too much sunlight, especially from high-energy blue light rays.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in high concentrations in the macula of the human eye.   It is believed that lutein and zeaxanthin in the macula block blue light from reaching the underlying structures in the retina, thereby reducing the risk of light-induced oxidative damage that could lead to macular degeneration (AMD).

The best natural food sources of lutein and zeaxanthin are green leafy vegetables and other green or yellow vegetables. According to the USDA, cooked kale and cooked spinach top the list.  (Non-vegetarian sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include egg yolks).

I take lutein primarily for eye health, but lutein and zeaxanthin also have anti-oxidant properties and may help protect against atherosclerosis — the leading cause of heart attacks.

Note: I am not advocating any particular brand of supplement, nor am I recommending that you take any particular supplement.  These posts are just me explaining what supplements I take and why.  You should always consult with your physician prior to taking any supplement.