We all need to protect our eyes more as we get older, which has lead us to look into what sort of vitamins and minerals can strengthen our vision and slow signs of aging. One of the most powerful ways to protect your vision is to make sure you’re getting enough of a compound called zeaxanthin. In fact, it could be especially important as we go outside more in these warm weather months.
What is zeaxanthin?
Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid, a fat-soluble compound that contains red, orange, and yellow pigment. While carotenoids give plants their warm color hues (like tomatoes!), in humans, they’re an antioxidant that slows and prevents the spread of free radicals. When free radicals thrive, they damage cells and then create or accelerate a number of health problems, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more.
What makes this compound so important is that zeaxanthin protects your eyes from UV radiation and oxidation by forming a shield-like barrier around the eye cells to prevent damage. Especially if you spend a lot of time outside in the spring and summer, this carotenoid is hard at work making sure your eyes function properly and stay clear.
Additionally, zeaxanthin is critical when it comes to overall eye health. It can protect your eyes from age-related degeneration, cataracts, and diabetes-related complications. It’s also often paired with lutein, another powerful antioxidant, for extra vision-sharpening power.
What are its side effects?
Zeaxanthin doesn’t have any serious reported side effects, except that it may add a very slight yellow tint to your skin if you regularly take more than the recommended dosage of one to three milligrams per day.
How should you take zeaxanthin?
You should be able to get a fair amount of zeaxanthin from eating red, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and carrots. Leafy greens like spinach and kale contain it as well. But if you’re looking for an extra boost, there are plenty of great supplements on the market for you to take daily, like Carlyle Visi-Gold Zeaxanthin Softgels (Buy on Amazon, $13.99).
As with all supplements, it’s important to consult a doctor before adding something new to your regimen. In the case of this specific compound, it may be a particularly good idea talk to your optometrist.