What is Marigold Flower Extract (Zeaxanthin 5%)?
Marigold flower extract comes from the Tagetes erecta plant, also known as the Mexican
marigold and Aztec marigold. As its other names imply, the flower is native to Mexico and was cultivated by
the Aztecs. It also goes by the name of cempasúchil or flor de muertos, meaning flower of
the dead. It frequently features in the Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration in
Mexico, and many use the flower to adorn graves in Central America.
Historically, the Cherokee used it as a dye for its distinctive yellow color and to wash the skin. Some areas
across Mexico use Tagetes erecta to improve digestive complaints, such as stomachache,
indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea. It also has historical use as an antiparasitic in the intestines and
for alleviating various respiratory ailments and gynecological problems. Modern researchers believe
Tagetes erecta flowers owe their beneficial properties to their zeaxanthin and lutein content.
What are Zeaxanthin and Lutein?
Zeaxanthin and lutein are both a type of carotenoid known as xanthophylls that produce yellow pigments. They
share an identical chemical formula; their only structural difference is where the double bond occurs in one
of their end rings. Due to their chemical similarities, zeaxanthin and lutein synergize and may support eye
health and protect against age-related ocular decline. Cerebral concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin,
along with beta-carotene, are also indicative of better cognition
What are Carotenoids?
Tagetes erecta flowers owe their pigment to carotenoids. Zeaxanthin is one of several
carotenoids found in marigold flowers and one of the most ubiquitous carotenoids found in nature. However,
lutein is the most prominent carotenoid found in marigold flowers. While both produce yellow pigments,
lutein can range from yellow to orange to red, depending on its concentration. Carotenoids often have
Potential Benefits of Marigold Flower Extract
Marigold Flower Antioxidants
Marigold flowers contain several carotenoids that combat free radical damage, most notably zeaxanthin and
lutein. Left unchecked, free radicals can damage cells, cause premature cellular aging, and result in the
progression of numerous diseases. Zeaxanthin is particularly effective at scavenging peroxyl (hydrogen
peroxide) free radicals and boosts levels of reduced glutathione (GSH), one of the most potent antioxidants in the body. Lutein can
inhibit the free radical chain reaction that causes lipid peroxidation and cellular damage while also
reducing inflammation. Both zeaxanthin and lutein protect against oxidative stress; however, zeaxanthin is
the more powerful antioxidant. They also synergize to protect the eyes from free radicals produced by oxygen
and light exposure.
Marigold Flower Extract and Eye Health
The eye contains high concentrations of zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin is one of two carotenoids responsible for the
macular pigment in the eye. It helps increase macular pigment density and exerts protective effects that may
reduce the risk of developing age-related eye conditions. Zeaxanthin also supports eye health by absorbing
harmful blue light that causes inflammation, oxidative stress, and oxidative damage. Most of the zeaxanthin
exists in the light-exposed layers of the eye and can absorb as much as 90% of retina-damaging blue light.
Marigold Flower Extract and Cognition
A significant connection exists between the eyes and the brain. The largest zeaxanthin concentrations in the
brain are in the areas connected to cognition and decision-making. Much as it does for the eyes, researchers
believe zeaxanthin also protects the brain. Research also shows a positive correlation between high cerebral
zeaxanthin levels and cognitive function in the elderly.
Potential Side Effects of Marigold Flower Extract
Most individuals can take marigold flower extract without experiencing adverse effects. Its primary compound,
zeaxanthin, has an excellent safety profile and occurs naturally in many foods. No research to date has
reported adverse effects from taking supplements containing zeaxanthin.
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