What to look for in an eye health supplement
By The Nutrition Expert editorial teamwith expert comment from Dr Sarah Brewer
Published Date: 09/09/2016
The most common eye health supplements will often contain lutein alongside a combination of other nutrients. But which ones are the most important?
Lutein is a yellow, carotenoid pigment that is vital for healthy eyes. It cannot be made in the body and must come from the diet. Some lutein is converted into other carotenoids - zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin - in the eye when needed. Together these yellow pigments act like ‘nature’s sunglasses’ to filter out damaging blue light.
Does meso-zeaxanthin need to be in my eye health supplement?
Mesozeaxanthin is not naturally found in the diet – it is only found in nature in a few places such as goldfish skin. As we readily make both zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin from lutein, lutein is, in fact, the only supplement we really need.
One concern about using meso-zeaxanthin in any supplement is that it is classed as a ‘novel’ artificial substance made by heating zeaxanthin, and there is currently insufficient safety data to show whether or not it is safe to include in supplements.
How does lutein help eye health?
Research published in Optometry – the Journal of the American Optometric Association - shows that taking 10mg lutein supplements per day can even improve visual acuity in people with ‘dry’ AMD by the equivalent of 5.4 letters on a Snellen chart compared with no improvement in those taking inactive placebo.
- 20mg lutein per tablet
- 2,000µg zeaxanthin per tablet
- Contributes to maintenance of normal vision
- Contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress