Clinical Studies

What Causes Eye Floaters?
What causes eye floaters?

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

It’s aggravating when oddly shaped particles move across your line of sight. These annoying strands are known as eye floaters. These pesky items can affect your ability to work, drive or go to the beach on a hot summer day. Reading a book, watching a movie or performing day-to-day tasks at home may develop into a struggle. It can even become difficult to concentrate when spending time with friends and family.

If floaters interfere with your everyday life, you’re not alone. The National Eye Institute predicts that nearly everyone will develop eye floaters at some point in their lives. One of the causes of eye floaters is a lack of nutrients in the part of the eye known as the vitreous body. For some, floaters are manageable and eventually go away.  But for others, they are a source of uneasiness and stress.

What can we do about these distracting spots and specks? We’ll take a closer look at what causes eye floaters and ways to manage them.

What is the Vitreous?

Before understanding what causes eye floaters, we need to learn about where they’re found: the vitreous. This clear gel-like substance consists of water, collagen and hyaluronic acid. It makes up nearly 80% of the eye and resides behind the lens and the front of the retina.

The vitreous helps maintain your eyeball’s shape, absorbs vibration and keeps the retina attached. It needs specific antioxidants to protect it against oxidative stress and disease.

Here’s What Causes Eye Floaters

If you’ve wondered what causes eye floaters, research shows the vitreous loses nutrients over time. This causes the collagen fibers inside it to clump together. These clumps, called floaters, cast shadows on the retina and become more noticeable when looking at the sun or bright surfaces.2 

If you’ve suffered from eye floaters for a long time, you’re likely familiar with how they float around (hence the name). Sometimes they’re black and gray colored dots. In some instances, floaters appear as squiggly lines, threadlike strands, cobwebs or rings. They can even emerge as a dark or light area of vision. Other times, they make some objects look blurry compared to the rest of your visual field. As your brain adapts to seeing them, you may notice them less, but they don’t truly go away.

Other Reasons for Eye Floaters

There is more than one answer to the question: What causes eye floaters? The symptoms generally become more common with age. But if you notice a sudden increase in the number of floaters, it’s time to see an eye care professional for an examination as it could be a sign of a more serious issue. One such condition is a detached retina. This happens when the vitreous separates from or peels off the retina, the part of your eye that processes light. It doesn’t cause your eye any pain, but it could lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated.

Other possible causes for an increase in floaters include eye inflammation, infection, retinal trauma, diabetic retinopathy, hemorrhaging or an eye tumor.

What Are the Treatments for Eye Floaters?

What can you do to maintain your eye health and manage floaters? Try eating more fruits and vegetables, wear protective eyeglasses (especially when it’s bright outdoors) and stay adequately hydrated. If you smoke, try to quit.

Your eye care professional may recommend risky, invasive therapies. These include using a laser to break up floaters. There is also a surgical procedure to remove the vitreous and replace it with a saline solution or bubble filled with gas or oil. This is known as a vitrectomy, and it comes with a risk of serious complications, including retinal detachment and cataracts.

Surgery may not be necessary, however.  Given that the vitreous requires a continuous supply of antioxidant and enzymatic nutrients, researchers from the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland hypothesized that giving participants these nutrients in a supplement, floater symptoms may subside. This trial, called the Floater Intervention Study (FLIES)1, showed a significant reduction in floaters and an improvement in visual function compared to placebo.

The trusted scientists behind MacuHealth are offering this patented nutrient blend under the name of VitreousHealth. This supplement is sold exclusively through eye care professionals.

References

  1. Ankamah et al. 2021. doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.12.19

  2. Webb, Blake F et al. “Prevalence of vitreous floaters in a community sample of smartphone users.” International journal of ophthalmology vol. 6,3 402-5. 18 Jun. 2013, doi:10.3980/j.issn.2222-3959.2013.03.27

Clinical Studies

What are EPA and DHA
What are EPA and DHA? Read on!

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

Based on scientific studies, health care providers and optometrists are recommending patients increase their intake of Omega-3s. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are considered “good fats” because of their numerous benefits to the heart, brain and eyes. But many Americans fall short of the recommended intake of these ingredients. This is why Omega-3 supplements are becoming more popular, especially those utilizing fish oil as an ingredient.

Yet many patients are confused when they go to their local pharmacy or health care store. They see countless fish oil supplements on their shelves with many different formulas and price points. Many questions come to mind, such as: “What are EPA and DHA?” and “Which formula is the best?”

We’ll take a closer look why certain ingredients in an Omega-3 fish oil supplement are more important than others.

What to look for on an Omega-3 supplement label?

When looking at the label of a fish oil supplement, you’ll need to learn a whole new alphabet. Check the letters in the active ingredients. Many lower-cost bottles feature an Omega-6 called gamma-Linolenic acid, or GLA.

GLA can produce good results for the body, including some anti-inflammatory effects. However, it can also have potentially unhealthy consequences. The body can convert GLA into arachidonic acid, or ARA. ARA tends to be inflammatory. And because it’s in poultry, eggs and red meat, Americans already have too much of it in their diet. This can lead to more inflammation, not less.

