Are You Missing Meso-Zeaxanthin?

Are You Missing Meso-Zeaxanthin?

Posted on Aug.10, 2015, under Educational, Low Vision Info

Are you missing meso-zeaxanthin?  While most people are aware of the macula, a tiny area in the center of the retina, less people are aware of what is called the macular pigment (MP).  It is actually the accumulation of three carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin that make up the yellow pigmented area in the macula called the macula lutea which means, “yellow spot.”   These three antioxidants are naturally occurring plant pigments, known as carotenoids.

Role of the Macular Pigment

The MP protects our eyes by filtering out blue light and protecting our eyes from oxidation caused by free radical damage. It also protects against age related macular degeneration and plays an important role in enhancing vision in the young, healthy population.

According to the article, Macular Pigment and Its Contribution to Vision, Nutrients. 2013 Jun; 5(6): 1962–1969.  “MP may also protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) because of the same blue light-filtering properties and because of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of MP’s constituent carotenoids.” The Macular Pigment Research Group, located in Waterford, Ireland has found that MP does increase with lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin (MZ) supplementation and that increases are higher when all three are taken together.

Previously it was believed that Lutein and Zeaxanthin were the only two carotenoids that helped build the MP whether it was through supplementation or a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and that meso-zeaxanthin was formed by retinal lutein.   According to nutritional experts like Professor John Nolan of the Macular Pigment Research Group, “Of interest, research has also shown that individuals at risk of developing AMD lack MP centrally, where MZ is the dominant carotenoid, and the macular pigment of such subjects only normalises if supplemented with a formulation containing all three macular carotenoids and not when containing a formulation that lacks MZ.”  Based on studies at Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland, where Professor John Nolan performs his macular pigment research it has been “shown that the optimal response to these nutrients can be achieved when consumed in the formulation of 10mg, 2mg and 10mg (lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin respectively).”

Documentary On the Macular Pigment Research Group

On  February 2014 a documentary was aired showcasing some of the patient success stories from those who participated in clinical trials sponsored by the Macular Pigment Research Group (MPRG)  and Institute of Eye Surgery.  Here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2 of the Nationwide Program on the MPRG:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN