Lutein and Zeaxanthin Elicit “Rapid Retinal Response,” Study Suggests


In a new study, OmniActive’s Lutemax 2020 significantly improved macular pigment ocular density (MPOD) in as little as eight weeks.

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A new study in Experimental Eye Research suggests three macular carotenoids-lutein, zeaxanthin, and mesozeaxanthin-may increase macular pigment ocular density (MPOD) more quickly than previous research has indicated. Among study participants supplementing with Lutemax 2020 marigold extract from OmniActive Health Technologies (Morristown, NJ), researchers observed significant increases to MPOD in as little as eight weeks.

The study included 28 young adults who consumed either a placebo or one of three dose levels of Lutemax 2020, all of which provided similar ratios of lutein to zeaxanthin isomers (83% lutein, 10% zeaxanthin, and 7% mesozeaxanthin). Following 12 weeks of supplementation, researchers found that all three Lutemax 2020 dose levels significantly increased MPOD compared to placebo. But for the two highest dosage levels, which featured 10 mg and 20 mg of lutein, significant increases to MPOD were seen after just eight weeks of supplementation.

“Typically, even from my own studies previously, you don’t necessarily get a statistically significant change for several months afterward-sometimes six months,” James M. Stringham, PhD, lead author of the study, told Nutritional Outlook. “For a significant change to occur for both the 10- and 20-mg groups after eight weeks was really surprising.”

In a press announcement of the study results, Stringham also called this the first study to show supplementation with these three macular carotenoids may result in a “rapid retinal response.”

The study is the first in the LAMA group of studies-short for lutein, vision, and mental acuity-which explore the benefits of Lutemax 2020. Researchers dubbed it “LAMA I.”

The next study in the series, LAMA II, has already been submitted for publication. Unlike LAMA I, LAMA II included 60 participants and covered a period of 12 months. In addition to finding similar increases to MPOD, LAMA II suggests Lutemax 2020 may significantly improve glare performance, contrast sensitivity, and photo stress recovery compared to placebo, OmniActive said.

Other soon-to-be-published study results also suggest Lutemax 2020 may improve visual processing speed and sleep, in addition to reducing headaches, eye strain, and eye fatigue, according to OmniActive.


LAMA I Details

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 28 healthy adults aged 18–25. For 12 weeks, participants consumed either a placebo or one of three Lutemax 2020 supplement dosages at similar carotenoid ratios: 6 mg lutein and 1.2 mg zeaxanthin isomers, 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin isomers, or 20 mg lutein and 4 mg zeaxanthin isomers. Starting at baseline and for every two weeks following, researchers conducted a fasting blood draw and measured MPOD of participants via heterochromatic flicker photometry.

After eight weeks of supplementation, the two highest Lutemax 2020 dosage groups (10 and 20 mg lutein) were found to have significant increases to MPOD compared to placebo. By 12 weeks, the MPOD of all three Lutemax 2020 dosage groups increased significantly compared to placebo. However, researchers noted that the mid-level dose (10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin isomers) was the “most efficient” at significantly augmenting MPOD.

“In an absolute sense, the highest dose did produce the greatest change in the retina,” Stringham told Nutritional Outlook. “But for the most efficient dose to retinal change as well as serum change, we did find the most efficient dose to be that middle dose-that 10-mg dose.”

Additionally, researchers observed significant increases to serum concentrations of both lutein and zeaxanthin after just two weeks of ingestion from each Lutemax 2020 supplement level compared to placebo. All of the carotenoid treatment groups also showed a more pronounced central peak in the spatial profile of MPOD that “suggests that central retinal deposition of [zeaxanthin] and [mesozeaxanthin] was efficient,” researchers wrote, although the effect was not statistically significant.

In its announcement, OmniActive noted that “even at the lowest dose, [Lutemax 2020] supplementation resulted in a significant increase over placebo in MPOD much sooner than what has been predicted by previous findings from other studies.”


Read more:

High Carotenoid Intake Linked with Lower Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Lutein and Zeaxanthin Benefit Young and Old Alike

Lutein-Enhanced Dairy Drink Improves Visual Acuity and Macular Pigment Optical Density in Study


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine


Stringham JM et al., “Serum and retinal responses to three different doses of macular carotenoids over 12 weeks of supplementation,” Experimental Eye Research, vol. 151 (July 2016); 1–8

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