Additionally, when identifying a high-quality fish oil product, check to see if the base formulation is “re-esterified triglyceride” (rTG) or “ethyl ester” (EE). Re-esterified triglyceride is natural, recognized by the body and has high bioavailability. Ethyl ester is cheaper and easier to produce but has ethanol as its backbone, leading to health problems and lower bioavailability.

So, what letters should you be looking for on a fish oil supplement label? Research shows that EPA and DHA are best at reducing inflammation and dry eye symptoms. But what are EPA and DHA? We’ll explore what sets them apart from GLA below.

What are EPA and DHA?

According to SFGate.com, EPA and DHA are long-chain polyunsaturated fats with 14 or more carbons. They’re shown to have numerous health benefits. For example, your doctor may prescribe a steroid because of its anti-inflammatory properties. However, these drugs have serious side effects, including stomach pain, indigestion and an increased appetite. EPA’s secret power is its ability to act like a steroid without the nasty side effects. EPA inhibits the enzyme that produces ARA, which can cause inflammation on the cellular level.

It can be said that the more EPA you have in your system, the less harmful inflammation you’ll have in your body. It can ease the symptoms of arthritis, inflammatory bowel syndrome and other autoimmune disorders. EPA can also decrease the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression, cancer and other diseases.

DHA also has additional benefits for the brain and eyes and is critical to neural performance. It increases the speed of nerve signals within and between these vital organs. This enhances our visual and cognitive performance, including improved reaction time, contrast sensitivity, and accuracy. When EPA and DHA work together, it provides optimal benefits to the body.

Conclusion

We’ve answered the question – What are EPA and DHA? And despite the scientific evidence proving the importance of omega-3s to our vision and overall health, getting them into our diet is difficult. The body only receives these essential fatty acids through food such as fish, shellfish and some algae or supplementation.

 

Taking a pharmaceutical-grade fish oil supplement is essential to delivering a safe and proven way to boost our vision, brain, and heart function. Because of the multitude of studies that have found significant benefits in taking EPA and DHA, MacuHealth developed TG Omega-3 Fish Oil to help us meet our current health demands.

 

TG Omega-3 is a natural re-esterified triglyceride formulation that is purified up to five times to eliminate toxins, impurities and fishy taste. TG Omega-3 offers 2,200 mg of EPA and DHA combined per serving. Next time you shop for fish oil, check if it has the correct formulation and letters on the label to give your body the boost it needs. 

Clinical Studies

reduce eye strain
Tired eyes? Here are some ways to reduce eye strain.

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

Do your eyes feel dry and tired at the end of the day? If you spend the workday staring at a computer screen, you’re likely driving home with a headache, rubbing your exhausted eyes for some relief. These are the symptoms of eye strain, and this condition is becoming more common as working from home increases. Around 70% of Americans are spending more time in front of their laptop, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, and your vision may be taking a toll as a result.

 

“Working from home has given us more hours to look at computer screens,” vision rehabilitation specialist Tanya Polec, OD, told Fortune. “The more stress we put on our visual system, the more likely we are to do permanent damage.”

 

The good news is you can take some action to save your vision. We’ll look at ways to reduce eye strain so you can feel some relief. 

What are the symptoms of eye strain?

If you want to know how to reduce eye strain, then it’s important to know its symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, here are the things to look for when trying to diagnose this annoying ocular condition:

  • Irritated, weary, or itching eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Headache or migraine
  • Sore neck, shoulders or back
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Inability to focus
  • Feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open

How is eye strain caused?

Your eyes can become exhausted and strained when they don’t receive the proper amount of rest. One way to reduce eye strain is to give eyes a break after driving, reading a book or being out in the sun for too long. And if you have any underlying conditions such as dry eye or anxiety and stress, that can exacerbate symptoms.

But the reason for the steady increase in eye strain symptoms has been because of the increased use of computers, tablets, and phones. It’s become so widespread that the American Optometric Association calls this computer vision syndrome or digital eyestrain. If you are someone who looks at a computer screen for two or more hours in a row every day, you’re at the highest risk of developing this condition.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the reasons why electronics strain the eyes more than print materials include:

  • when staring at a computer, users blink less, which dries out the eyes
  • digital screens are placed at unusual distances or angles
  • glare or reflection from devices hurt the eyes
  • devices can have poor contrast between the text and background

How you can reduce eye strain

While it’s not a major health concern, eye strain can be an annoying condition to contend with. The good news is there are simple actions that you can take to strengthen your vision and reduce eye strain, such as:

  • change the amount of light in your room
  • take frequent breaks and blink often
  • try the 20-20-20 rule: focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes
  • adjust your computer monitor, its screen settings, and chair to see easier
  • limit your screen time

These health habits, in addition to daily supplementation, can protect your vision from eye strain. Science proves that taking a high-quality eye supplement like MacuHealth improves visual performance and can reduce eye strain symptoms.

