Choosing products with natural ingredients is the best way to ensure that what you’re buying is the best for your body. However, there are many synthetic ingredients not only in certain foods, but also in vitamins.
Using natural (dietary) zeaxanthin (a nutrient found in orange peppers and leafy green vegetables) in eye vitamins is the best way to ensure healthy vision. Zeaxanthin is also found in center of the macula, and builds up macular pigment in the eye which protects your vision. However, many companies who make eye vitamins use something called “meso-zeaxanthin.”
Meso-zeaxanthin is a synthetic form of natural zeaxanthin. This synthetic form of zeaxanthin is cheaper to produce, and does not have the same effect dietary zeaxanthin has on vision.
Supplemental meso-zeaxanthin is synthetically made from lutein using high heat in a strong alkaline environment.
Stuart Richer, OD, PhD, says there is much more research surrounding dietary zeaxanthin and lutein than there is about meso-zeaxanthin.
“There is a 20-year body of robust evidence pertaining to ocular benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin from foods and supplements and supporting the safety of administering these nutrients as dietary supplements, but a definite shortage of information on meso-zeaxanthin,” Dr. Richer says.
There isn’t near enough scientific research to support the notion that meso-zeaxanthin should be taken over dietary zeaxanthin and lutein. In fact, there is less than 10 years of clinical research regarding meso-zeaxanthin.
“To my knowledge, there are no studies that have assessed the effect of meso-zeaxanthin supplementation on macular pigment in the absence of lutein and/or zeaxanthin supplementation,” says Diana Shechtman, OD.
It’s always best to do your research before taking any vitamin. Just because the back of a vitamin bottle may say “all natural,” you should always do your homework to ensure you’re taking something your body actually needs!
Learn more about protecting your vision in the free ebook below.