Did you know that August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month as well as National Cataract Awareness Month? In honor of these eye health observances, we’re taking a closer look at the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin.
Lutein and zeaxanthin, both members of the carotenoid family, are antioxidants found in egg yolks that are believed to reduce the risk of developing cataracts and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a disease that develops with age, causing blurred or distorted vision and is a leading cause of blindness. While eggs contain small amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, research shows that these nutrients may be more bioavailable from eggs than that from sources with higher content, including supplements.
Two studies published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consuming one egg a day can significantly increase lutein and zeaxanthin levels in the blood without negatively impacting blood cholesterol or lipid levels. For more information on nutrients related to eye health, check out the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s suggestions for fantastic foods to keep your eyes healthy!
- Chung HY, et al. Lutein bioavailability is higher from lutein-enriched eggs than from supplements and spinach in men. JN 2004;134:1887-1893.
- Goodrow EF, et al. Consumption of one egg per day increases serum lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations in older adults without altering serum lipid and lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. JN 2006; 136:2519-2524.
- Waters D, et al. Change in plasma lutein after egg consumption is positively associated with plasma cholesterol and lipoprotein size but negatively correlated with body size in postmenopausal women. JN 2007; 137(4):959-63.