Clinical Studies

eye test for macular degeneration
You may receive an eye test for macular degeneration at your next exam.

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

No one likes to get their eyes dilated when seeing their eye care professional. But according to WebMD, if you’re over 45 years of age, this is the best way for your doctor to check for early signs of eye diseases

And if you experience changes in your vision, it might be time to get an eye test for macular degeneration. This progressive eye disease can lead to distortions in sight and central vision loss. Some symptoms include:

  • A blurry or blind spot in the center of your vision
  • Difficulty adjusting your eyesight in low-lit areas or distinguishing objects from their background
  • Struggling to read a book or magazine or having difficulty recognizing faces

If it’s time to check your eyes, here’s some of the tests you may take to detect age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

What’s an Amsler grid?

Before going to see your doctor, there is an eye test for macular degeneration you can take at home. It’s known as the Amsler grid. Not only can it detect the signs of AMD, but it can also help you track any vision changes caused by the disease.

When you see the Amsler grid, you’ll notice it’s a piece of graph paper with a small dot in the center. To begin the test, start by holding the test far enough so that most of the lines are in view – typically the same distance from where you would read a book. Then close one eye because if you test with both eyes open, you won’t notice any abnormalities. Otherwise, one eye will compensate for the other.

If the lines appear curved or blocked out, it could be a sign your eye has developed the advanced form of macular degeneration known as wet AMD. The cause of the wavy lines is the fluid accumulating in or underneath the retina. This fluid meddles with retinal function enough to cause a spot in the center of your visual field.

amsler grid eye test for macular degeneration
The Amsler grid is an eye test for macular degeneration you can take at home.

What Tests Will I Receive?

The best way to manage AMD symptoms is to catch the disease as early as possible so that any treatments will be effective. Here is a list of eye tests for macular degeneration that you may receive from your doctor:

  • Ophthalmoscopy

 This test is also known as a funduscopy or retinal examination. Your doctor will dilate your eyes to allow them to look at your retina, optic disc and blood vessels using an ophthalmoscope. This instrument features a light and several small lenses to find any optic nerve damage, glaucoma and any drusen deposits, an early indicator of AMD.

  • Fluorescein angiography

This test checks to see if blood is flowing properly into the retina and choroid, the two layers in the back of the eye. Your doctor will begin by dilating your pupils and capturing images of the inside of your eye. Then they’ll inject a dye called fluorescein and take more pictures as the colored liquid moves through the blood vessels in the back of your eye.

  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT scan)

As you stare at a blinking light or target, the machine measures the thickness of your retina and optic nerve. This is done by using the amount of red light reflecting from these parts of the eye. Your doctor may or may not dilate your pupil for this exam. Not only is this eye test for macular degeneration, but it also detects glaucoma and retinopathy.

What Happens After My Eye Test for Macular Degeneration?

If your doctor detects any signs of AMD, they may recommend a change in diet that includes green vegetables, such as kale and spinach. They’re rich in antioxidants known as carotenoids. These nutrients replenish macular pigment levels, absorb dangerous blue light and block free radicals. Blue light exposure and free radicals are both known to contribute to AMD, so reducing the impact of these factors may slow or even stop disease progression.

Supplementation also offers a convenient and safe way to boost eye health. Studies show that supplements containing all three macular carotenoids boost macular pigment significantly. Consistent, daily use of high-quality supplements like MacuHealth is an excellent way to ensure that the body receives the proper nutrients needed to support visual health and performance.

Clinical Studies

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

best eye vitamins for blurry vision
What should the best eye vitamins for blurry vision have?

Humans are living longer. Medical science continues to make advancements to repair our joints, skin and other vital organs. But our eyes – which give us vision, our most treasured sense – continue to deteriorate as we age. This causes unclear vision and dark spots across our line of sight. As a result, some doctors may recommend risky invasive surgeries or injections. But this solution could make symptoms worse, not better.

There are also many eye care professionals who offer supplements to help patients manage their eye disease symptoms, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). But how can you tell which supplements will deliver a real solution? We’ll explore what causes our eyesight to deteriorate and what you should look for when searching for the best eye vitamins for blurry vision related to AMD and visual health.

How Can Supplements Help Vision?

There’s a good chance that if you’ve been researching the best eye vitamins for blurry vision related to AMD, you’ve heard of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and its follow-up AREDS2. The National Eye Institute (NEI) conducted both of these studies. Researchers worked with thousands of participants to see if nutritional supplements could slow down or prevent AMD and cataracts. These are two diseases that can alter vision. These supplements feature antioxidants known as carotenoids, nutrients that make the macular pigment. 

The study included the following results:

  • Taking AREDS reduces the risk of progression from intermediate to advanced AMD by about 25 percent, with an additional 10 percent risk reduction with the addition of the carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin (AREDS2).
  • Also, current and former smokers should take the AREDS2 formula and avoid the AREDS formula with beta-carotene, as it increases lung cancer risk.

