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Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Omega-3s Shown to Support Eye Health

As we age, our eyes naturally start to degenerate. A recent series of studies suggest that consuming a dairy drink containing lutein, zeaxanthin, and DHA-enriched egg yolk may improve eye health.

Participants in the study included 101 people with age-related eye damage. Over the course of one year, 52 of the participants were given 80 mL of an enriched buttermilk drink that contained an average of 1.38 mg of lutein, 0.21 mg of zeaxanthin, and 160 mg of omega-3 DHA daily. The other 49 received a control drink that did not contain the added nutrients. Plasma lutein and zeaxanthin levels were measured at the beginning and end of the study.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted a 15.6% improvement in macular pigment optical density and a 94% increase in plasma lutein concentrations. They also noted a tendency toward an increase of dark adaptation rate in the intervention group, while the control group had a tendency to decrease.

Researchers from Maastricht University Medical Centre conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on March 16, 2016, in the Journal of Opthalmology.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only two carotenoids that can build macular pigment. Lutein and zeaxanthin create the yellow pigmentation of the macula, which is the part of the eye that provides protection from damaging blue light. If the yellow macular pigment is too thin, blue light can penetrate the retina and cause long-term damage. You can increase your lutein and zeaxanthin levels by consuming more green leafy vegetables, corn, and egg yolk.

Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including better moods, improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in omega-3s. For vegans like the ones in this study or for folks who just don’t like fish, consider taking a daily high quality non-fish supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

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