(NaturalNews) Carotenoids play a crucial role in protecting the integrity of vision and ocular health, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin which are the macula's carotenoids of choice. And a new study published in the Journal of Optometry confirms that supplementation with zeaxanthin demonstrably helps improve vision and protect against macular degeneration.
Individuals over the age of 55 have an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition marked by symptoms of decreased visual acuity at night, blind spots, color degradation, and problems reading in low light. Many elderly folks who suffer from advanced AMD end up losing their independence as they no longer have the ability to see clearly in certain situations.
But Stuart Richer, PhD, OD, at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Chicago found that zeaxanthin effectively helps prevent and reverse such symptoms by restoring this vital pigment in the retina macula. Participants in the study that took 8 mg (milligrams) of zeaxanthin, 9 mg of lutein, or a combination of both over the course of a year experienced increased macular pigment optical density (MOPD), improved vision, and a number of other benefits.
Zeaxanthin and lutein both occur naturally in the back of the eye at an optimal 2:1 ratio. Zeaxanthin in particular protects the cones of the eye, also known as photoreceptors, which are responsible for maintaining central vision, color perception, and fine detail. And while this powerful nutrient occurs naturally in various fruits and vegetables, most Americans do not ingest enough of it, on average, to acquire optimal benefits.
Supplementing with zeaxanthin, individuals can ensure that they are effectively protecting their vision against light-induced oxidative damage, which is one suspected cause of AMD. Supplementing with zeaxanthin can also provide general antioxidant health benefits as it is a known anti-inflammatory nutrient.
"Since the identification of zeaxanthin and its role in eye health more than 20 years ago, I have seen it as my mission to bring the benefits of Zeaxanthin to a wider audience," said Dennis Gierhart, PhD and CEO of ZeaVision, a company that researchers and produces zeaxanthin. "I am thrilled with the findings that support the many benefits of zeaxanthin supplementation."
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