The science behind MacuPrime carotenoid supplements

MacuPrime® exists because we want you to make the most of your vision today and keep doing the things you love in the future. 

Our food supplement is made from simple ingredients found in nature, called carotenoids. 

Using scientific based nutrition we have developed a food supplement that helps our eyes function and perform as nature intended. An expert team of scientists, at Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland discovered that three plant pigments found in fruit and vegetables, known as carotenoids, naturally gather in the eye and protect the eye’s macula.

Taken once a day, MacuPrime® delivers these nutrients to the eye to rebuild the protective layer in front of the macula. The macula is responsible for our central high resolution, colour vision. The yellow protective layer that naturally gathers the carotenoids is called the macular pigment. When working at its best, the macular pigment filters blue light, and reduces oxidative stress caused by ageing, protecting the macula from daily damage. Long term it protects the eyes against Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and central vision loss.

Read on to learn about carotenoids, the importance of the macular pigment in protecting your eyesight, the innovative quality testing 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.

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.

Our bodies can’t produce carotenoids so the only way to get them is through the foods we eat and from carotenoid supplements. Sadly with the nutritional quality of food dropping world-wide, it is nearly impossible to get enough carotenoids from diet alone.

Did you know? You would need to eat 1.7 cups of kale, 11,904 whole trout and 1.8 cups of orange pepper every day, to get the recommended daily carotenoid dose  (10mg Lutein, 10mg Meso-Zeaxanthin and 2mg Zeaxanthin) that has been proven in clinical research studies to be effective in rebuilding macular pigment. 

Taking a daily MacuPrime® capsule gives you a simple and easy way to nourish your macular pigment with the ideal dose of triple carotenoids. 

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. 

Macular Pigment – what is it and why is it so important?

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.

Daily damage

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. 

Powerful natural sunblock

The macula is vulnerable to this oxidative stress and is therefore easily damaged. 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.

Risks increase as we age

As we get older the macular pigment can also wear down and become thinner – similar to the way our skin wrinkles as it ages. This reduces 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 daily 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 Protection

Macula with Macular Pigment Protection

AMD before

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. It may first develop in one or both eyes and then affect both eyes. Over time, your vision may worsen and affect your ability to do things, such as read, drive and recognise faces.

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?

What is Supplement Certified scientific testing?

Supplement Certified is an independent scientific certification programme ran by Waterford Institute of Technology for assessing supplement label claims. MacuPrime is proud to be the first supplement brand in Europe to have passed the rigorous testing programme and receive certification for both shelf-life stability and the meeting of all label claims.

When customers see the Supplement Certified logo, they can be assured that the MacuPrime formulation is scientifically proven to provide the exact amount of active ingredients promised on its label. It’s our guarantee to you that when you invest in MacuPrime you will get what you expect – the highest quality supplement for your eyes verified to deliver the active ingredients promised and one that will remain as active, stable and bioavailable as it was on day one.

Supplement Certified provides accurate, science-based analysis of products to ensure that the active ingredients listed on the label claim are present and remain stable throughout its shelf-life. In a test where 46 supplements were studied (products sold in Europe, Mexico, and the U.S.), 61% of them failed to contain the same amount of carotenoids as claimed on the labels.

The scientists and researchers at Supplement Certified hold over 20 years of academic credibility in the area of assessing nutrition for human function, having built up an exceptional skillset at WIT’s Nutrition Research Centre Ireland.

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. That’s why it is the primary outcome measure of many of his clinical studies. 

The studies with the most compelling findings are:


Central Dip Study – Macular carotenoid supplementation in subjects with atypical spatial profiles of macular pigment

(Nolan et al, Experimental Eye Research, 2012)
If a person has very little protective macular pigment, can we rebuild it using MacuPrime® supplements?
Conclusion: Yes macular pigment can be rebuilt with daily supplementation

MacuPrime® has all three carotenoids and the ‘Central Dip’ study showed that Meso-Zeaxanthin is critical in rebuilding macular pigment.

100% of patients taking MacuPrime® for 8 weeks not only rebuilt the dip at the centre of their macula but also increased macular pigment optical density (MPOD) across the entire spatial profile. The other formulations lacking Meso-Zeaxanthin were not as effective at increasing levels of macular protective pigment in the very center of the fovea, where Meso-Zeaxanthin gathers.


Meso-Zeaxanthin Ocular Supplementation Trial (MOST Trial)

(Afukko et al, Eye, May 2015)
Should we treat early signs of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) with carotenoid supplements instead of waiting until the disease is established?

When diagnosed with early AMD, a person’s biggest fear is losing their vision. MOST study scientists tested and compared the impact of different macular carotenoid formulations on macular pigment and visual function (contrast sensitivity) in patients showing early signs of AMD.

Conclusion: Yes the earlier the better

In this 3-year study, the early AMD patients taking MacuPrime® triple carotenoid formula saw improved macular pigment volume, significant improvements in vision (contrast sensitivity) and no progression of their disease.


Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trial – CREST Study 1 Healthy Eyes

(Nolan, et al IOVS, 2016)
Can a person with healthy eyes, free of disease benefit from taking a MacuPrime carotenoid supplement?

Research normally focusses on disease prevention or cure – this CREST Study 1 was unique in that it studied healthy eyes.  Many people with healthy eyes and 20/20 visual acuity still complain about lack of sharpness in their vision, difficulty driving at night or glare sensitivity.

Research has shown that these complaints can be linked to having a low macular pigment and poor contrast sensitivity.

Conclusion: Yes even someone with healthy eyes and 20/20 vision can benefit

After 1-year of supplementing with MacuPrime®, healthy patients with baseline visual acuity of 20/20 and low levels of macular pigment, demonstrated statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in contrast sensitivity and associated improvements in visual performance.


Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trial – CREST Study 2 AMD

(Nolan et al, IOVS, 2016)
Can carotenoid supplementation help people already diagnosed with Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

50% of people diagnosed with early AMD usually go on to develop advanced AMD and lose their vision. This 3 year research study investigated the impact of MacuPrime PLUS® supplementation on a patients visual function.

Conclusion: Yes AMD patients can benefit from supplementation

MacuPrime PLUS® was proven to help improve visual performance in AMD patients.

After 24 months of supplementing with MacuPrime PLUS®, patients with early stage AMD experienced improvements in their vision.