Jerry Hickey is a pharmacist and radio personality and fills the esteemed role of Scientific Director and President of Invite Health. He has spent his professional life analyzing nutritional information and medical studies with the aim of creating the highest quality and most natural nutraceuticals for user’s maximum health benefits. Here, Jerry speaks about the benefits of Macula Hx®…
I was talking about a letter to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and it said that people who played baseball will get value for the macular pigment, lutein and zeaxanthines. So, what’s that all about? I’ll explain, because there’s actual truth in that. In fact, recently, they took those two supplements. This is from a study in Italy. It was the Italian army, and the soldiers are at the top of their game with physical fitness and vision. When they use night vision goggles, if they're on lutein and zeaxanthine, they could perform better and see better than before and compare to other soldiers. It actually improved their vision and there is study showing it improves vision in healthy people who drive a lot.
So, lutein and zeaxanthine, we call them macular pigments. Your eye only accepts certain antioxidants, and when you’re young, you’re loaded with those. It protects your eyes. The very function of vision throws off a lot of free radicals and this damage the sensitive little organs in the back of the eye. They're called organelles. They're tiny little sensitive organs and tissues. So, when you’re young, you’re loaded with these antioxidants that defend the eye. But as you get older, there’s a natural decrease in the level of these antioxidants in the eye. Research is showing, if you counterbalance that and you take a supplement or you really focus on the foods that are rich in these things, you can help protect and preserve and maybe even improve on your vision. So, we’re going to some of these studies because this is pretty critical.
There are pigments in plants known as keratinoids and they're orange-y red. One is beta-keratin; one is lutein and one is zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin help create your internal sunglasses. It’s called your macular tissue. Your macular tissue protects the back of the eye from solar radiation, from cigarette smoke. It’s kind of like a catcher’s mitt, and it’s your internal sunglasses really. It protects the back of your eye. The sensitive little organs in the back of the eye, the rods, the cones, the fovea, the retina from solar radiation, from cigarette smoke and inflammation, and also from unstable blue light, the spectrum of light that damages the eyes the most is blue light because it is highly unstable and creates a lot of free radical is the eye. So when you’re young, you have a lot of these anti-oxidants available. As you get older, there is less and less of them.
Research is showing that when you put them back in the eye, with age, you help rebuild the retina. You recondition the retina. It gets thicker, and it’s more capable of shielding the back of the eye from blue light, and the back of the eye has a chance to renew itself to nourish itself and rebuild itself, and they’ve shown it as you take more lutein, and the macular tissue gets thick again. It is going back to its youthful thickness and the back of the eye is healing and rebuilding and rejuvenating itself and vision actually improves, visual acuity, visual stamina, the ability to drive at night, fatigue in the eyes.
So, we have this vision formula and it’s loaded with these macular pigments that heal the macular tissue and help to rebuild the macular tissue. As it gets thicker, it’s better able to shield the back of the eyes like internal sunglasses, shield the back of the eye from unstable blue light and other things that can damage it, and then the back of the eye can maintain itself. They’ve shown that as you rebuild this tissue. The eye actually gets benefitted out of it. When they’ve done this with older people, their vision was absolutely better. Their macular was thicker. Their vision was better. Let me tell you, anybody with an eye issue, you should look at this formula.
In the last trial published in the Journal of Optometry, a one-year study, lutein improved the thickness of the macular tissue, your internal sunglasses. It’s a shield on the back. It’s a filter, and this was tied in to improving eye health, vision health improved, visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, you know, your ability to pick something out from the background. If say, “Hey, look at that bird in that tree”, and you can see it, that’s called contrast sensitivity. So, I used lutein. This is a very interesting study because this formula is good for older people to renew the available pool of antioxidant levels in their eye. The level of lutein in the eyes drop as you age, the level of zinc in the eye drops when you age, the level of glutathione in eye drops when you age. They're all in this formula and they're all needed to protect the eye so it can recreate itself and help nourish itself and keep on working.
