Diet-NutritionMacular DegenerationOnion

Sources of lutein and zeaxanthin to help prevent age-related macular degeneration

Diets rich in lutein plus zeaxanthin may protect against intermediate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in healthy women younger than 75 years, according to a study just published in the Archives of Ophthalmology.

The findings are significant because there is no cure for AMD, only limited treatments are available, and there is no established means of prevention. Therefore, any intervention that lowers the risk for AMD is potentially important.

But what are lutein and zeaxanthin, and where can you get them?

Sources of lutein and zeaxanthin

  • Dark-green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, turnip greens, and collards
  • Mustard greens, green peas, summer squash, and broccoli
  • Egg yolks

Some examples of the content of lutein and zeaxanthin (mcg/cup)

  • Beet Greens 2619
  • Lettuce, green leaf, raw 969
  • Broccoli 2367
  • Squash, winter 2901
  • Brussels sprouts 2012
  • Onions, spring or scallions, raw 1137
  • Corn, sweet, yellow, canned 2195
  • Pumpkin 2484

To maximize the availability of the carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, eat them raw or steamed lightly.

The combined concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin in an egg yolk is approximately 505 mcg.

No daily dietary recommendations are available for lutein and zeaxanthin, but a concise review is available here.

Illustration: ScienceBased Health

8/29/06 19:37 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.