New research has found that increased levels of lutein and zeaxanthin are associated with a reduction in the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Over 102,000 people participated in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study which provided over 20 years of data. Both studies indicated individuals with the highest average plasma levels of lutein/zeaxanthin had 40% reduced risk of developing advanced AMD when compared with individuals whom had the lowest average levels.
AMD effects between 25 and 30 million people worldwide. In 1994 the first link between in taking foods high in carotenoids (dark green leafy vegetables like spinach) and significant reductions in AMD were established.
The macula is a yellow spot found on the retina. The macula is yellow because of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are derived from foods. These carotenoids are known to filter harmful light that can cause damage to the rods and the cones which are cells found in the eye. Maintaining high levels of the macular carotenoids is seen by many health experts as a novel approach to reducing AMD and maintaining healthy vision.
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