Plasma and macular responses to lutein supplement in subjects with and without age-related maculopathy: a pilot study.Exp Eye Res 2004; 79(1):21-7EE
There is a growing body of evidence which suggests that macular pigment (MP), which is entirely of dietary origin, protects against age-related maculopathy. We evaluated the effect of a daily 20 mg lutein ester (equivalent of 10 mg/day free lutein) supplement in patients with early age-related maculopathy (ARM), in terms of macular pigment optical density (MPOD) and plasma concentrations of lutein. MPOD was measured using a flicker photometric technique in seven ARM sufferers and six age-matched controls over a period of supplementation which lasted 18-20 weeks. Plasma lutein increased from a mean (SD) baseline concentration of 182 (127)ng ml(-1) to a peak of 1077 (165)ng ml(-1) in ARM patients, and from 152 (57) to 1110 (605)ng ml(-1) in control subjects. Mean MPOD had increased significantly from baseline of 0.24 to a peak of 0.31 in ARM sufferers. This mean increment of 0.07 was the same for the age-matched controls (baseline: 0.20; peak: 0.27). The augmentation of MP, and plasma concentrations of lutein, following supplementation in subjects with ARM provides the first evidence the disease is not associated with intestinal malabsorption of the relevant macular carotenoids, and that a diseased macula can accumulate and stabilise lutein and/or zeaxanthin. Furthermore, these results suggest that the beneficial effects of lutein supplementation, if any, may be extended to subjects with established ARM.