Lutein & Zeaxanthin: The Superior Protection of Healthy Eye
Eyes depend on very specific nutrients – especially if they have to do computer work for many hours a day or, of course, if there are already eye diseases such as inflammation or macular degeneration. Among the most important nutrients that can improve Vision are the so-called carotenoids, such as. β. the beta carotene.
Lutein and zeaxanthin belong to the class of carotenoids that serve the eye as a protective shield against free radicals right at the site of the sharpest vision – the macula.
What are carotenoids?
Carotenoids are a group of about 600 naturally occurring substances whose most important representative is β-carotene.
Not for nothing, it is said that carrots are good for the eyes! Of all the common foods, the 1700 microgram yellow beet has the highest beta carotene levels.
β-carotene is relatively easy to split into 2 vitamins A units and is therefore also referred to as provitamin A.
Vitamin A (all-E retinol) is necessary for the actual visual process, the conversion of a light signal into a visual stimulus.
The two carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin were added as a pigment in the retina, enriched in the so-called yellow spot (macula lutea). Recently, they have become increasingly interesting, as they may possibly have a protective effect in certain forms of retinal degeneration, and especially in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (Eye Dis. Study, 1993).
Without this protection, the eye start to burn, get tired quickly or even dry, and is prone to eye diseases of all kinds.
The protective effect of lutein and zeaxanthin in the retina can be done in two ways:
Lutein and zeaxanthin are high concentrated in the retina in various optical and geometric subforms that can not be detected in serum in this composition. This illustrates the close relationship of both compounds to likely light-induced oxidative and photochemical processes in the retina.
Even conventional medicine now prescribes high-dose lutein in the macular degeneration – a degenerative eye disease – to stop the disease.
AREDS – Vitamins and Trace Elements in Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
In a large-scale study, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) , 4,700 patients with various forms of AMD over 7 years were examined for the effects of high-dose vitamin supplements. The results of these studies are based on current recommendations for the intake of vitamins and trace elements in AMD.
In the study, the substances were used in the following dosage:
- 500 mg of vitamin C
- 400 IU of vitamin E
- 15 mg beta-carotene
- 80 mg zinc
- 2 mg of copper
Copper should be taken with zinc, as high-dose zinc intake may cause copper deficiency.
Briefly, there is evidence that in advanced stages of the dry form of AMD, the intake of relatively high doses of vitamin C (500 mg) and vitamin E (400 international units) as well as 15 mg ß-carotene, 80 mg zinc and 2 mg copper reduce the risk of developing the wet form of AMD.
The effect of Lutein and Zeaxanthin has not been studied in this study. The obvious question is whether the simultaneous use of the medication and Lutein and Zeaxanthin investigated in the study is associated with a greater protective effect, no change in the effect, or a weakening of the positive effect.
Patients who took high doses of antioxidants and zinc on a daily basis were 23% likely to have vision loss due to advanced AMD. For patients taking a placebo, this probability was 29%.
Only with zinc and antioxidant combination therapy was there a statistically significant reduction in the progression of visual impairment in patients with advanced AMD.
Statistically significant serious side effects due to high levels of vital substances were not reported. However, hospitalizations due to urological diseases were more common in the zinc group.
Limitations of study results
Statements on side effects and toxicity with prolonged use (over 10 years) can not be made. Individual effects of the individual vital substances were not determined.
Dietary foods can help patients with nutrition-deficient AMD, but cannot protect all patients from advanced AMD, as AMD can have several causes.
People over the age of 55 should undergo eye examinations with dilated pupils to assess AMD risk.
Treatment of AMD
Patients with moderate AMD and advanced AMD in one eye and patients at risk of developing advanced, wet AMD should consider taking a combined high-dose antioxidant and zinc daily supplement.
Healthy Foods highest in Lutein and zeaxanthin
Both carotenoids cannot be produced in the body and must, therefore, be constantly supplied to it. Especially lutein-containing foods are green vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, peppers, peas, chard, corn salad and many other green leafy vegetables, as well as in herbs.
With 150 g of spinach, you are already taking 18 mg of lutein. This is similar to the recommended daily dose of most lutein-containing supplements.
Also, different types of fruit, like Nectarines, peach, apricot and orange contain lutein. Peppers and corn, on the other hand, provide enormous amounts of zeaxanthin.
Another good Lutein source is chicken egg yolks. In contrast, dietary supplements often use lutein from petals of Tagetes (Marigold Flower, Marigold Flower).
Green and blue plant pigments
Likewise, special pigments such as the leaf green ( chlorophyll ) from all green vegetables or the blue anthocyanins from elderberries, aronia berries or blueberries are vital for vision.
The latter in particular because of their strong antioxidant effect, with which they protect the eyes against attacks by free radicals.
In turn, the obligatory kale, stinging nettle and parsley are among the most chlorophyll-rich edible plants . They supply between 200 and 350 mg chlorophyll per 100 grams. Dried microalgae such as the Afa algae, Spirulina or Chlorella surpass these leaders by a multiple and contain with up to 4000 mg per 100 grams the highest amounts of chlorophyll.
With a daily dose of algae (4 grams) you can, therefore, supply as much chlorophyll as with a serving of kale. Chlorophyll has many benefits for the eyes: it detoxifies, regenerates and purifies the blood.
The tissue of the eyes is thus freed from metabolic waste. At the same time, the nutrient supply to the eyes is optimized and healing processes are set in motion.
Saffron & curcumin
Even the most expensive spice in the world – saffron – is good for the eyes, yes, it is a veritable eye remedy. Even with older people, saffron extract in macular degeneration can lead to improvements or stop the progression of the disease.
The saffron extract contains two particularly eye-friendly substances: Crocin prevents the death of light-sensitive cells in the retina – and crocetin can improve the oxygenation of these cells.
In addition, the saffron extract has an antioxidant effect. It can also promote the microcirculation, ie the circulation of the finest blood vessels in the eye, so that there are already numerous studies that certify the saffron a very strong potential in eye diseases.
The effect of saffron on the eyes can be exacerbated when taken with curcumin.
Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric, the yellow root that is ground an important part of the curry spice and is known for its strong antioxidant, circulation-promoting and anti-inflammatory effect.
Take both – saffron extract and curcumin – two to three times a day, one capsule of saffron and curcumin at or after meals.
Another substance that can support the eye health very well, is an absorbing clay mineral like zeolite or bentonite.
Thanks to their fine-pored surface structure, both healing piles of earth can soak up poisons, heavy metals and metabolic waste like a sponge – in other words, those substances that have been released from the eye tissue by chlorophyll and all the other vital substances.
So that the pollutants do not get back into the circulation, they are bound in the intestine by the healing earth and excreted with the stool. Not only clear eyes and a relaxed Vision are the consequences, but a total detoxified organism and consequently increased all-around well-being.
Vital substances for the eyes
Your eyes thus benefit from the following measures:
- Eat a lot of green leafy vegetables, herbs and fruits, in the form of green smoothies.
- Mix nettings, parsley powder and dandelion powder in dressings or in your green smoothies.
- Drink a glass of Aronia juice or elderflower juice and 1 glass of carrot juice daily.
- Take as a dietary supplement microalgae (Chlorella, Spirulina or the Afa algae), OPC and saffron extract.
- Occasionally take a cure with zeolite or bentonite (eg in the context of a colon cleansing, deacidification or detoxification cure ).
Precisely when your eyes burn frequently during computer work or get tired quickly, the measures mentioned quickly show a noticeable improvement, often after just a few days. And if you have to work a lot on screens, you should avoid that in your free time.