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The effect of lutein intake on macular pigment density

1 May 2000


Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a sight-threatening retinal disease found predominately in men and women over 65 years of age. AMD is thought to result from oxidative damage to the retina triggered by UV and blue light. Recent studies have suggested the onset and progression of AMD may be delayed by diet supplementation with antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin which are found in the macular area as the macular pigments. The density of the macular pigments can be quantified using heterochromic flicker photometry. In this study, 29 optometry students, between the ages of 22 and 30, were divided into groups. Group one, the control group, experienced no intervention, group two took 4 mg of lutein daily for 30 days and group three ingested 0.75 ounces of spinach daily for 30 days. The macular pigment density was assessed at baseline before any intervention, after 30 days of supplementation and again 30 days after discontinuing supplementation. Neither lutein nor spinach increased the macular pigment density in this study.


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