Lutein and Zeaxanthin Benefits For Skin And Eye Health

Lutein and Zeaxanthin Benefits For Skin And Eye Health

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are critical carotenoids often found in various fruits, vegetables, and flowers. They are also known as macular pigments due to their concentration in the eye's macula. These compounds have been extensively studied for their numerous health benefits, particularly skin and eye health. This article explores lutein and zeaxanthin benefits for skin and eye health to provide you with the necessary information to incorporate these carotenoids into your diet.

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Lutein And Zeaxanthin

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two critical carotenoids naturally found in various fruits and vegetables. They are structurally similar antioxidants and are often combined in health support products.

Many people incorporate vibrant-colored fruits into their diet for eye health, thanks to the presence of these compounds. Scientifically, Lutein and Zeaxanthin contribute to the vibrant colors of fruits. Lutein, a yellow-orange pigment, and Zeaxanthin, a red-orange pigment, are responsible for the colorful hues.

These antioxidants found in the eyes, specifically the macula lutea, help filter blue light concentrated by the lens.

They are essential for maintaining the macula's health, a small area near the retina's center responsible for sharp vision.

Beyond eye benefits, they also impact skin health and offer various potential advantages, such as cognitive enhancement and reduced risk of heart disease.
Learn more about how the combination of lutein and Zeaxanthin enhances eye and skin health in the section below.

lutein and Zeaxanthin enhances eye and skin health

Lutein And Zeaxanthin Benefits For Skin Health

Improve Skin Tone

Lutein and Zeaxanthin can contribute to skin tone improvement. They can increase the production of collagen, an essential protein for skin elasticity. It's necessary to maintain a smooth, wrinkle-free skin appearance. Furthermore, carotenoids help improve moisture retention in the skin, giving it a more youthful and hydrated look.

A 12-week clinical trial involving 50 male and female subjects aged 18-45 with diverse skin types was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of these two carotenoids on the skin.

The test results indicated a significant improvement in overall skin tone in the group that used lutein and Zeaxanthin after 12 weeks [12].

Another trial in Japan with 16 participants aged 26-57 observed a substantial increase in carotenoid levels on the skin after 16 weeks of high-dose lutein/zeaxanthin supplementation [12].

Carotenoids on the skin, such as lutein and Zeaxanthin, protect the skin through antioxidant mechanisms, reduce lipid peroxidation processes, and enhance skin moisture [12].

Protect Skin From UV Ray

Lutein and Zeaxanthin can absorb the shortest wavelength of blue light. These lights can cause damage to the skin as they penetrate through skin tissues and eyes, leading to inflammation [10].

Ana Gabriela Murillo and colleagues' research notes that the skin's natural antioxidant capacity is attributed to antioxidant enzymes, vitamins, and carotenoids [10].

Furthermore, Zeaxanthin is also found in various organs in the human body, such as the eyes, skin, and brain. Therefore, supplementing with Zeaxanthin may protect against UV rays and offer cognitive benefits [10].

Zeaxanthin may protect against UV rays

Lutein And Zeaxanthin Benefits For Eye Health

Preventing Cataract

Cataracts are a common condition that often affects elderly individuals due to natural aging. Symptoms of cataracts include cloudiness in the eyes, diminished vision, and an increased risk of blindness.

According to the National Eye Institute, more than half of Americans aged 80 and above either have cataracts or undergo surgery to treat this condition [2]. Lutein and its derivative, Zeaxanthin, have been widely recognized in numerous studies for their effectiveness in preventing cataracts.

One study revealed that oxidative stress is the primary cause of cataracts, and lutein helps inhibit this stress in eye tissues, thereby protecting the eyes from cataract formation [3].

In a study titled "Association between Lutein and Zeaxanthin Status and the Risk of Cataract: A Meta-Analysis," researchers not only acknowledged the protective mechanism against oxidative damage to the eye lens but also recognized the role of lutein and Zeaxanthin in filtering high-energy short-wavelength light [4].

Thanks to these two mechanisms, lutein and Zeaxanthin are crucial in preventing age-related cataracts (ARC) [4].

benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin for cataracts

Protect Eyes From Blue Light Exposure

In today's technology era, the increasing prevalence of blue light-emitting devices significantly impacts eye health and overall well-being. Excessive exposure to blue light disrupts sleep patterns and raises the risk of cardiovascular and neurological diseases, especially without proper eye protection.

Combat these effects with the invaluable antioxidants lutein and Zeaxanthin. They prevent cataracts and mitigate the harmful effects of environmental blue light, particularly from technological devices.

Furthermore, the remarkable antioxidant properties of lutein and Zeaxanthin are once again highlighted, specifically in their ability to counteract the detrimental effects of blue light on the eyes, particularly in older people [5].

A study conducted on 8 rhesus monkeys exposed to blue light revealed that supplementing with lutein and Zeaxanthin effectively safeguarded the macular region of the eyes against damage caused by blue light [6].

Reduce Risk Of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Age-related macular Degeneration (AMD) is a prevalent eye disorder that affects individuals aged 50 and above. It gradually leads to a significant decline in central vision, impacting crucial tasks such as reading, driving, and recognizing faces.

AMD primarily damages the macula, which is responsible for our central vision.
In clinical trials, lutein and Zeaxanthin have shown promise in increasing macular pigment optical density and enhancing vision in AMD patients [8].

