Can weed killers protect your eyes?

October 20, 2009
Volume 06    |   Issue 43

Did you know that a weed killer now has the ability to protect your eyesight? It’s true.

The American Chemical Society recently published an article in its Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that proves it. A group of researchers found that two common herbicides, mesotrione alone or mesotrione mixed with atrazine, increased the nutrients in sweet corn. And the increase of these nutrients (antheraxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin) was substantial – as much as 15%.

These carotenoids have strong healthful benefits. They decrease your risk for age-related macular degeneration. This is the most common cause of impaired vision in older adults. They also protect against heart disease and cancer. There’s no doubt about it: Carotenoids are beneficial, and getting more of them in your diet is a good idea.

But not when they come from contaminated corn.

Herbicides are not safe. You’ll hear researchers say they are. But there simply aren’t enough studies to ensure their safety. Most researchers don’t believe they are carcinogenic. But they really don’t know. That’s just their guess. And they also don’t know whether or not they contaminate ground water or are a developmental or reproductive toxin. They also don’t know if they are endocrine disruptors, like many other herbicides and pesticides.

What we do know is that mesotrione can affect the neurological development of young children. Past studies on other chemicals have found that when a nutrient, toxin, virus, etc. affects children, it affects older people as well.

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There’s not much you can do to prevent farmers from using these herbicides. But you don’t have to buy corn or corn products they spray with these weed killers. If you hear about any corn product that is more healthful because it contains higher amounts of carotenoids, buy a different product. Chances are the corn was sprayed with a powerful weed killer that could lead to Parkinson’s disease and other toxic conditions.

You don’t need artificially created carotenoids. Most yellow and red fruits and vegetables are naturally high in carotenoids. And if you need more carotenoids to protect your eyes, you can easily get them in supplement form. I recommend the formula sold by Advanced Bionutritionals .

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


Kopsell, D.A., et al. “Increase in nutritionally important sweet corn kernel carotenoids following mesotrione and atrazine applications,” J Agric Food Chem, July 2009.

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