One year study of macular pigment enhancement by a lutein supplement

R. A. Bone, J. T. Landrum, Philip J. Rosenfeld, L. L. Moore, K. E. Sprague, C. Giraldo, C. Gomez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose. A low density of macular pigment (MP) may be a risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) owing to the greater potential for blue light damage. The study was conducted to determine the timecourse of macular pigment density changes in human subjects resulting from dietary supplementation with lutein. Methods. Subjects took the equivalent of 30 mg/day of lutein in the form of pure lutein, or lutein esters, for a period of 140 days. Macular pigment optical density was measured several days per week by heterochromatic flicker photometry. Blood serum concentrations of lutein were determined by high performance liquid chromatography. Results. Serum lutein concentration in five subjects rose from an average of 0.13±0.05 to 0.93±0.23 μg/ml within 10 to 20 days. After an initial delay, MP optical density rose in both eyes of three subjects, and one eye only of one subject, at ~ 1 mAU/day. No increase was observed in a fifth subject. In two subjects, the increases continued for ∼ 50 days beyond the supplementation period, the time required for serum lutein to regain baseline. Thereafter, the optical density remained fairly constant. Conclusions. MP densities can be increased significantly in most subjects by dietary supplementation with lutein. For those who responded, the increases were 20 to 40%. The corresponding decrease in blue light transmitted to the macular photo receptors, Bruch's membrane and the RPE - the tissues vulnerable to AMD - has been estimated to be in the 30 to 40% range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S90
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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