Interviewer: There are a couple of carotenoids that are important to the
eye, do they need to be taken together? Is that more beneficial than if you if you take not just one and not the other? Can you explain that?
Dr. Stringham: Well, lutein and you're probably referring to zeaxanthin,
the other. They're very close molecular cousins. Lutein and the metabolite, known as mesozeaxanthin they make up about two thirds of what's in the retina. Zeaxanthin is about a third of it, over all. In terms of function, they do the same things. In terms of the eye, the eye likes lutein and zeaxanthin about two to one, generally speaking. It puts more lutein in the eye. In the brain, however, to the exclusion of all other carotenoids prefers lutein. The brain is picky. It doesn't let just anything in. But it's been shown in crucial areas, like the hippocampus, which is the gateway to forming memories, lutein is the one. 50 to 1 above other
carotenoids, including zeaxanthin, so it's a big deal. I don't subscribe to
a magic bullet theory in any sense, it's a mixture. It's this combination
of ingredients and natural stuff that the body recognizes. Certainly, I
can't ignore the evidence, lutein is crucial in development and maintaining health of these tissues and optimizing performance.