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The Science

MacuPrime is made from simple ingredients found in nature, called carotenoids.

An expert team of scientists, led by Prof John Nolan, at Waterford Institute of Technology have discovered that three plant pigments found in fruit and vegetables known as carotenoids, protect the eye’s macula.

The MacuPrime formulation was tested in all of their clinical trials on patients with both healthy eyes and those suffering with Age-related Macular Degeneration. It was found to restore macular pigment to normal levels, resulting in enhanced vision and aid in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration.

Read on to learn about carotenoids, the importance of the macular pigment in protecting your eyesight and the peer-reviewed clinical trials that have proven the efficacy of the MacuPrime formulation.

Carotenoids in Vegetables

What is a carotenoid?

A carotenoid is a plant pigment found in rainbow fruits and green leafy vegetables that are also present in your retina at the back of your eye.

These pigments are responsible for the bright red, yellow and orange colours in many fruits and vegetables. They are found in high concentrations in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli and are recognised as having strong anti-oxidant properties.

Our bodies can’t produce carotenoids so the only way to get them is through the foods we eat and from carotenoid supplements.

While there are more than 700 types of carotenoids present in nature, only three – Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin – have been discovered in the macula at the back of the eye.

What is the Macula?

The macula is a small, light-sensitive spot in the centre of the retina. It is responsible for almost 90% of our vision. The macula gives us all of our sharp detailed and coloured central vision that we rely on for activities such as driving, reading, writing and recognising faces. 

What is the Macular Pigment?

The macular pigment gives the macula it’s yellow colour and is where the three carotenoids (Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin) build up, protecting your eyes from harmful blue light.

Blue light comes through the front of your eye and lands at the back of the macula, creating oxidative stress that can break down your macula. 

As we age, the macula is more vulnerable to oxidative stress and is therefore more easily damaged – similar to the way our skin wrinkles as it ages. That is why the macular pigment is so important. This yellow pigment, made of Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin, can protect the macula against oxidative damage. In other words, the macular pigment acts like a powerful natural sunblock, filtering light inside the eyes and protecting your retina from damage.

As we get older the macular pigment can also wear down and become thinner, reducing the protection our macula and retina have from oxidative stress. This damage can lead to a condition known as Age-related Macular Degeneration.

Increasing your intake of carotenoids will help to increase the density of your macular pigment and give the best natural protection possible against age related conditions, such as macular degeneration.

What is the Macular Pigment
Macula without Macular pigment
Macula without Macular pigment
Macula with Macular pigment
Macula with Macular pigment
Hover over image to see how AMD can affect sight
Click image to see how AMD can affect sight

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

Age-related Macular Degeneration is an eye disease that can affect your eyes as you get older. It is the leading cause of central vision loss in Irish adults over 50, with over 7,000 new cases diagnosed each year. 10% of the population at age 70 has some form of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

AMD develops when the macula breaks down resulting in the gradual loss of sight, causing blurring or loss of central vision. However, having enough of the yellow protective macular pigment can stop this from occurring.

There are two types of Age-related Macular Degeneration; dry and wet. In the dry type, the cells at your macula slowly stop working correctly and in the wet type, the cells stop working and the eye tries to fix this problem by growing new blood vessels. However, these new vessels are weak and grow incorrectly, causing leakage, damage and scarring at the macula, affecting vision.

Age-related Macular Degeneration cannot be cured but early detection and management with a healthy lifestyle, good nutrition and targeted supplementation can potentially stop it getting any worse.

What are the symptoms of AMD?
  • Straight lines may appear wavy (lamp posts, lines on the road or even sentences on a page can appear distorted)
  • A blurry or distorted spot in the centre of your vision – people’s faces may seem blurry
  • Difficulty reading or seeing details in low light conditions
  • Extra sensitivity to glare
  • Difficulty driving at night
  • Decreased intensity or brightness of colours
What are the risk factors?

Out of our Control

  • Age – Over the age of 50
  • Family History and Genetics – A family history of AMD increases your risk of developing the condition
Within our Control
  • Lifestyle –  smoking habits and exercise
  • Nutrition – healthy diet and targeted nutrition with supplements
  • Protection of eyes from light
So what can you do?
  • Get an annual eye exam for early detection
  • Eat a healthy diet of green leafy vegetables and rainbow fruit
  • Boost your diet with a triple carotenoid supplement
  • Monitor your eyesight regularly with an Amsler Grid Test
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Stop smoking

The Scientific Evidence

Prof John Nolan and his team at Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI) have conducted numerous clinical trials testing the effects of supplementation with Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin [MacuPrime] on both healthy eyes and those suffering with early Age-related Macular Degeneration.

Prof Nolan has identified Contrast Sensitivity (our ability to tell the foreground from a background) as being the best measure of a person’s visual sharpness and is the primary outcome measure of many of his clinical studies. 

The studies with the most compelling findings are:

1

Central Dip Study – Macular carotenoid supplementation in subjects with atypical spatial profiles of macular pigment (Nolan et al, Experimental Eye Research, 2012)

Conclusion:
This eight-week study on patients deficient of macular pigment, found that supplementation with all three carotenoids in MacuPrime’s formulation not only increased Macular Pigment centrally, removing the central dip, but also increased macular pigment optical density (MPOD) across the entire macula.
Other formulations lacking Meso-Zeaxanthin were not effective at increasing levels of macular protective pigment in the very centre of the macula, where Meso-Zeaxanthin tends to accumulate. 

2

Meso-Zeaxanthin Ocular Supplementation Trial (Afukko et al, Eye, May 2015)

Conclusion:
AMD patients saw significant improvements in vision (contrast sensitivity) and no significant progression of their disease over 3 years.

3

Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trial – CREST Study 1 AMD (Nolan, et al IOVS, 2016)

Conclusion:
Supplementation with MacuPrime Plus formulation in patients with non-advanced AMD over 2 years, resulted not only in increased levels of Macular Pigment, but also improvement in 75% of visual performance measures, including contrast sensitivity, glare disability, photostress recovery, and retinal straylight.

4

Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trial – CREST Study 2 Healthy (Nolan et al, IOVS, 2016)

Conclusion:
After 1-year of supplementing with MacuPrime formulation, healthy patients with baseline visual acuity of 20/20 and low levels of Macular Pigment Optical Density, demonstrated statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in contrast sensitivity.

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