Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Vitamin E Important for Eye Health in Women
Women who consume more lutein/zeaxanthin and vitamin E through dietary sources or nutritional supplements have a reduced risk of developing cataracts, according to the results of a new study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids found in the human lens. Past studies have linked increased consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration.
The study focused on 35,551 women who filled out a detailed food frequency questionnaire that provided information about their antioxidant nutrient intake from food and supplements. The women were free of a diagnosis of cataract at the study’s start. During approximately 10 years of follow-up, a total of 2,031 cases of incident cataract were confirmed.
The results indicated that a high intake of lutein/zeaxanthin (6,716 micrograms per day) reduced the cataract risk by 18 percent compared to subjects consuming a lower average intake (1,177 micrograms per day). A 14 percent risk reduction occurred in individuals who consumed the most Vitamin E (262.4 milligrams per day), compared to those who consumed the least (4.4 milligrams per day).
According to the study authors, “In these prospective observational data from a large cohort of female health professionals, higher dietary intakes of lutein/zeaxanthin and vitamin E from food and supplements were associated with significantly decreased risks of cataract.”
Christen WG, Liu S, Glynn RJ, Gaziano JM, Buring JE. Dietary carotenoids, vitamins C and e, and risk of cataract in women: a prospective study. Arch Ophthalmol. 2008 Jan;126(1):102-9.