Additionally, Lutein and Zeaxanthin, the two primary carotenoids in AREDS2 formulas, had “an incremental increase in benefit,” according to the NEI. Further Level 1 studies conducted show that by including Meso-Zeaxanthin, the third carotenoid that makes up the macular pigment, AMD symptoms can be managed or prevented.

What Should You Look For?

After the release of the AREDS and AREDS2 study results, countless supplements promising to reduce the risk of AMD flooded the market. But what should you look for when researching the best eye vitamins for blurry vision related to AMD? Here are four items to check for to help you decide.

All-Natural Ingredients

If the eyes are sensitive organs, then they can become irritated and damaged when exposed to synthetic ingredients. Be sure to protect them by checking the supplement’s label to ensure that what’s inside the bottle is all-natural.

Bioavailability

Bioavailability is the amount of active ingredients absorbed into the body’s circulation. Basically, it works like this: The higher the absorption rate, then the more nutrients go to where you need them. However, most vitamins degrade over time because they become exposed to light, oxygen and moisture. Additionally, researchers have proved that not all eye supplements offer the amount of ingredients they say.

“We confirm that a number of commercially available carotenoid food supplements do not achieve their label claim,” explained Dr. David Phelan, Professor John Nolan and Dr. Alfonso Prado-Cabrero in their study on supplements in the journal Nutrients.1

In order to check the bioavailability, take a look at the label. See if the supplement is in tablet or capsule form. Studies show that the best vitamins are oil-based capsules. Generally, capsules are more stable and less likely to degrade than tablets.

Meso-Zeaxanthin

Meso-Zeaxanthin is the most powerful carotenoid. Studies show2 that when it’s combined with Lutein and Zeaxanthin, these three nutrients become even more effective than when they’re on their own. Specifically, these ingredients are vital in rebuilding the macular pigment, filtering out harmful blue light, fighting inflammation and reducing oxidative stress in the eyes and brain. To clarify, Meso-Zeaxanthin is an essential ingredient in the best eye vitamins for blurry vision and visual health related to AMD symptoms.

Peer-reviewed

The supplement industry is unregulated. This allows companies to make false claims about their products and put inactive ingredients into their formulations. For consumers, the most effective way to verify a company’s claims is to see if the supplement has been through the peer-review process. You can trust a study’s results if it’s been published in a peer-reviewed journal. This form of quality control weeds out poorly researched work. It also gives eye care professionals and patients the confidence to trust a supplement’s claims.

What Are the Best Eye Vitamins for Blurry Vision Symptoms?

Of the best eye vitamins for vision on the market, MacuHealth was the first eye supplement to feature Meso-Zeaxanthin as an ingredient. Many companies now include this vital nutrient in their products. But over 40 peer-reviewed studies back up what MacuHealth’s all-natural Triple Carotenoid Formula can do to improve someone’s sight.

In terms of bioavailability, a study published in 2020,3 the current formulation of MacuHealth yielded a significantly higher response in the blood and retina when compared to standard macular carotenoid formulations. Additionally, another study showed that of the 46 supplements tested, 64% of them didn’t contain the amount of carotenoids promised on their label.1

To sum up, if you want to improve your visual health and performance, MacuHealth has everything you’re looking for.

References

  1.  Phelan, D., Prado-Cabrero, A., & Nolan, J. M. (2017). Stability of Commercially Available Macular Carotenoid Supplements in Oil and Powder Formulations. Nutrients9(10), 1133. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9101133

  2. Akuffo, K. O., Beatty, S., Stack, J., Dennison, J., O’Regan, S., Meagher, K. A., Peto, T., & Nolan, J. (2014). Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST): design and methodology of the CREST randomized controlled trials. Ophthalmic epidemiology, 21(2), 111–123. https://doi.org/10.3109/09286586.2014.888085

  3. Green-Gomez M, Prado-Cabrero A, Moran R, et al. The Impact of Formulation on Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and meso-Zeaxanthin Bioavailability: A Randomised Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020;9(8):767. Published 2020 Aug 18. doi:10.3390/antiox9080767. 2. 

Clinical Studies

does blue light damage eyes

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

Blue light is inescapable. We’re exposed to its short, high-energy wavelengths when we check our phones in the morning, and it strains our eyes as we stare at our computer monitors and tablets at work. Blue light is in the sunlight and fills our home when we turn on the lights and television sets. But does blue light damage eyes? We’ll share some reasons to cut down your exposure, along with proven ways you can protect your eyes.

Headaches, Eye Strain and Sleepless Nights

Blue light isn’t entirely unhealthy. Studies show it’s vital for some body functions. It releases serotonin, a ho­­rmone that can boost your mood and improve memory and reaction time. It also keeps us alert during the day and enhances our color vision.

But exposure to blue light at certain times of the day can be harmful. A Harvard study showed that blue light exposure before bedtime slows down the release of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our body’s circadian rhythm (or sleeping pattern). This disruption leaves us feeling more tired throughout the day, putting us at risk for depression, diabetes and heart issues.

