Macular pigment density changes in Japanese individuals supplemented with lutein or zeaxanthin: quantification via resonance Raman spectrophotometry and autofluorescence imaging

Jpn J Ophthalmol. 2012 Sep;56(5):488-96. doi: 10.1007/s10384-012-0157-0. Epub 2012 Jun 15.


Purpose: Our purpose was to determine whether either lutein or zeaxanthin supplementation affects macular pigment concentration/optical density (MPOD) in healthy Japanese individuals.

Methods: Twenty-two healthy volunteers were randomized to either 10 mg of orally administered lutein or zeaxanthin daily for up to 3 months. MPOD levels were measured by resonance Raman spectrophotometry (RRS) and one-wavelength autofluorescence imaging (AFI) at baseline and 1, 2, and 3 months after the start of supplementation.

Results: MPOD levels measured with each method were correlated significantly at all time points. MPOD(RRS) and MPOD(AFI) levels increased >20 % from baseline at 2 and 3 months after lutein supplementation. By multiple regression analyses, the refractive error was correlated positively with MPOD(RRS) levels at baseline, whereas age and sex were not significant. In the lutein group, MPOD(RRS) levels significantly increased from baseline at all time points in individuals without high myopia exceeding -4 diopters, whereas the increase was not observed in individuals with high myopia. In the zeaxanthin group, MPOD(RRS) levels remained unchanged in those with and without high myopia.

Conclusions: MPOD(RRS) and MPOD(AFI) levels correlated significantly with each other. In normal healthy Japanese individuals without high myopia, lutein supplementation increased MPOD levels within the fovea more effectively than did zeaxanthin.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Densitometry
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Fluorometry
  • Humans
  • Lipofuscin / metabolism
  • Lutein / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinal Pigments / metabolism*
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman
  • Visual Acuity
  • Xanthophylls / administration & dosage*
  • Young Adult
  • Zeaxanthins


  • Lipofuscin
  • Retinal Pigments
  • Xanthophylls
  • Zeaxanthins
  • Lutein