Here’s a study with 120 healthy drivers. They gave them lutein supplementation over a year. Now, these were professional drivers. They drove on average 10 hours every working day. Over the course of the year, lutein thickened the macular tissue, your internal sunglasses. It improved contrast sensitivity. In other words, it was easier for these drivers to pick things out, which is exactly what you need to drive carefully. Glare was less of an issue. It was easier for these people, these 120 drivers to drive in low light, you know, like a cloudy day to drive in the rain. The glare from incoming headlights didn’t bother them as much. I mean, this had a real impact on their careers. They were better drivers. They were safe, I would say.
When they gave lutein to healthy people, it’s an applied ergonomics. They gave healthy people lutein and they put them on this tough set of tests where they have to look at checker boards and they have to proofread documents and everything. When they gave them lutein, it was literally reducing their visual fatigue. Their eyes were not getting tired.
By the way, just to let you know, there are certain drugs that cause inflammation in the eye, like aspirin and Advil and Aleve, commonly used drugs. The ones that are probably becoming more notorious for that are the statin drugs. Now, statin drugs are probably saving lives. They are the drugs that lower cholesterol, like Lipitor, Crestor, Vytorin, Zocor. The problem is they take lutein out of the body and the macular tissue can suffer. So, if you’re on a statin drug or if you’re on a drug for your arthritis like Aleve or Advil or aspirin even, you should be on the Macula. It’s very good for the health of the eyes.
We’ve actually added a couple of nutrients to a typical eye formula. We’ve added a couple of berries. Now, berries are very powerful and protective antioxidants, but not all berries are absorbed by humans. So, they might look good in the lab test inside a Petri dish or inside a test tube that they were working as an antioxidant, but they're not absorbed by humans. So, we actually have in this formula two berries that are terrific antioxidants in humans and have an affinity for going to the eye. One of these is the cassis berry and one of them is bilberry. It’s a northern European, cousin to the blueberry. It’s also called whortleberry and these are both in our Macula vision formula. It is called Macula Hx® Advanced.
We get our cassis berry from New Zealand. It grows in this nice pristine evergreen forest. It’s beautiful. When we get the cassis berry from New Zealand, they’ve tested it, and there are four different powerful dark berry antioxidants that nourish and protect the eye and improve visual health, but three of them actually restore rhodopsin levels as well. When you go into a dark room at night, your eyes dilate and the core of your eye, that dark part gets bigger so you can see at night. That’s called rhodopsin, and you need it for night vision. You need it for driving at night or in low light to protect your eyes from glare and tiredness, but you use it up in the daytime, too. For instance, when you’re on the computer, you’re using up your rhodopsin, so they're showing that this particular berry that we just added to our Macula. We have the Macula Advanced now and it’s really good for restoring rhodopsin, which is great for daytime vision, but also very, very crucial, if you have lousy night vision.
Here’s a second study on the same berry. When they gave the cassis berry to healthy people, it was reducing visual fatigue in healthy people and they could see better in low levels of light and their eyes adjusted to different levels of light much faster. So, if they walk into a dark room, they could see quicker, better.
They did this wonderful study in Japan with the same exact berry, the cassis berry. It’s the strongest berry, when they compared cassis to all the other berries in powerful antioxidant foods, cassis berry outshone them all. It was stronger than maqui berry. Everybody is buying maqui berry. We don’t even know if people absorb it. But, it was like twice as strong as blueberries and it was a little bit stronger than bilberry. It was a lot stronger than pomegranate. It is a very powerful antioxidant, but the beauty of it is it loves to go into your eyeball and protect your vision.
So, here’s a study in Japan, very interesting study and they used the cassis berry. When they gave these people the cassis berry, it helped prevent their eyes from getting itchy and red and watery. Very interesting. So, it’s really working as a strong antioxidant all over their eye on the inside and the outside apparently. I mean, it was just amazing.