In a recent article called Eyes on Eyes Top 3 Eye Supplements for 2013, Dr Richard Maharaj discussed his top picks for nutriceutical eye supplements for 2013. In the article Dr. Maharaj, who is Director of Optometry at eye LABS in Brampton, Ontario, reveals why he believes MacuHealth is one of the most unique and effective eye supplements on the market today.
“Macuhealth seems to remain at the forefront of preventative treatments for macular disease,” says Dr. Maharaj who also admits the all-important carotenoid ‘meso-zeaxanthin’ can be difficult to find in supplement form.
In honour of low vision month, Amdblog.org was able to conduct an e-interview with Dr. Maharaj to gather more insight as to why he believes MacuHealth is one of the top eye health supplements available today.
1) Why is taking an eye health supplement vital for those susceptible to macular degeneration?
For patients that have a personal or family history of AMD, supplementation is active step patients can take to reduce risk of development or progression of the disease. AREDS (I and II) have shown significant risk reduction in progression of disease from the dry form to wet form and current evidence suggests that supplementation of carotenoids can reduce risk of development.
2) What if I have wet macular degeneration? Can a supplement like MacuHealth still help me even during the final stages of AMD?
Theoretically increasing serum carotenoid, like the three contained in MacuHealth (L, Z, Mz) has been shown to increase macular pigment optical density (MPOD). We know that increased density of these carotenoids can have a profound effect on reducing oxidative stress and the metabolic burden the macula is already going through with advanced disease. Now if the aim of our care is to reduce risk of progression of disease, even in advanced disease, it makes physiological sense to continue the fight against oxidative stress by means of carotenoid supplementation.
3) In your opinion, what sets MacuHealth apart from other eye health supplements?
Meso-zeaxanthin. It is extremely difficult to find this in supplement form and isn’t contained in any leading AREDS I or II cocktail. Studies are continuing to show that the combination of three carotenoids vs. Lutein and Zeaxanthin alone, have a multiple effect on reducing oxidative stress greater then the sum of their parts. This unique combination available in the MacuHealth product is unique in that it provides all 3.
4) What exactly is Meso-zeaxanthin and can it be obtained from a regular diet?
Meso-zeaxanthin is a yellow pigment found at the macula. There are over 700 found in nature but MZ is not widely available the human diet, in fact it is believed to be synthesized endogenously from lutein. There is a binding protein in the retina which has the capacity to bind both zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin with very similar affinity and this may provide the route of uptake of both zeaxanthins into the macula. An important point here is although there is an internal process of synthesizing MZ from lutein, supplementing in to increase serum levels of MZ seems to be supported by the high concentration of MZ at the macula.
5) What if I’m already taking certain medications? Is MacuHealth typically safe to take alongside other medications?
Yes, carotenoid supplementation of LMZ3 are safely added to any diet or drug. In fact because carotenoids are water insoluable and need fat for transport, statin therapy which increases HDL may have a synergistic effect when combined with LMZ3.
6) In closing, would you like to leave AMD patients with any further advice?
There is no silver bullet to AMD or supplementation however with a new focus on prevention, nutraceuticals like MacuHealth will have a much larger role to play in the primary management of macular disease. The optometrists arsenal for a preventative approach should incorporate both supplements and proper metrics to follow these patients like contrast sensitivity, glare recovery,and fundus autofluorescence (FAF). As clinical scientists making an intervention is only as effective as our means to measure its success or failure.