The Superiority of Natural Plant Sources of Right-Right Zeaxanthin Over Synthetic Mixed Isomers and Mesozeaxanthin

The Superiority of Natural Plant Sources of Right-Right Zeaxanthin Over Synthetic Mixed Isomers and Mesozeaxanthin

Unlocking the Benefits of AREDS2 for Eye Health: What does AREDS2 do for the eyes? Reading The Superiority of Natural Plant Sources of Right-Right Zeaxanthin Over Synthetic Mixed Isomers and Mesozeaxanthin 4 minutes Next Benefit of Triglyceride Form of Omega 3s

Zeaxanthin, a potent antioxidant, has gained prominence for its role in supporting eye health and overall vitality. However, the source of zeaxanthin—natural plant-derived right-right zeaxanthin versus synthetic mixed racemates—can significantly impact its bioavailability and potential health benefits. The scientific literature reveals a compelling case for favoring natural plant sources of right-right zeaxanthin over synthetic alternatives.

  1. Bioavailability: Bioavailability, the measure of how readily a nutrient can be absorbed and utilized by the body, is a crucial determinant of its effectiveness. Research comparing the bioavailability of natural plant-derived right-right zeaxanthin to synthetic mixed racemates consistently highlights the superiority of the former. Omnixan from paprika is an example of this right-right zeaxanthin ingredient used in VisiVite AREDS 2 formulas for macular degeneration. A study published in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" demonstrated that right-right zeaxanthin from marigold flowers exhibited higher bioavailability compared to synthetic mixed zeaxanthin in a rat model [1]. This suggests that the molecular structure of natural zeaxanthin may be more readily recognized and absorbed by the body.

  2. Specificity of Isomeric Form: Zeaxanthin exists in several isomeric forms, with right-right (3R,3'R-zeaxanthin) being the predominant and biologically active form found in nature. Synthetic zeaxanthin is often produced as a mixture of isomers, including both the biologically active right-right form and its left-right (3R,3'S-meso-zeaxanthin) counterpart. However, emerging evidence suggests that the body may preferentially absorb and utilize the right-right form. A study published in "Nutrients" found that supplementation with right-right zeaxanthin resulted in higher levels of zeaxanthin in the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for sharp vision, compared to supplementation with mixed isomeric forms [2]. This underscores the importance of consuming zeaxanthin in its natural, biologically active configuration.

  3. Synergistic Effects: Natural plant sources of right-right zeaxanthin often contain a plethora of other beneficial compounds that work synergistically to enhance its effects. For instance, leafy greens like spinach and kale, rich in right-right zeaxanthin, also provide a spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients essential for eye health and overall well-being. These complementary nutrients may amplify the protective effects of zeaxanthin against oxidative stress and age-related eye conditions.

  4. Safety and Purity: Natural plant-derived right-right zeaxanthin boasts a long history of human consumption and is generally recognized as safe. In contrast, synthetic mixed racemates may contain impurities or by-products associated with chemical synthesis, raising concerns about their safety and long-term health effects. Choosing natural sources ensures purity and minimizes the risk of unintended side effects.

  5. Environmental Sustainability: Opting for natural plant sources of right-right zeaxanthin aligns with principles of environmental sustainability. Cultivating and harvesting zeaxanthin-rich plants in an eco-friendly manner not only preserves natural ecosystems but also supports local agricultural communities.

Most manufacturers of AREDS 2 eye vitamins do not declare the source of zeaxanthin and use synthetic sources. But the evidence overwhelmingly supports the utilization of natural plant sources of right-right zeaxanthin over synthetic mixed racemers for optimal health benefits, and this is the form exclusively used in all VisiVite AREDS 2 eye vitamins for macular degeneration. From superior bioavailability and specificity of isomeric form to synergistic effects and safety considerations, choosing natural sources ensures maximum efficacy and minimal risk. Incorporating zeaxanthin-rich foods into one's diet, such as marigold flowers, spinach, and kale, offers a holistic approach to supporting eye health and overall vitality.


  1. Bhosale, P., Serban, B., Zhao, D., Bernstein, P.S. (2007). Identification and Metabolic Transformations of Carotenoids in ocular tissues of the Japanese quail Coturnix japonica. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 55(2), 780-787.
  2. Thurnham, D.I., Nolan, J.M., Howard, A.N., Beatty, S. (2015). Macular response to supplementation with differing xanthophyll formulations in subjects with and without age-related macular degeneration. Nutrients, 7(12), 9299-9312.

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