But does blue light damage eyes? Prolonged exposure can cause eye strain and damage the macula, the part of your retina that processes your central vision. It accelerates the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and lowers your ability to see objects at night. It also leads to dry, irritated eyes and headaches.

Blue light protection is even more important after cataract surgery. The eye’s lens blocks some blue light on its own. Patients lose that natural filter that the cataract provides when it’s removed, which increases their risk for AMD.

Does Blue Light Damage Eyes in Children?

Increased screen time can be harmful to children’s developing vision. In addition to the effects of blue light on their sleeping pattern, studies have shown that nearsightedness (also known as myopia) is increasingly prevalent among kids, with tablets and video game consoles suggested as the culprit.

What Are Some Ways We Can Combat Blue Light?

20-20-20 Rule

As shown above, the answer to the question, “Does blue light damage eyes?” is “Yes.” And as the public becomes better educated on the dangers of blue light, device manufacturers have added a dark mode and other settings to products to reduce glare and block blue light by 30 to 60 percent. You can also rest your eyes by taking a 20-second break from your screen every 20 minutes, then focusing on an object 20 feet away.

Blue Light Glasses

Blue-blocking glasses have become popular over the last few years. They’re proven to stop blue light, but researchers don’t recommend them as they’ve been ineffective at reducing eye strain. You can try using artificial tears and humidifiers to keep your eyes moist and decrease headaches.

How Supplements Help with Blue Light

We’ve answered the question: Does blue light damage eyes? But is there any thing we can do to absorb it? In one clinical study, those who spent more than six hours in front of a screen and took a macular carotenoid supplement with Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin showed a significant reduction in headaches, eye strain and fatigue. There was also an increased improvement in sleep quality and macular pigment levels.1

However, several nutrition-based studies have demonstrated that we tend to fall short in our intake of fruits and vegetables, particularly the three antioxidant carotenoids that protect the central retina against blue light – Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Meso-Zeaxanthin. Over time, without these nutrients, we run the risk of degeneration in our central retina. Consistent consumption of these carotenoids is necessary to maintain the health of the macula, especially as we age.

Although the body can absorb these carotenoids from spinach, carrots and other foods, the average person only consumes one to two milligrams of them daily in their diet.2 Additionally, new farming methods and environmental conditions have caused a decline in the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables, which means that we get about 1/20th of the recommended amount of these vital nutrients.

Supplementation with these three carotenoids is a viable way to ensure high levels in the retina. Quality supplements like MacuHealth are an excellent way to ensure that the body receives the proper amount of the essential carotenoids it needs to support visual health and performance. Studies show that supplements containing Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin increase the macular pigment significantly, improve visual performance and absorb blue light.

References

  1. Stringham, J. M., Stringham, N. T., & O’Brien, K. J. (2017). Macular Carotenoid Supplementation Improves Visual Performance, Sleep Quality, and Adverse Physical Symptoms in Those with High Screen Time Exposure. Foods (Basel, Switzerland)6(7), 47. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods6070047
  2. Johnson, E. J., Maras, J. E., Rasmussen, H. M., & Tucker, K. L. (2010). Intake of lutein and zeaxanthin differ with age, sex, and ethnicity. Journal of the American Dietetic Association110(9), 1357–1362. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2010.06.009

Clinical Studies

Spinach is rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin.

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

Many AREDS2-based eye supplements list the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin as active ingredients. These are two of the three antioxidants known as carotenoids found in the macular pigment – the part of the eye that facilitates central vision.

But researchers have determined that Meso-Zeaxanthin is the most potent carotenoid in the macular pigment. Despite its importance to eye health, our bodies don’t receive enough of this vital ingredient, and it’s not typically found in eye supplements, putting us at risk for diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

To clarify, Professor Riona Mulcahy said in an interview on Sky News, “The difficulty is that to get the amount of these nutrients that you need per day to achieve [optimal] results isn’t possible from your normal everyday diet.”

But what makes this ingredient so important, and how can we increase our intake? We’ll explain the benefits of this carotenoid and how it benefits eye health.

What Is Meso-Zeaxanthin, and How Does the Body Get It?

Meso-Zeaxanthin, like Lutein and Zeaxanthin, is a carotenoid – a plant-based antioxidant known for its effectiveness in promoting healthy tissue function and preventing disease. But the average person consumes only one to two milligrams of these macular carotenoids daily in their diet. This is because modern farming conditions have caused a decline in the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. 2 Yet, there are three ways that the body can receive this carotenoid:

  • Found in leafy green vegetables, the body can convert the antioxidant Lutein into Meso-Zeaxanthin. But there’s a catch: Some people cannot convert Lutein into Meso-Zeaxanthin. This condition, present in roughly 20 percent of patients, is particularly prevalent in those with AMD.
  • Meso-Zeaxanthin can also be found in the skin of some fish, such as salmon. But you would have to eat over 200,000 trout to reach the amount needed to start rebuilding the macular pigment.
  • Additionally, high quality eye supplements use marigold flower petals to provide a natural extract rich in the carotenoids Meso-Zeaxanthin, Lutein and Zeaxanthin.

