The researchers base their conclusions on data from 1,689 elderly people aged between 61 and 80 participating in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study.
While both lutein and zeaxanthin protect liposomal membranes from light-induced oxidative stress, the ratio of zeaxanthin:lutein is much higher in the lens than in the plasma, suggesting that the lens of the eye mainly accumulates zeaxanthin, while lutein accumulates more in the macula.
However, the researchers note that these results show both compounds appear to provide similar levels of protection from cataracts, which challenges the hypothesis that zeaxanthin is more important for lens health.
Source: Plasma lutein and zeaxanthin and the risk of age-related nuclear cataract among the elderly Finnish population
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