Purpose: To compare the change in serum carotenoids, macular pigment optical density (MPOD) and visual function with the intake of two commercially available nutritional supplements. Methods: Participants were given a 24-week supply of a lipid-based micronized liquid medical food, Lumega-Z™ (LM), containing 28 mg of the macular carotenoids lutein (L), zeaxanthin (Z) and meso-zeaxanthin (MZ), or given PreserVision™ AREDS 2 Formula (gel-caps; PV) containing 12 mg of the macular carotenoids L and Z, but no reported MZ. Serum levels of L, Z and MZ were obtained at baseline and after 12 weeks. Macular pigment optical densities (MPOD) and visual function were assessed at baseline and after 24 weeks. Results: Average blood serum concentrations of L, Z and MZ in the two groups at baseline were similar. The increases in L, Z and MZ were 0.434, 0.063 and 0.086 mol/L vs. 0.100, 0.043 and 0.001 mol/L, respectively, in the LM vs. PV group. From baseline to week 24, average MPOD in the LM-group increased by 0.064 from 0.418 to 0.482, whereas in the PV-group, it was essentially unchanged (0.461 to 0.459;). Although log-contrast sensitivity was improved in all groups under three conditions (photopic, mesopic and mesopic with glare), the change in log-contrast sensitivity was not statistically significant. Conclusion: Despite only a 2.3-fold higher carotenoid concentration than PV, LM supplementation provides approximately 3-4-fold higher absorption, which leads to a significant elevation of MPOD levels.
Keywords: Lumega-Z; PreserVision; contrast sensitivity; lutein; macular pigment optical density; meso-zeaxanthin; zeaxanthin.