Improving visual acuity & brain cognition
Maximising sporting performance with lutein and zeaxanthin supplements
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 15:17 -- Ophthalmic Team
Lutein and zeaxanthin, used as a treatment for age-related macular degeneration, is also being used by professional sportspeople to improve their performance and visual acuity. How does it work?
We know that these two nutrients can improve macular pigment optical density (MPOD) which can slow progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – but they can also be useful to those who have healthy eyes.
Can lutein and zeaxanthin improve vision?
Lutein and zeaxanthin increase MPOD which is useful to those who play sports, as it allows them to, literally, keep their eye on the ball as well as reduce the effects of glare and bright sunlight.
What is known as photostress is often experienced by cricketers and tennis players, as they spend long hours in bright light focusing on small objects. A higher MPOD level from taking a small amount of lutein or zeaxanthin can improve visual acuity, reducing discomfort.
There is also research to show that taking these nutrients can increase. A healthy level of macular pigment means that the eye is able to reduce ‘blue haze’ – allowing a person to see further and with greater contrast.
Early research into lutein and brain cognition
Alongside advantages for MPOD there is also a small amount of research linking lutein to brain cognition. It is believed that lutein serves as an antioxidant, protecting the macula from oxidation and there is some research to suggest it may offer similar to brain cells.
A study in 2013 of 300 centenarians and octogenarians found that higher levels of lutein in the brain were linked to better performance in word association tests, and other brain-function tests. The link is not clear, but the study found that if you have more lutein in the brain you are more likely to have better cognition. This can be of benefit to athletes and sportspeople as they may have better reaction times.
Supplements such as Vizual Edge Pro are available to those looking to support vision quality, visual performance and contrast sensitivity. Find out more about lutein and zeaxanthin in slowing AMD progression in our infographic.