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Vision Supplements Review (with Lutein and Zeaxanthin)
Lutein and zeaxanthin are anti-oxidant pigments found in the macula of the eye (in the retina) and are believed to protect the macula from damage (see What It Is).
On average, people don't consume enough lutein and zeaxanthin and/or have low levels of lutein in their blood or low macular pigment density; for them, taking a lutein supplement may slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (although it won't improve the condition) as well as reduce the risk of needing cataract surgery. It may also improve some aspects of brain function (See What It Does).
A dose of 10 mg of lutein appears to be better than a lower dose (6 mg). Higher dose products (e.g., 20 mg to 40 mg) are common, although it is not known if a higher dose is better. Nevertheless, 20 mg has been shown to be safe in a 6-month study.
It's not clear whether the "free" or "ester" form, or a natural or synthetic source, is better and it is not clear if there is added benefit with zeaxanthin (see Forms of lutein).
Lutein and zeaxanthin at a reasonable dose (10 to 20 mg) can be obtained for as little as about 10 to 15 cents per day (see What CL Found).
Other ingredients, particularly zinc and vitamin C, may provide additional benefit in slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration (see AREDS). Formulas with these ingredients were also reviewed.
Our tests showed that most products contained the lutein and zeaxanthin they claimed to provide, but one product had only 50% of its listed zeaxanthin.
We chose three Top Picks among lutein and vision supplements based on value and clinical evidence.
To enhance absorption, it is best to take lutein and zeaxanthin supplements with a fatty meal, but be aware that consumption of certain foods and supplements may decrease absorption of lutein and zeaxanthin (see Concerns and Cautions). In addition, try to eat at least one orange per week and have fish at least once a week, as these are also associated with a reduced risk of AMD.
You must be a ConsumerLab.com member to get the full test results for lutein and zeaxanthin-containing supplements along with ConsumerLab.com's recommendations and quality ratings. You will get results for eight supplements selected by ConsumerLab.com and for five others that passed testing in ConsumerLab's voluntary Quality Certification Program.
This comprehensive review will guide you through the maze of "vision" and "eye health" supplements. In the report, you'll discover:
Which vision supplements failed testing and which passed
CL's Top Picks, representing products that provide the best dose, quality, and price
The actual amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin in the supplements
Comparisons of vision formulas in eye health supplements to the clinically studied AREDS and AREDS2 formulations, including our assessments of products not tested in this review: Ocuvite, Lipotriad, MacuHealth with LMZ3, 4Sight,OcuGard Plus, and Nutrilite Vision Health with Lutein
Dosages of lutein and zeaxanthin known be effective and how to take them to maximize absorption
Foods that provide lutein and zeaxanthin (as well as another carotenoid, astaxanthin)
What meso-zeaxanthin (as in the product MacuShield) is and whether you need to get it from a supplement
Concerns, cautions, and potential side effects for lutein and zeaxanthin supplements
Question: Which supplements are helpful for age-related macular degeneration (AMD)? Get the answer >>
Question: Does taking vitamin C (1,000 mg) deplete copper in the body? Get the answer >>
Question: My optometrist recommended genetic testing to determine the effectiveness of various supplements for AMD. What is the evidence for doing this? Get the answer >>
Question: Does Longevinex resveratrol really help for age-related macular degeneration? Get the answer >>
Question: The vision supplement I take is based on the AREDS2 formula, but it contains a lot of zinc -- 80 mg in the recommended daily serving. Is it necessary, and safe, to take this much zinc every day? Get the answer >>
Question: Are there vitamins or supplements that can reduce my risk of breast cancer? Do any increase cancer risk? Get the answer >>