Mesozeaxanthin, Lutein & Zeaxanthin (2014, 17) Multiple Benefit


Learn more about how to support the health of the macula.

Now that it is well established that lutein, zeaxanthin and mesozeathanin are important nutrient therapies for macular degeneration, researchers have been investing their relationship to various functions of the eye.


Contrast Sensitivity

Researchers wanted to see whether adding the three nutrients to consumption and the resulting improvement in optical density of the macular pigment would enhance perception of contrasts which takes place in the eye through a process known as laterial inhibition.

Laterial inhibition occurs when a neuron which is stimulated reduces the activity of its immediate neighbors. The resulting slowed action and reaction means that there's more of a contrast in stimulation perceived as an increase in visual perception. It apparently helps to sustain perception in color differences.

In the study nearly 60 young and healthy people were part of a 1-year, double-masked, placebo-controlled study. The density of their macular pigment was determined by way of heterochromatic flicker photometry. This is a procedure that measures the individual's ability to perceive subtle changes in color. The degree of lateral inhibition was also measured with a computerized program. The researchers measured contrast sensitivity with a simple a/b choice testing.

The study participants were given either placebo or the three carotenoids. Researchers noted significant changes in all three test measurements after only 6 months. After 12 months further significant gain was reported for contrast sensitivity and lateral inhibition.

The researchers also reported that the improvements in contrast sensitivity could not be explained by optical filtering alone, but involve the eye's ability to perceive edges.

Researchers: J.M. Stringham, K.J. O'Brien, et al
Published: Contrast Sensitivity and Lateral Inhibition Are Enhanced With Macular Carotenoid Supplementation, Investigations in Ophthalmology and Visual Science, April, 2017.

Sleep, Visual Performance, Physical Symptoms

With the dramatic increase in electronic device usage there are increasing reports of damaged vision and other problems that correlate to the exposure to blue light emitted by such devices.

Researchers investigated the effect of the three carotenoids on overall visual performance, sleep quality and various physical symptoms.

Nearly 50 young and healthy subjects received baseline measurements in each of the three categories: vision, sleep, physical symptoms - in the face of excessive screen-time on electronic smartphones, tablets and/or laptops. Some of the subjects were given placebo, others received a supplement of lutein, zeaxanthin and mesozeaxanthin.

At baseline and after 6 months:

  • Visual performance was measured contrast sensitivity, critical flicker fusion (the point at which flicker is not-detectable), disability glare (lowered visibility of an object in the presence of another glaring light source), and photostress recovery (how long it takes for normal vision to recover after being exposed to a bright light).
  • Physical symptoms were evaluated by means of a questionnaire about sleep habits, headaches, eye strain, and eye fatigue.
  • Macular pigment optical density was measured with heterochromatic flicker photometry.

Signficant improvements were noted in all three categories for the subjects receiving the carotenoid supplementation. The researchers did note that the sleep quality was not directly related to macular pigment, but felt that improvements in that regard were due to overall reduction in inflammation and oxidative stress.

Researchers: J.M. Stringham, N.T. Stringham, et al
Published: Macular Carotenoid Supplementation Improves Visual Performance, Sleep Quality, and Adverse Physical Symptoms in Those with High Screen Time Exposure, Foods, June, 2017.


Basic Carotenoid Therapeutic Effect

Researchers compared the impact of treatment with different macular carotenoid formulations on macular pigment and visual function in early age-related macular degeneration. This is the dry form of macular degeneration which is very responsive to nutrient supplementation. The study involved more than 50 subjects who received one of the following formulations.

  • Group 1 received 20mg/day lutein, 2mg/day zeaxanthin
  • Group 2 received 10 mg/day lutein, 2 mg/day zeaxanthin, 10mg/day mesozeaxanthin
  • Group 3 received 3 mg/day lutein, 2 mg/day zeaxanthin, 17mg/day mesozeaxanthin.

There was significant improvement for all of the three formulations, especially in group 3 where letter contrast sensitivity was the greatest.

Researchers: S. Sabour-Pickett, S. Beatty, et al
Supplementation with three different macular carotenoid formulations in patients with early age-related macular degeneration, Retina, September, 2014.