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BR Hammond; Macular Pigment Density is Increased in Vegetarians . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(13):3604.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: Lutein and zeaxanthin are concentrated in the inner layers of the macular region of the primate retina and, there, are referred to as macular pigment (MP). Our past studies have shown large individual differences in the density of MP with average levels being low. We have also shown, however, that increasing the intake of carotenoid-rich foods can increase MP density in most subjects. In this study, we measured the MP density of subjects who defined themselves as Vegetarians. Methods: 423 subjects from the Athens, GA area were assessed. 40 of these subjects reported that they were Vegetarians (defined simply as eating no meat and only vegetables). MP density was determined using flicker photometry with a one-degree and twenty-minute 460 nm test stimulus alternating with a 570 nm standard measured in the fovea and at an eccentricity of 5 degrees. Results: Compared to the larger sample of subjects (one-degree = 0.25, SD = 0.13, 20-min = 0.35, SD = 0.16), MP density was higher (p<0.01) in subjects who defined themselves as Vegetarians (one-degree = 0.32, SD = 0.13, 20-min = 0.42, SD = 0.15). Conclusions: MP density was about 18% higher (at both locations on the retina) in "Vegetarian" subjects compared to non-Vegetarian subjects.
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