What Does Meso-Zeaxanthin Do When Combined With Lutein and Zeaxanthin?

Of the three macular carotenoids in the eye, Meso-Zeaxanthin is the most powerful. It exists at the center of the macula, and studies show that when Meso-Zeaxanthin combines with Lutein and Zeaxanthin, they become even more effective than they are on their own. When they work together, these critical ingredients are useful in rebuilding the macular pigment, screening out harmful blue light, fighting inflammation and reducing oxidative stress in the eyes and brain.

The CREST Study

Many eye supplements don’t have Meso-Zeaxanthin as an ingredient, using the rationale that the body creates this carotenoid by converting it from Lutein. Others say there aren’t enough scientific studies on Meso-Zeaxanthin to draw a firm conclusion about its significance. However, over 25 placebo-controlled trials involving supplements with Meso-Zeaxanthin prove its effectiveness.

But what about patients who cannot convert Lutein into Meso-Zeaxanthin?  Without a supplement that contains Meso-Zeaxanthin, improvement of visual performance and reduction of risk for developing age-related macular degeneration may be severely compromised.  Therefore, to realize the benefits of using all three carotenoids, the inclusion of Meso-Zeaxanthin is essential. 

For that reason, two clinical trials published in 2016 and 2017 show the significant benefits of supplementing with all three macular carotenoids – Meso-Zeaxanthin, Lutein and Zeaxanthin. In the first trial, known as CREST3 (Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials), the evidence showed that those taking supplements with all three carotenoids improved their visual function – including contrast sensitivity, vision in glare, and reading speed.

 

Then in the second major two-year clinical trial with those diagnosed with the early stages of AMD, CREST AMD4, the results showed that those taking supplements with all three carotenoids improved their visual function – including contrast sensitivity, vision in glare, and reading speed.

 

Conclusion

Despite the clinical studies that prove Meso-Zeaxanthin’s importance to our vision, getting this carotenoid into our diet is challenging. Thankfully, supplementation offers a safe and proven way to do it. As a result of high-level studies, the evidence shows that consistent, daily use of high-quality supplements like MacuHealth is a great way to ensure that the body receives the proper amount of Meso-Zeaxanthin, Lutein and Zeaxanthin to support visual health and performance.

References

  1. [1] Akuffo, K. O., Beatty, S., Stack, J., Dennison, J., O’Regan, S., Meagher, K. A., Peto, T., & Nolan, J. (2014). Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST): design and methodology of the CREST randomized controlled trials. Ophthalmic epidemiology, 21(2), 111–123. https://doi.org/10.3109/09286586.2014.888085

  2.  Kwadwo Akuffo, Jessica Dennison, Sarah O’Regan, Stephen Beatty, John Nolan, Macular Pigment Research Group; Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST): Design and Methodology. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):3773.

  3.  Li, B., Ahmed, F., & Bernstein, P. S. (2010). Studies on the singlet oxygen scavenging mechanism of human macular pigment. Archives of biochemistry and biophysics504(1), 56–60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.abb.2010.07.024

  4. Akuffo KO, Beatty S, Peto T, Stack J, Stringham J, Kelly D, Leung I, Corcoran L, Nolan JM. The Impact of Supplemental Antioxidants on Visual Function in Nonadvanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Head-to-Head Randomized Clinical Trial. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017 Oct 1;58(12):5347-5360.

Clinical Studies

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

A supplement label may promise to include a defined portion of active ingredients, but research shows that the truth could be vastly different. Cheap formulations and storage techniques can degrade nutrients, causing them to lose their bioavailability to light and oxidation, meaning you aren’t getting everything promised on the bottle.

“At present, clinicians and consumers are not adequately informed via product labeling,” stated Dr. David Phelan, Professor John Nolan and Dr. Alfonso Prado-Cabrero in their study on supplements in the journal Nutrients.1 “However, it is also important to point out that there are quality and effective carotenoid products on the market, which have scientific evidence to back up their claims of label and efficacy.”

MacuHealth enhances the stability of its Triple Carotenoid Formula with something called Micro-MicelleTM Technology. It allows the body to absorb nutrients inside the supplement at a significantly higher rate. In a recent clinical study, MacuHealth’s formula provided the highest bioavailability with significantly higher serum and retinal response when compared to a standard macular carotenoid supplement.2

But how does Micro-Micelle Technology work? We’ll explain the process and what it means to MacuHealth users.

Why Micro-Micelle Technology Matters?

As stated above, studies have shown that the active ingredients in most carotenoid supplements that come in the form of a powder or tablet corrode, causing their potency to diminish or disappear altogether.  This means your eyes won’t receive the necessary nutrients to boost your vision, absorb harmful blue light, or manage the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration.

