Meso-Zeaxanthin (1990s, 2003, 2007) & Macular Degneration


Learn more about support for macular degeneration.

Exploration of the carotenoid meso-zeaxanthin has determined that it is an important pigment in the macula in addition to lutein and zeaxanthin. Like zeaxanthin, meso-zeaxanthin comprises 25% of the macular pigments. Lutein is the other 50% of macular pigments.

2003 Scientists evaluated levels of carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin in the retina of donated eyes in patients both with and without macular degeneration.1 The study substantiated other research2 which has reported that these carotenoids are critical to maintain the health of the macula.

2003 Other studies pointed to the source of meso-zeaxanthin, which cannot be directly consumed as part of one's diet, but which is produced through conversion, in the retina, from lutein.2

If taken as a supplement, meso-zeaxanthin is absorbed into the blood stream and effectively increases macular pigment levels. Vrabec T, Tantri A et al. Autosomal dominant Stargardt-like macular dystrophy: identification of a new family with a mutation in the ELOVL4 gene. Am J Ophthalmol. 2003;136(3):542-5

Researchers also found that patients who suffer from macular degeneration have 30% less meso-zeaxanthin in their macula compared to patients with healthy eyes.3 Such deficiency may be due to either not enough lutein in the diet or the inability of the retina to convert lutein to meso-zeaxanthin.

1. M. Michaelides, D. Hunt, et al., The genetics of inherited macular dystrophies. Journal of Medical Genetics, 2003
2. S.M. Meyers, T. Grene, et al., A twin study of age-related macular degeneration. American Journal of Ophthalmology, 1995
3. T. Vrabec, A. Tantri, et al., Autosomal dominant Stargardt-like macular dystrophy: identification of a new family with a mutation in the ELOVL4 gene, American Journal of Ophthalmology, 2003

2007 More research substantiates that meso-zeaxanthin is important in preventing macular degeneration. Researchers found that the carotenoid helps to increase the density of macular pigments that protect the retina from damaging sunlight.

In a small 4 month study patients daily received 20mg meso-zeaxanthin along with smaller amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. An like-sized control group took a placebo. They found that levels of all three carotenoids increased in the blood and macular pigment density increased. There were no changes in the patients receiving placebo.

Researchers: R.A. Bone, et al, Florida International University
Published: Macular pigment response to a supplement containing meso-zeaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin, Nutrition and Metabolism, 2007