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The Truth Behind Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD)

In high doses, the Vitamin A precursor, beta-carotene, causes patients' skin and maculas to turn orange, while AREDS2 found this molecule lessened the effect of macular degeneration supplementation by competing with lutein and zeaxanthin effects. Therefore, increases in macular pigment optical density are not equal to macular degeneration protection, nor does it indicate that various ocular supplements containing carotenoids "are working." And yet several companies market instruments that measure MPOD (macular pigment optical density, or pigment uptake in the macula) to be "proof" that these molecules are working to prevent or treat macular degeneration. Sadly, buy into the technology and the argument, perhaps because they believe that the science behind nutritional supplementation is not enough for their patients to trust the benefit of taking oral capsules for an eye condition. While it is true that lutein and zeaxanthin show overwhelming evidence of increasing MPOD, it is merely a correlative observance that these two molecules are also effective against atrophic macular degeneration when added to Zinc and Vitamins C and E.* Paul Krawitz, M.D. Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology Columbia University, New York, NY (Dr. Krawitz is President and C.E.O. of Vitamin Science, Inc. and VisiVite.Com.)

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