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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


AREDS2, Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

By Michael McBurney

There is a good reason to eat the recommended number of servings of vegetables. It is good for your eyes. New analysis of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) finds that lutein and zeaxanthin are important to maintain vision.

AREDS 2 assessed the value of adding lutein and zeaxanthin to the AREDS formulation containing vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-caroten and zinc with copper. Remember, that the AREDS formulation reduced the 5-year risk of developing late age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 25%  and then 34% after 10 years (Chew et al, 2013). In their secondary analysis, the AREDS2 Research Writing Group report that the addition of lutein/zeaxanthin to the AREDS formulation provides an additional 10% reduction in risk for progression to late AMD. It is significant that supplementation approximately doubled serum lutein/zeaxanthin concentrations , even in this well-nourished population.

Serum lutein, zeaxanthin and β-carotene concentrations are positively correlated with cognition in older populations (Johnson et al, 2013). Given that most people are not consuming the recommended servings of vegetables, it is not surprising that many people have low vitamin intakes.

For a list of foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, check the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

Main Citation

ARED2 Report No 3. Secondary analyses of the effects of lutein/zeaxanthin on age-related macular degeneration progression. 2013 JAMA Opthalmol doi: 10.1001/jamaopthalmol.2013.7376

Other Citations

Chew EY, Clemons TE, Agron E, Sperduto RD, San Giovanni JP, Kurinji N, Davis MD. Long-term effects of vitamins C and E, β-caroten, and zinc on age-related macular degeneration. 2013 Opthalmol doi: 10.1016/j.optha.2013.01.021

Johnson EJ, Vishwanathan R, Johnson MA, Hausman DB, Davey A, Scott TM, Green RC, Miller LS, Gearing M, Woodard J, Nelson PT, Chung HY, Schalch W, Witter J, Poon LW. Relationship between serum and brain carotenoids, α-tocopherol, and retinol concentrations and cognitive performance in the oldest old from the Georgia Centenarian Study. 2013 J Aging Res doi: 10.1155/2013/951786