Protective macular pigments consist of lutein, zeaxanthin and meso zeaxanthin which act as powerful lipid antioxidants as well as functioning as an anti-inflammatory in the retina. In both the retina and the brain, these pigments are readily absorbed into the cellular membranes and orient themselves perpendicular in the membrane which acts to stabilize the cellular membrane.(1) The cellular membrane is made from unsaturated fats, which are very susceptible to free radical induced oxidative damage by high energy short wave light (such as blue light). As a potent lipid antioxidants, lutein, zeaxanthin and meso zeaxanthin signifcantly boost protection of the cellular membrane, and thereby protecting cells of the retina cells and neurons in the brain.(2)
(1) Subczynski WK, et al. Location of macular xanthophylls in the most vulnerable regions of photoreceptor outer-segment membranes. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2010 Dec
(2) Widomska J, et al. Can Xanthophyll-Membrane Interactions Explain Their Selective Presence in the Retina and Brain? Foods. 2016 Mar.
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(4) Gong X, et al. Role of macular xanthophylls in prevention of common neovascular retinopathies: retinopathy of prematurity and diabetic retinopathy. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2015 Apr.
(5) Orhan C, et al. Mesozeaxanthin Protects Retina from Oxidative Stress in a Rat Model. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Nov.
(6) Binxing Li, et al. Studies on the Singlet Oxygen Scavenging Mechanism of Human Macular Pigment.Arch Biochem Biophys, 2010 Dec.
(7) Firdous AP, et al. Amelioration of radiation-induced damages in mice by carotenoid meso-zeaxanthin. Int J Radiat Biol. 2013 Mar