In recent years, studies have shown that the addition of meso-zeaxanthin to formulations used to increase MP and enhance visual function in diseased and non-diseased retinas has proven very effective. Indeed, six head-to-head trials have shown that a formulation containing all three macular carotenoids in a meso-zeaxanthin:lutein:zeaxanthin (mg) specific ratio is superior to alternative formulations, in terms of visual improvements and in terms of observed increases in MP (the precise aim of supplementation).
The first study to evaluate the effects of a dietary supplement containing predominantly meso-zeaxanthin was conducted in a Miami Florida research laboratory by Professors Bone and Landrum. This research confirmed that meso-zeaxanthin was effectively absorbed into the serum, and MP density was increased significantly in the supplementation group. No such increases were observed in the placebo group. In another study done in Northern Ireland, 19 subjects consumed a supplement also composed of all three macular carotenoids, including meso-zeaxanthin over a period of 22 days. Results demonstrated that meso-zeaxanthin was absorbed. At the Institute of Vision Research, Waterford Institute of Technology, the Meso-zeaxanthin Ocular Supplementation Trials (MOST), have been conducted to evaluate safety, MP response and serum carotenoid response in subjects with and without AMD, following consumption of a supplement containing all three macular carotenoids in which meso-zeaxanthin was predominant. These studies confirmed safety for human consumption of the macular carotenoids following many biological tests to assess renal and liver function, lipid profile, hematologic profile, and markers of inflammation. The MOST trials identified statistically significant increases in serum concentrations of meso-zeaxanthin and lutein from baseline. Significant increases in central MP levels were also observed after just two weeks of supplementation. Furthermore, in patients who had an atypical MP distribution in the eye (i.e. they did not have the high concentration of pigment in the center of the macula), when supplemented with a meso-zeaxanthin dominant supplement for 8 weeks, the more normal pigment profile was re-instated, whereas this was not the case when supplemented with a formulation lacking meso-zeaxanthin. Two major clinical trials were published in the international journal, Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS). These studies were funded by the European Research Council (Ref: 281096). The first trial, the CREST (Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials) normal study involved 105 volunteers who underwent a series of complex tests of vision and were supplemented over a 12-month period. Of the 105 subjects, 53 received daily active supplements containing meso-zeaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin, while 52 subjects received a placebo (the control group). The outcome unequivocally demonstrates that those receiving macular carotenoids – lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin – enjoyed meaningful benefits to their visual function. The improvement recorded was primarily in people’s contrast sensitivity – how much contrast a person needs to see a target (i.e. how faint an object can you see).This work demonstrates important implications for those who rely on their vision for professional reasons, such as high-performance sportspeople (most obviously golfers, cricketers, tennis and baseball players), motorists, train drivers, pilots, and police.
Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) reported a reduced risk of visual loss and a reduced risk of disease progression in patients with non-advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD, the leading cause of blindness in the Western World; Taylor and Keeffe, 2001) who were supplemented with a formulation containing the macular carotenoids and co-antioxidants (The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Research Group, 2013, 2014). Unfortunately, the AREDS2 preparation only contained two of macular pigment’s three carotenoids (lutein and 3R,3´R-zeaxanthin), and did not include meso-zeaxanthin, which is the dominant carotenoid at the very centre of the macula, and the presence of which is essential for maximum collective antioxidant effect.
Safety studies regarding on a meso-zeaxanthin prepared from the marigold flower and published by independent research companies, read further details by clicking on these links: (another drop down?)
- Summary Report of “Thirteen-week Oral (gavage) Toxicity of Meso-zeaxanthin in Han Wistar Rats with a 4-Week Recovery”
- Covance report “Salmonella-Escherichia coli/Mammalian-Microsome Reverse Mutation Assay with a Confirmatory Assay with Mesozeaxanthin”
- GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) status for mesozeaxanthin
- Akuffo, K.O., et al., Sustained supplementation and monitored response with differing carotenoid formulations in early age-related macular degeneration. Eye (London), 2015.
- Loughman, J., et al., The impact of macular pigment augmentation on visual performance using different carotenoid formulations. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 2012.
- Meagher, Katherine A., et al., Serum response to supplemental macular carotenoids in subjects with and without age-related macular degeneration. The British Journal of Nutrition, 2012
- Nolan, J.M., et al., Macular carotenoid supplementation in subjects with atypical spatial profiles of macular pigment. Experimental Eye Research, 2012.
- Sabour-Pickett, S. et al., Supplementation with three different macular carotenoid formulations in patients with early age-related macular degeneration. Retina, 2014.
- Beatty, Stephen, et. al., Macular response to supplementation with differing xanthophyll formulations in subjects with and without age-related macular degeneration. Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, 2015
2018: New findings demonstrated a memory-enhancing effect for daily supplementation with L, MZ, Z in healthy subjects with low MP, with possible implications for intellectual performance and executive function over lifespan.
- Power, R., et al., Supplemental Retinal Carotenoids Enhance Memory in Healthy Individuals with Low Levels of Macular Pigment in a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2018.
2018: This emerging research, including the carotenoids, L, MZ, Z shows a positive relationship with the MP levels and brain tissues. These are important implications for health and compromised individuals
2020: Omega 3 fatty acids, carotenoids and vitamin E are nutrients present in brain tissue. To date, no interventional studies have examined the potential synergistic effects of a combination of w-3FAs, carotenoids (L , MZ, Z) and vitamin E.
- Coen, R. et. al., Targeted Nutritional Intervention for Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment: The Cognitive impAiRmEnt Study (CARES) Trial 1. May 2020.