Zeaxanthin is a bioflavonoid (or flavonoid), which is a type pigment found in almost all herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Bioflavonoids provide the body with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protection, and are one of the main reasons fruits and vegetables are so healthy to eat. Zeaxanthin belongs to a group of bioflavonoids known as carotenoids, a group that is further subdivided into two groups: carotenes and xanthophylls. Zeaxanthin is one of the xanthophylls, which are found most abundantly in dark, leafy green vegetables, and are crucial to the good health of the eyes. The retina of the eye actually contains a lot of zeaxanthin, which is why it is so important to include this carotenoid in your diet. Zeaxanthin helps protect the eye from ultra-violet (UV) damage, and prevents free-radical damage to the retina and the lens of the eye that is associated with diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.

What is Zeaxanthin?

Zeaxanthin 4-[18-(4-hydroxy-2,6,6-trimethyl-1-cyclohexenyl)-3,7,12,16-tetramethyl-octadeca-1,3,5,7,9,11,13,15,17-nonaenyl]-3,5,5-trimethyl-cyclohex-3-en-1-ol
Other names

Zeaxanthin is one of the two carotenoids contained within the retina of the eye. Within the central macula, zeaxanthin is the dominant component, whereas in the peripheral retina, lutein predominates.

Where is it Found?
Zeaxanthin is abundant in a number of yellow/orange fruits and vegetables such as mango, papaya, peaches, prunes, acorn squash, winter squash, and oranges. Egg yolks are the richest source and also contain a large amount of zeaxanthin. Although zeaxanthin may be obtained from certain fruits and vegetables, the isolation of zeaxanthin from berries of Lycium Chinese Mill (LCM berries) proves to be most economical. In Marigold flowers lutein is the major carotenoid and is normally accompanied by about 3-6% zeaxanthin; in LCM berries zeaxanthin is the major carotenoid and is completely free from lutein. In both of these plants, lutein and zeaxanthin are esterified with fatty acids such as lauric, myristic, and palmitic acids.

 See Zeaxanthin related videos:
video icon What is Zeaxanthin? (video module – 2.23 minutes) 
video icon How Can Zeaxanthin Help? (video module – 2.39 minutes) 
video icon Zeaxanthin and Eye Health (video module – 3.48 minutes) 
Product related PDF file
Healthy Eyes With Lutein Zeaxanthin
Lutein & Zeaxanthin For Skin & Eye Health
Lutein & Zeaxanthine- Funtion & Food Sources

Benefits / Uses
Zeaxanthin benefits include keeping the eye healthy by increasing the level of the macular pigment in the eye. The macular pigment degenerates with age, but it increases by ingesting zeaxanthin, which contains this ingredient. In a study by Schepens Eye Institute, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, people older than 60 with high macular pigment density tested the same as younger subjects.

There is no daily-recommended allowance of zeaxanthin, according to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, but it is a good idea to follow the recommendations for eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Because most fruits and vegetables contain zeaxanthin you should consume a large portion of this bioflavonoid in your daily diet.

Possible Side-Effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions
There are no known side-effects or negative interactions of Zeaxanthin with other drugs. And preliminary human volunteer trials have shown no negative interaction with other fat-soluble vitamins. Individuals exceeding the maximum daily-recommended dosage for adults (10mg) and who are fair skinned could see some yellow-golden coloration of the skin. If you take Zeaxanthin supplements over time, they will help. It has clearly been established that the macula draws zeaxanthin right into its center, where the highest-energy light is absorbed and the sharpest images processed.

Research Studies / References

arw See POLA Study

arw Krishnadev N, Meleth AD, Chew EY (May 2010). "Nutritional supplements for age-related macular degeneration". Current Opinion in Ophthalmology 21 (3): 184–9. doi:10.1097/ICU.0b013e32833866ee. PMID 20216418.

arw SanGiovanni JP, Chew EY, Clemons TE, et al. (September 2007). "The relationship of dietary carotenoid and vitamin A, E, and C intake with age-related macular degeneration in a case-control study: AREDS Report No. 22". Archives of Ophthalmology 125 (9): 1225–32. doi:10.1001/archopht.125.9.1225. PMID 17846363.

arw Chong EW, Wong TY, Kreis AJ, Simpson JA, Guymer RH (October 2007). "Dietary antioxidants and primary prevention of age related macular degeneration: systematic review and meta-analysis". BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.) 335 (7623): 755. doi:10.1136/bmj.39350.500428.47. PMID 17923720.

arw Fernandez MM, Afshari NA (January 2008). "Nutrition and the prevention of cataracts". Current Opinion in Ophthalmology 19 (1): 66–70. doi:10.1097/ICU.0b013e3282f2d7b6. PMID 18090901.

arw US FDA, Qualified Health Claims: Letter of Denial - Xangold Lutein Esters, Lutein, or Zeaxanthin and Reduced Risk of Age-related Macular Degeneration or Cataract Formation (Docket No. 2004Q-0180)[1]

arw Spice Science and Technology, K. Hirasa, M. Takamasa, page 15