There is a variety of products out in the market intended to help with AMD. The majority of them incorporate dietary supplements containing macular carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Much has been written in recent years about the potential protective effects of both carotenoids and other nutritional components. Zinc and Copper as well as Vitamins A, C and E have been identified as vital to reduce the risk of developing AMD.
During the 1990’s, macular pigments Lutein and Zeaxanthin were found to have a protective effect against short wavelength light damage as well as providing antioxidant properties – thus potentially slowing down the disease. A third macular pigment called Meso-Zeaxanthin; however, has been taking the spotlight in recent studies. Dr. Richard Bone and Dr. John Landrum at the Florida International University discovered that Meso-Zeaxanthin (MZ), which is found in the retina but unlike lutein and zeaxanthin, has not been isolated from blood plasma or the liver, is not produced within the body and not derived from diet either.
Meso-zeaxanthin can only be absorbed through natural conversion of enzymes from lutein. It is the most powerful antioxidant of the three vital carotenoids, allowing greater blue light filtration as a damage preventing measure. For many, natural enzyme conversion of lutein into meso-zeaxanthin simply does not create enough pigment density. In rare cases, it creates none. Free from the limit of natural enzyme conversion, supplementation of meso-zeaxanthin directly fortifies pigment density in the central macula without know adverse side-effects.
Dr. John Nolan, a vision scientist and Fullbright postdoctoral fellow in the Medical College, Georgia, Department of Ophthalmology stated that ‘Given that MZ is not normally found in a standard diet, is a stronger antioxidant than both lutein and zeaxanthin, and allows for a wider range of blue-light filtration, its presence in a supplement will undoubtedly be of benefit for maintaining visual performance.’
By reducing loss of sharp, central vision and re-fortifying pigment density in the central macula, nutritional supplement during early stages of macular degeneration has proven to delay progression of the disease significantly, and stop permanent loss of vision if administered in time. Clinical research and trials by leaders of industry has been observed that a daily intake of 6mg of lutein alone is able to increase macular pigment density by 40 per cent over a span of six months. Providing hope in a manner far greater than hope alone, this results in a 43 per cent decrease in the risk of developing macular degeneration.