Are you getting enough Meso-Zeaxanthin, and what role does it have in our macular pigment?
What is macular pigment (MP)? While most people are familiar with the fovea, a small region in the retina’s center, fewer are familiar with MP. Macular pigment is located in the macula (the central retina, including the fovea). It protects the light-sensitive retinal tissue by filtering out blue light and reduces oxidation caused by free radical damage. It also reduces the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and aids in enhancing vision, even in young, healthy people.
The macula is a five-millimeter-diameter yellow spot on the retina. The pigment levels in the macula typically drop as we age, increasing the risk of AMD. The yellow-pigmented area in the macula, termed the macula lutea, which means “yellow spot,” is the concentration of three carotenoids: Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Meso-Zeaxanthin. We get these nutrients from eating leafy green vegetables. But what does Meso-Zeaxanthin have to do with our MP?
Keep reading, and we’ll go over the Meso-Zeaxanthin benefits and how you can get it to enhance your vision.
What is Meso-Zeaxanthin?
Meso-Zeaxanthin (MZ) is one of the three xanthophyll carotenoids deposited in the central retina. Generally speaking, carotenoids are plant-based pigments and some of nature’s most powerful antioxidants. They’re known for their beneficial chemical and biological activity and have been shown to keep tissues healthy from oxidation and inflammation.
Meso-Zeaxanthin is the most effective antioxidant of the three macular carotenoids. It’s deposited generously in the center of the retina, where vision is most vulnerable. It is a micronutrient that may be found in the skins of fish such as trout and marigold flowers.
Most humans produce MZ by converting Lutein (L), a carotenoid present in leafy green vegetables. But recent estimates suggest that up to 30% of individuals may have an insufficient conversion of L to MZ. This situation results in low MP in the center of the retina, right where it is needed most. Therefore, supplementation with MZ is recommended.
Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids deposited in the retina. They accumulate near the front of the photoreceptors, which makes them capable of screening harmful blue light that can damage cells in the eye. These carotenoids are 1000 times more concentrated in the macula than in the blood. The high degree of biological selectivity in the retina suggests that these carotenoids are essential in preserving the macula’s health and function.
With low MP density, the macula is vulnerable to oxidation and blue light, which can result in cumulative damage over the lifespan and potentially manifest as AMD. Maintaining a diet rich in L, Z, and MZ has been found to build MP to a high level and maintain it. This has been shown in studies to be a viable strategy for preserving eye health, improving visual performance, and lowering the risk of AMD.
Macular Carotenoids: Three is Best
When L, Z, and MZ are combined, they become far more potent than when used alone. They aid in neutralizing harmful free radicals and reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the eyes and brain. All three carotenoids are shown to boost cognitive function, visual performance and mood and protect the eyes and brain. Studies show they have beneficial effects on Alzheimer’s disease patients. Dietary analysis of those with Alzheimer’s disease shows that they tend to have a low intake of these carotenoids and the essential omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA. Shoring up these deficiencies with supplementation appears to be a plausible strategy to delay the onset and slow the progression of this pernicious disease.
Meso-Zeaxanthin: The Necessary Carotenoid
As noted above, according to clinical investigations, up to 30% of individuals lack the enzyme required to convert retinal L to retinal MZ. This issue is resolved when MZ is included in a dietary supplement formulation. Studies have found that patients with low MZ in the central retina (called an “atypical macular pigment profile,” which is characterized by the inability to convert L to MZ) had completely restored macular pigment profiles after eight weeks of MZ supplements.
One of the causes of AMD is oxidative stress (oxidative stress refers to tissue damage caused by unstable oxygen molecules). The retina is the ideal tissue for oxidative stress production since it has the highest oxygen metabolism of any mammalian tissue. Inflammation can also be caused by oxidative stress. Patients with genes that do not regulate inflammation (such as the AMD susceptibility genes) will develop the disease. With sufficient MZ at the center of the retina, the risk of developing AMD is much lower.
Oxidative stress is exacerbated not just by oxygen metabolism but also by exposure to short-wavelength light. Think about it this way: The only two organs in the body exposed to light are the skin and the eyes. When we’re out in the sun, we’re instructed to use sun lotion and other protective gear to protect our skin. The same may be said for your eye. Therefore, macular pigment should be thought of as sunscreen for the macula.
Can You Get Meso-Zeaxanthin Through Diet?
According to research, it would be impossible for most people to ingest enough Meso-Zeaxanthin, Zeaxanthin and Lutein from food alone. Our eyes and brain require a certain quantity of each of the three carotenoids to function correctly.
This quantity can’t be obtained when following a conventional American diet. Supplementation is required to achieve adequate carotenoid levels. Vision Edge PRO is a supplement that contains MZ, Z and L. MZ is obtained in three different ways:
Lutein is converted to Meso-Zeaxanthin in the body.
As noted above, MZ is typically produced in the body by conversion from L. But many patients with AMD lack the necessary enzyme to perform this conversion and exhibit a dramatic MP deficiency in their central retina.
It is mainly found in the skin of certain fish.
Meso-Zeaxanthin is usually found in small amounts in salmon skin, sardine skin, trout skin and trout meat.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are sourced from marigold flower petals. By treating Lutein with an appropriate amount of heat, MZ is produced. When put in a stabilizing matrix in a nutritional supplement, MZ is absorbed in the body and deposited in the retina, where it becomes part of the macular pigment.
It’s not just about having a “good” diet, but about getting the right kind of food produced in the right way! This is particularly challenging now because so much of our food is mass-produced. Our seafood is farmed, and the nutritional content of our food is declining every year. We don’t get enough of these nutrients even if we eat a healthy diet. Vision Edge PRO effectively offsets this nutritional deficiency by providing an adequate daily supply of L, Z and MZ with the essential omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
Protect Your Vision
Our Vision Edge PRO formulation has been clinically proven to improve visual performance and safeguard vision in independent studies. It carries the seal of approval from NSF, Informed Sport and Supplement Certified to ensure product safety, stability, and efficacy.
Vision Edge PRO is the first eye vision supplement with a triple carotenoid formulation plus omega-3s, which are clinically proven to improve contrast sensitivity, reaction time, depth perception and macular pigment levels, helping you improve your visual performance. Contact us to enhance and protect your vision today!