Q: What is Zeaxanthin?
A: Zeaxanthin is a strong antioxidant and photoprotectant. It is one of two yellow carotenoids located in the retina and is derived from fruits and vegetables like spinach, collard greens, red peppers, and corn. Studies show Zeaxanthin acts to filter and shield the eye from blue light, the harmful part of the light spectrum. Without proper nutritional intake, the Zeaxanthin level in the eye may be low or decrease over time. The Zeaxanthin obtained in our diet is deposited by the body in the macula to protect the eye. This area is crucial for healthy vision as it is rich in the important visual cells, cones and rods.
Q: Why is Zeaxanthin important?
A: Studies show that low dietary intake of Zeaxanthin results in lower levels in the macula and this can negatively affect visual function. Many scientific studies demonstrate a significant association between low macular pigment level in the eye and age related macular degeneration. Some individuals with low macular pigment also complain of bright light sensitivity, difficulty driving at night, glare problems at night, etc.
Q: How much Zeaxanthin do I need?
A: It is well established in scientific research that a diet rich in Zeaxanthin contributes to the health of the macula. However, even if an individual eats five Zeaxanthin containing servings of fruits and vegetables per day as recommended by nutritionists, it can still be difficult for some to achieve a healthy Zeaxanthin level in the eye. Zeaxanthin is harder to obtain in the diet than lutein and that’s what makes supplementation with nutraceutical products such as EyePromise Restore or EyePromise Ten convenient and important to eye health. Most individuals consume less than 2 mgs per day of Zeaxanthin in their diet and scientific studies indicate a level of 6 to 10 mgs per day is important to maintain eye health.
Q: Which nutraceutical products contain the highest level of all natural dietary Zeaxanthin?
A: EyePromise Restore and EyePromise Ten 10mg contain the highest available Zeaxanthin level. EyePromise Restore contains 8 mgs of all natural dietary zeaxanthin derived from red paprika peppers. Check the label of other products claiming to contain dietary Zeaxanthin carefully. If the zeaxanthin amount is listed as mcgs, this refers to micrograms, not milligrams (mg). It takes 1000 mcg to equal 1 mg. Also, if the ingredient is listed as lutein/zeaxanthin, then the amount of Zeaxanthin is approximately 1/20th the amount shown on the label.
Q: Why haven’t I heard more about Zeaxanthin?
A: There is a growing awareness of zeaxanthin because of many scientific studies and a landmark clinical trial knows as AREDS. (Age Related Eye Disorder Study) In the AREDS trial investigators concluded that a combination of relatively high doses of antioxidants, plus zinc and copper decreased macular degeneration progression by 25% in people with a high risk of developing advanced stages of the disease. The implications are striking as noted by Dr. Bressler: “If the 1.2 million U.S. citizens who will likely develop advanced age-related macular degeneration over the next five years took these supplements, (the vision of) more than 300,000 would be spared.” The National Eye Institute (NEI) strongly endorses the use of supplements containing antioxidants for advanced macular degeneration sufferers. The AREDS II trial is now underway and the protocol involves the use of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin and lutein were not commercially available when the initial AREDS study was conducted. Though the AREDS II trial results are not yet available, more than 250 clinical studies have been conducted, reviewed, and published in peer review journals related to zeaxanthin and lutein. It is now recognized by eye care professionals that one can increase macular pigment density in the eye by consuming zeaxanthin and lutein containing supplements such as EyePromise Restore and that both are important to eye health. Many Eye Care Professionals believe zeaxanthin is more important than lutein given the fact that the eye preferentially positions zeaxanthin at a 2 to 1 ratio vs. lutein in front of the cone rich fovea.