Another study exploring the relationship between lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Age-Related Macular Degeneration suggests that these compounds elevate serum concentrations, ultimately leading to increased pigment density at the macula. As a result, the progression of AMD is slowed down [9].

Anti-Aging

Numerous studies have recognized lutein and zeaxanthin benefits for skin and eye health, leading to anti-aging and overall human beauty and health benefits.

As lutein and Zeaxanthin are potent antioxidants, they help reduce oxidative stress, a primary cause of aging.

Thanks to their antioxidant properties and their improvement to both skin and eyes, lutein and zeaxanthin help combat aging in both genders. They mainly contribute to skin health for young women and eye health for older adults.

A study by Javaria Zafar and colleagues suggests that topically applying lutein helps retain moisture and has anti-aging effects [13].

Furthermore, the benefits of these compounds extend to the brain as well. They can protect against age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's [14].

Source Of Lutein And Zeaxanthin

As mentioned earlier, Lutein and Zeaxanthin are present in brightly colored fruits and are also the factors responsible for creating those vibrant colors. Additionally, numerous studies have identified the presence of these two carotenoids on the skin, eyes, and brain of humans.

However, the human body cannot synthesize them independently, so supplementation is typically done through food or dietary supplements.

The natural sources of lutein and Zeaxanthin are highly diverse. Some fruits that contain high levels of lutein and Zeaxanthin include:

  • Pumpkin
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Collards
  • Green peas
  • Peas
  • Avocados
  • Summer squash

Other sources include egg yolks, corn, and green leafy vegetables.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin in fruits and vegetables

Conclusion

In conclusion, lutein and Zeaxanthin are two powerful antioxidants offering numerous eye health benefits. They are crucial in protecting against cataracts, blue light exposure, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, and aging. Incorporating these carotenoids into our diet through natural sources of dietary supplements is vital for maintaining optimal eye health, particularly in the elderly. Additionally, lutein and zeaxanthin benefits for skin and eye health further emphasizes the importance of lutein and Zeaxanthin for overall well-being.

References:

[1] Alves‐Rodrigues, A., & Shao, A. (2004). The science behind lutein. Toxicology Letters, 150(1), 57–83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.toxlet.2003.10.031
[2] Cataracts | National Eye Institute. (2023, September 15). Nih.gov. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/cataracts
[3] Lutein and cataract: from bench to bedside. (2016). Critical Reviews in Biotechnology. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/07388551.2015.1049510
[4] Liu, X., Yu, R., Liu, R., Hao, Z., Han, C., Zhu, Z., & Ma, L. (2014). Association between Lutein and Zeaxanthin Status and the Risk of Cataract: A Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 6(1), 452–465. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu6010452
[5] Roberts, J. E., & Dennison, J. (2015). The Photobiology of Lutein and Zeaxanthin in the Eye. Journal of Ophthalmology, 2015, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/687173
[6] Barker, F. M., D. Max Snodderly, Johnson, E. J., Wolfgang Schalch, W. Koepcke, Joachim Gerß, & Neuringer, M. (2011). Nutritional Manipulation of Primate Retinas, V: Effects of Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and–3 Fatty Acids on Retinal Sensitivity to Blue-Light–Induced Damage. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 52(7), 3934–3934. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.10-5898
[7] Nowak, J. (n.d.). Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): pathogenesis and therapy. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/document?repid=rep1&type=pdf&doi=4c0bced37f564ddeeba262c0e09975ee4a9d1580
[8] Murray, I. J., Makridaki, M., Rob, Carden, D. E., Neil, & Tos T. J. M. Berendschot. (2013). Lutein Supplementation over a One-Year Period in Early AMD Might Have a Mild Beneficial Effect on Visual Acuity: The CLEAR Study. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 54(3), 1781–1781. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.12-10715
[9] Associations between Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Age-Related Macular Degeneration: An Overview. (2023). Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408390802066979
[10] Ana Gabriela Murillo, Hu, S., & María Luz Fernández. (2019). Zeaxanthin: Metabolism, Properties, and Antioxidant Protection of Eyes, Heart, Liver, and Skin. Antioxidants, 8(9), 390–390. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox8090390
[11] Overall skin tone and skin-lightening-improving effects with oral supplementation of lutein and zeaxanthin isomers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. (2016). Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. https://doi.org/10.2147//CCID.S115519
[12] Obana, A., Gohto, Y., Nakazawa, R., Moriyama, T., Gellermann, W., & Bernstein, P. S. (2020). Effect of an antioxidant supplement containing high dose lutein and Zeaxanthin on macular pigment and skin carotenoid levels. Scientific Reports, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-66962-2
[13] Zafar, J., Aqeel, A., Fatima Iftikhar Shah, Ehsan, N., Umar Farooq Gohar, Moga, M., Feștilă, D., Codrut Ciurea, Marius Irimie, & Radu Chicea. (2021). Biochemical and Immunological implications of Lutein and Zeaxanthin. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(20), 10910–10910. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222010910
[14] Jin Young Min, & Kyoung Bok Min. (2013). Serum Lycopene, Lutein and Zeaxanthin, and the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease Mortality in Older Adults. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 37(3-4), 246–256. https://doi.org/10.1159/000356486
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Author

Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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