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Zeaxanthin sources, health benefits and uses

Saturday, September 23, 2017 by

Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid xanthophyll responsible for the colors of corn and saffron. While its primary function in nature is to give certain plants their signature hues, zeaxanthin plays a different role for humans and animals. Along with lutein, zeaxanthin is one of two special carotenoids found in the lens and retina of the eye. This means that these two carotenoids have the express purpose of keeping the eyes healthy and functioning normally well into old age.

Dark leafy greens like broccoli, collard greens, spinach, and kale are the best dietary sources of zeaxanthin.

Medicinal uses for zeaxanthin

Zeaxanthin is most known for preventing macular degeneration, an incurable eye disease caused by the deterioration of the middlemost part of the retina. This condition is considered to be the leading cause of vision loss in America. Zeaxanthin prevents the onset of macular degeneration from occurring by preventing blue light from reaching the retina’s underlying structure, thus lowering the risk of the eyes suffering from light-induced oxidative damage that increases their susceptibility to macular degeneration. This makes zeaxanthin even more essential to people of advanced age.

In addition to macular degeneration, zeaxanthin can reduce the risk of cataracts as well. Although vitamins C and E are the antioxidants most known for preventing cataracts, zeaxanthin can do so as well by performing the same tasks they do. Namely, keeping the lenses of the eyes clear and cloudless in the presence of free radicals.

Together with lutein, zeaxanthin is believed to posses anti-cancer effects that make these carotenoids effective against colon cancer.

Body systems supported by zeaxanthin

Because of its ability to halt the onset of cataracts and macular degeneration, zeaxanthin can nourish and support the eyes. Unfortunately, the body is unable to produce zeaxanthin naturally, which makes it all the more essential to maintain a diet rich in zeaxanthin-containing foods.

Zeaxanthin is thought to be good for the skin as well. This is because zeaxanthin has been observed exerting a protective effect on skin that defends against the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays, which can in turn lead to wrinkling, spots, and even skin cancer.

Where to learn more


Zeaxanthin is an important carotenoid that has nourishing and supportive effects on the eyes as well as the skin. Adequate amounts of this nutrient can greatly minimize the chances of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.

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