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Are You Getting Enough Lutein?...And, Are You Getting

Enough Lutein for Your Eyes?

Many people think about their vision once they hit 50 or 60 when things start getting a little blurry. But if you’re over 40, you should start protecting your eyes with lutein right now.

What is Lutein?

Often called “the eye vitamin,” lutein is a naturally occurring carotenoid found in abundance in certain fruits and vegetables and especially in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. It is believed that lutein, along with zeaxanthin help to block blue light from reaching the retina and macular region.

Why is lutein so important for your eyes? 6 big lutein benefits…

Lutein Benefit #1 - Lutein provides nutrition to your eyes and skin – the only organs directly exposed to the outside environment

Lutein Benefit #2 - Lutein appears to reduce harmful free radicals

Lutein Benefit #3 - Lutein filters high-energy, blue wavelengths of light from indoor lighting, computers, fluorescent lights and sunlight, a source of free radical damage

Lutein Benefit #4 - Lutein, in conjunction with zeaxanthin can reduce the intensity of blue light by as much as 90 percent in the retina

Lutein Benefit #5 - Lutein is highly concentrated in the macular region of the retina

Lutein Benefit #6 - Lutein is not produced by your body – you must obtain it from your diet

How much lutein is needed?

Research suggests you need 6-10 mg. per day of lutein to realize lutein’s benefits. Sadly, only half of Americans get a scant amount – just 1-2 mg. of lutein each day. That’s just a fraction of what you need to give your eyes the nourishment they need. For that reason, many choose to use a daily supplement of lutein.

Now, let’s dispel some myths about vision and offer a few tips on daily vision exercises.

Myth vs. Fact – Why so many adults do nothing to protect their vision

FACT: Lutein protects the macula and absorbs blue light that’s harmful to the eyes. That’s why some multivitamins include it, however, it’s often in small amounts. Look for a vision supplement that gives you at least 10 mg of lutein.

Myth No. 1 - Weakening vision is normal as you age.

FACT:If you nourish your eyes with the nutrients they need - such as lutein and zeaxanthin you can help keep your vision sharp for years to come.

Myth No. 2 – My multivitamin gives me all the lutein I need for my eyes.

FACT: Lutein protects the macula and absorbs blue light that’s harmful to your eyes. That’s why some multivitamins include it, however, it’s often in small amounts. Look for a vision supplement that gives you at least 10 mg. of lutein in order to enjoy all the benefits of lutein.

Myth No. 3 – If I just eat healthy, I can get all the lutein benefits I need.

FACT: You'd have to eat...

  • 2½ cups raw spinach
  • 4½ cups canned green peas
  • 6¼ cups cooked broccoli
  • 7½ cups raw romaine lettuce
  • 12½ cups cooked green beans

...every day!

Myth No. 4 – I’ll wait till I have real eye problems.

FACT: You could have vision issues and not even know it. Nutrients work best when you start taking them before you have serious eye problems.

Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em – How to Exercise Your Eyes Every Day

Your eyes are like your muscles: use them daily, and you’ll keep them fit and healthy. Let them get lazy, and they’ll get weak.

Here’s an easy way to exercise your eyes every day.

Get on a computer and type up a page of random letters, ten down and ten across in ALL CAPS. Make one page 48-point type and another one in 14-point type.

Take the 48-point and tape it to the wall about 8-10 feet away from you. Cover one eye and read the letters. Then, hold a paper with 14-point type at arm’s length and read the letters with the same eye covered.

Switch eyes and repeat. Do this a few times a day and you’ll give your eyes a good workout. It’s great for keeping your focus sharp.

Combine this exercise, with a healthy diet, exercise and a supplement of lutein and zeaxanthin and you’ll have strong vision for life.

1. Krinsky, N.E., et al., “Biologic Mechanisms of the Protective Role of Lutein and Zeaxanthin in the Eye,” Annu. Rev. Nutri. (2003) 23:71-201