Functions of MZ
1. Protection against development and progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
The role of macular pigment for AMD has been studied for several decades, and is related to its ability to filter damaging visible (blue) light, and protect against oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress, which refers to free radical damage, destroys cells at the eye required for vision. Free radicals, which are unstable and destructive molecules, are produced at the eye from blue light and oxygen metabolism. As blue light is required for twilight vision and night vision, and because oxygen use is required for life, free radical damage is the result of normal living, and is therefore unavoidable.
The central location, antioxidant and light-filtering properties of MZ generated interest in the probability that this carotenoid is of particular importance in the defence against free radical damage. Indeed, a recent study from the US has shown that the anti-oxidant potential of macular pigment is enhanced when MZ is present. Clinical studies have shown that the visual benefits of carotenoid supplementation in patients with AMD is better amongst patients who are supplemented with a formulation containing MZ when compared t patients supplemented with a formulation that lacks this centrally dominant carotenoid.
2. Importance of macular pigment in normal subjects
-The role of macular pigment in healthy individuals
Optimal vision refers to good vision, good eyesight under night time, day time, twilight conditions, that is tolerant of glare.
-The role of macular pigment for optimal vision
Adequate levels of macular pigment, which is entirely of dietary origin, is essential for optimal vision, especially under conditions of glare.
-The role of MZ for optimal vision
Studies have shown that normal subjects (i.e. young people who have no eye disease whatsoever) experience improvements in vision when supplemented with a formulation containing L, Z, and MZ, in a way that is not demonstrable when supplemented with a formulation that lacks MZ. In particular, the appreciation of faintness, under night time and under day time conditions, and under conditions of glare, is enhanced when healthy subjects are supplemented with the formulation containing all three macular carotenoids (L,Z,MZ).
-Visual excellence depends on MZ
Persons engaged in a wide range of vision dependant activities, ranging from professional duties (driving, piloting an aeroplane, etc) to competitive sporting activities (playing golf, playing tennis, wind-surfing etc) need high levels of macular pigment if they are to enjoy and perform these activities to the best of their ability. Accordingly, a supplement containing L, Z and MZ is recommended for people engaged in such activities.