MacuHealth, an oil-based supplement, is formulated to stabilize the powerful carotenoids – Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin – in its formula better than other supplements. But these nutrients, which appear in the supplement in their pure, natural form, tended to crystalize in the supplement’s previous version, making the carotenoids difficult for the body to absorb. Researchers started looking for a way to prevent these carotenoids from bonding together so more of them could reach the macula to enhance a patient’s vision.

How Does Micro-Micelle Technology Work?

Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin make their way to the macula through a protein in the body called SR-B1. Because these carotenoids were clumping together, SR-B1 wasn’t taking as many of them as it could to the eye. A system needed to be created to keep ingredients stable and from crystallizing.

The answer came in the form of natural, organic acids (acetate). When you add acetate to each end of the carotenoid molecule, they maintain their solubility,3 greatly enhancing bioavailability. Placing these non-crystallized carotenoids in a stabilizing matrix, such as Vitamin E and sunflower oil, prevents oxidation. 

The acetates prevented the carotenoids from crystalizing and provided a more efficient way for the SR-B1 protein to transport them to the macular tissues that need them. The utilization of Micro-Micelle Technology marks an improvement over previous iterations of MacuHealth by increasing the bioavailability of the supplement’s formula without any negative side effects. 4

What Does This Mean for MacuHealth Users?

Micro-Micelle Technology ensures that the nutrients inside MacuHealth retain their all-natural form, and that your eyes and brain receive the carotenoids needed to manage AMD symptoms and improve nearly all aspects of visual performance. In short, you’re getting everything you paid for and the benefits that come with it. “This formulation represents a new standard in nutritional vision science and eye care,” says Professor Nolan.

 

For more information about Micro-Micelle Technology and MacuHealth’s Triple Carotenoid Formula, please visit this page.

References

  1. Phelan D, Prado-Cabrero A, Nolan JM. Stability of Commercially Available Macular Carotenoid Supplements in Oil and Powder Formulations. Nutrients. 2017;9(10): 1133.­­
  2. Green Gomez et al 2020. Doi:10.3390/antiox9080767
  3. Torres-Cardona, MD, Torres-Quiroga, JO. Short-Chain Diesters and Process for Making the Same. U.S. Patent 5959138A, 28 September 1999.
  4. Green-Gomez M, Prado-Cabrero A, Moran R, Power T, Gómez-Mascaraque LG, Stack J, Nolan JM. The Impact of Formulation on Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and meso-Zeaxanthin Bioavailability: A Randomised Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 Aug 18;9(8):767. doi: 10.3390/antiox9080767. PMID: 32824736.

Clinical Studies

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

The lights seem a little brighter than usual. You squint for minutes until your focus readjusts, but you can’t shake this feeling that there’s something in your eyes. They feel gritty and rough as you constantly rub them. They feel itchy around your sockets, and your eyeballs are so sore and inflamed that your vision becomes blurred.

The above paragraph describes what it’s like living with dry eye. This frustrating, and many times chronic condition, affects nearly 16 million Americans, particularly older adults. The ocular irritation may be relieved with a bottle of eye drops, but the ingredients in some of these products actually exacerbate symptoms. What are some ways you can combat dry eye? We’ll share what causes it, who’s at risk, and some methods to treat it.

Causes of Dry Eye

Dealing with the symptoms of dry eye is enough to make you cry. But according to the American Optometric Association, the condition is caused by a lack of tears. Moisture spreads across the surface of the eye, lubricating and protecting them from foreign objects and infection. As we get older, tear production and drainage through the tear ducts become imbalanced. The glands in and around the eyelids produce fewer tears, or in some cases, make lower-quality droplets that evaporate quickly, causing them to spread unevenly around the eye.

Tear production can decrease for several reasons. In addition to aging, hormonal changes caused by pregnancy and menopause cause more women to experience dry eye. Other medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and issues with the thyroid cause inflammation to develop. And certain medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications and antidepressants can also lead to fewer tears.

Environmental conditions have also caused symptoms to rise in younger people. Smoking and dry climates can intensify dry eye, as can an increase in screen time. When looking at electronic devices for an extended amount of time, our eyes blink less, which leads to a decrease in tear production.

Treatments for Dry Eye

Here are some simple ways to prevent dry eye symptoms:

  • Regularly blink your eyes when staring at electronic devices for an extended amount of time
  • Take a 20-second break from whatever you’re working on every 20 minutes and focus your eyes on an object 20 feet away
  • Keep blowing fans and heaters away from your face
  • Wear sunglasses outdoors to reduce exposure to wind and other weather conditions
  • Drink the recommended 8 to 10 glasses of water daily to keep your body and tear ducts hydrated
  • Use artificial tears and humidifiers to keep eyes moist

How Supplementing with Omega-3s Helps Dry Eye

Inflammation is at the root of dry eye, and unfortunately, there is no cure. But there are a variety of treatments that can manage symptoms. Most people turn to over-the-counter eye drops, but using them can make things worse. Some prescriptions control some of the underlying causes of dry eye, and there are also invasive procedures to help increase tear production or close the ducts to reduce tear loss.

