3 Nutrients May Cut Cataract Risk
Getting Enough Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Vitamin E May Make Cataracts Less Likely
Jan. 14, 2008 -- The antioxidants lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin E may help
prevent cataracts, according to a new study on nutrition and eye health.
The study's key finding: Women who get more lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin
E are less likely to develop cataracts than women who skimp on those
Foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin include leafy green vegetables (such as
spinach, kale, turnip greens, collards, and mustard greens), squash, green
peas, broccoli, pumpkin, and corn.
Foods rich in vitamin E include vegetable oils, almonds, sunflower seeds,
leafy green veggies, and fortified cereals.
The new study on cataracts and nutrients included more than 35,000
middle-aged U.S. women who were followed for 10 years, on average.
At the study's start, the women completed dietary surveys and noted their
use of dietary supplements. By the end
of the study, the group had 2,031 new cases of cataracts.
Cataracts were 18% rarer in women who got the most lutein and zeaxanthin
from foods and vitamin E from foods and supplements, compared to women with the
lowest intakes of those nutrients.
Other factors -- including age, smoking, and health status --
didn't affect the results.
But the study was observational; the women weren't asked to take vitamins or
change their diets as a direct test of cataract prevention. So the study
doesn't include recommendations about taking supplements for cataract
The researchers, including William Christen, ScD, of Boston's Brigham and
Women's Hospital, report their findings in January's edition of the Archives