Blue Light Special

To an aging generation finding blue-light specials were an iconic marketing gimmick at the fallen retail giant K-MART. Today, the blue light we all need to be most aware of comes from ever-present device screens and monitors.

Research has indicated that the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin are best known to reduce the damage caused by exposure to blue light. As blue light is known to trigger light-induced oxidative damage. Because oxidative damage is related to macular degeneration, blocking blue wavelengths from reaching the inner (underlying) areas of the retina is considered supportive to eye and vision health. There are 600 carotenoids found in nature, however, lutein and zeaxanthin are known to deposit in high quantities in the eye (macula). The quantity of these two in the macular region of the retina can be measured as macular pigment optical density (MPOD). Recent clinical studies have shown that daily consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin combined with other nutrients can reduce the risks for age-related eye disease (ARED) among the healthy population as well as among individuals with ARED risk factors.

LUTEIN-RICH FOODS

Nutrition has been clinically proven to be a key factor in reducing one’s disk for developing ARED. In 2 major clinical programs sponsored by the US Federal Agency, National Instutes of Health (NIH), through the National Eye Institute, it was shown that daily consumption of lutein (carotenoids extracted from the Marigold flower), together with a specific blend of vitamins and minerals, can reduce one’s risk for eye diseases. Lutein can be found in a variety of green vegetables as well as egg yolk. Vegetables like spinach, kale, lettuce, and broccoli are all known to contain lutein in different levels. We should remember that in scientific clinical research, it was found that after lutein, the levels of zeaxanthin are also important. The optimal ratio between lutein and zeaxanthin can be found in marigold flowers.

BEST SOURCES OF NATURAL LUTEIN

Marigold flowers are considered the best source for lutein and zeaxanthin. However, this effective natural source requires additional processing (like extraction) to obtain the required levels of the nutrients from the plant Green vegetables such as kale and broccoli are also a great source that can be consumed through daily nutrition. Incorporating an eye-health supplement into your routine is a great way to ensure your eyes are getting the appropriate amount of the nutrients they need on a daily basis.

Golan Raz, PhD, received his law degree from Bar-Ilan University law school in Israel and a PhD in Science, Technology and Society

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