Another way to soothe inflammation is by supplementing with Omega-3s. In addition to improving brain and heart health, an American Academy of Ophthalmology study shows consuming fish oil through seafood or supplements reduces dry eye symptoms. It also significantly lowers the risk of developing other retinal diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Yet many people are hesitant to go on a fish oil regimen because of the low-quality ingredients that cause odd-smelling “fishy burps.” The formula for the supplement TG Omega-3 by MacuHealth uses oils from small, traceable open-water fish refined to the highest purity and quality. This ensures optimum health, without the undesirable fish burps. 

Carotenoids reduce the risk of disease progression by providing antioxidative properties to the eye, brain and body.

Clinical Studies

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

You may not know carotenoids, but chances are you’ve heard of antioxidants, the robust components of healthy foods that take on dangerous molecules known as free radicals which damage cells inside the body. There are over 700 carotenoids found in nature. Most fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids, and some leafy greens feature unique carotenoids that fight an intense battle against free radicals inside the retina.

“The retina, especially the macula, is thought to be an environment of high oxidative stress, meaning that there is an abundance of free radicals—molecules that damage proteins and DNA within cells. Antioxidants fight free radicals and are thought to help protect the retina from this damage,” explains Dr. Ivana Kim, at Harvard Medical School.

If left unchecked, the damage from oxidative stress can lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in those over 60. Interestingly, three specific carotenoids deposited in the retina are clinically proven to prevent and manage the symptoms of AMD. We’ll take a look at how these three carotenoids guard the eyes and can improve eyesight and cognitive health.

Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin

As Dr. Kim stated above, the retina needs a massive amount of oxygen to fuel the process of transforming light into images. Near the retina’s center is the macula, which serves central vision and contains the largest concentration of photoreceptors in the eye. It’s responsible for bringing detail and color to our sight. Because the macula demands so much oxygen to perform, oxidative stress and inflammation can severely impact eye and brain performance, causing a decrease in processing speed, contrast sensitivity, and adjusting to low-light situations.

The body is aware of this, so it places three powerful carotenoids – Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin – in the macula, where collectively they are called “macular pigment.” Their robust antioxidant properties make them capable of protecting the macula against free radicals. Because the macular pigment is colored yellow, it absorbs potentially harmful blue light. All of this leads to improved visual performance, including sharper colors, better contrast sensitivity and enhanced night vision. Studies show these carotenoids can also potentially delay (or even halt) the progression of AMD.

Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin are essential nutrients for the eye and brain, but our bodies can’t make them on their own. The average person consumes only one to two milligrams of macular carotenoids daily in their diet, in part because modern farming conditions have caused the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables to decline.1 Numerous studies show that taking supplements with all three macular carotenoids provides far superior results than taking Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Evidence also points to these nutrients reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and slowing its progression.

Carotenoids Aren’t Just for Eyes

Studies show that carotenoids accumulate in the parts of the brain that interact with the retina, which can offer improved cognitive function. They combat oxidative stress that has built up over time, which is the root cause of Alzheimer’s Disease and could be beneficial in managing the condition.

In one study3, the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland and the University Hospital Waterford divided Alzheimer’s patients into two groups. One took a carotenoid formula of 10mg of Lutein, 10mg of Meso-Zeaxanthin and 2mg of Zeaxanthin. The second group received both fish oil consisting of 450 mg of DHA and the carotenoid formulation. A third (control) group of patients without Alzheimer’s Disease took only the carotenoid formula.

After a year and a half of supplementation, those who took the carotenoid formulation and the fish oil experienced improved cognitive function based on a series of independently performed tests, including functional benefits in memory, sight and mood.

Professor John Nolan , Ph.D., who led the study, explains: “Our previous work confirmed that Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin are found in the eye and that enrichment of these essential nutrients with nutritional supplements can improve visual function. However, their high concentration in the healthy human brain also suggests a role for these nutrients in cognition.”

Based on overwhelming scientific evidence, it’s clear that we need sufficient amounts of Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin, and Zeaxanthin for optimal visual and cognitive health and performance. Thankfully, supplementation can help us reach the levels we need to realize all the benefits.  

References

  1. Johnson, E. J., Maras, J. E., Rasmussen, H. M., & Tucker, K. L. (2010). Intake of lutein and zeaxanthin differ with age, sex, and ethnicity. Journal of the American Dietetic Association110(9), 1357–1362. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2010.06.009
  2. Li, B., Ahmed, F., & Bernstein, P. S. (2010). Studies on the singlet oxygen scavenging mechanism of human macular pigment. Archives of biochemistry and biophysics504(1), 56–60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.abb.2010.07.024
  3. Nolan, J. M., Mulcahy, R., Power, R., Moran, R., & Howard, A. N. (2018). Nutritional Intervention to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease: Potential Benefits of Xanthophyll Carotenoids and Omega-3 Fatty Acids Combined. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease : JAD64(2), 367–378. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-180160