7 min

the science behindour Eye Vitamins

Everything your eyes need - nothing they don't

Developed by some of the world's leading professors and surgeons at London's best eye hospital, all our products are based on proven science and clinical studies.

They protect and care for your eyes, all day, every day.

Our planet-friendly products contain everything the experts – and research – say your eyes need; nothing they don’t.

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What's in our vitamins?
  • They are both yellow beta carotenoids present in the diet (e.g. green vegetables). However, intake of these carotenoids via foods or supplements is low in many population groups; in particular, in the elderly. Lutein and zeaxanthin are actively and specifically transported and accumulated in the centre of the retina of humans. There is currently no definitive scientific agreement on what their function is, but the biological transport mechanism within us would have not evolved if there was no benefit. Many people have low levels of lutein and zeaxanthin (due to poor diet) and lutein and zeaxanthin are likely components in AREDS2 having a protective effect against AMD. Some other studies have also demonstrated that lutein/zeaxanthin supplementation can improve visual performance, including contrast sensitivity, glare tolerance and photo stress recovery, even in healthy people.
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) has anti-oxidative properties and is part of the AREDS2 formulation. Although the AREDS2 study did not show significant benefits for cataract, there are several other studies showing that high vitamin C intake and serum ascorbate are associated with reduced risk of cataract. In fact, the link between vitamin C and cataract is the strongest out of all the supplements that have so far been studied in human eye disease.
  • Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) anti-oxidative properties and there is proposed evidence that this reduces the risk of cataracts.
  • Zinc is an essential trace element. As an integral component of many enzymes, it is essential in most cells and has antioxidant properties. There is high concentration of zinc in certain cells of the retina compared to other tissues, with some evidence that dietary zinc supplementation is beneficial for eye health and is included in the AREDS2 formulation. Furthermore, zinc is legally recognised in the UK & EU as promoting ‘maintenance of normal vision’
  • In many countries, flour, cereals and pasta is fortified with vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Dairy makes the major contribution in the Western diet. Mild deficiencies are common in developing countries and around 5% in developed countries. A gluten-free or dairy-free diet can increase the risk of deficiency. Vitamin B2 is legally recognised in the UK & EU as promoting ‘maintenance of normal vision’. As a resuIt of the above legal recognition and the (minor) risk of deficiencies, our formulation includes Vitamin B2.
  • Deficiencies for vitamins B6 (pyridoxine) and B9 (folic acid) are not common. In contrast, vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) deficiency is common in the elderly and vegetarians/vegans not taking supplements. Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 are all critically involved in cysteine/methionine and glutathione metabolism. Their deficiencies can lead to increased homocysteine levels, which are linked to multiple pathologies, including AMD. Although only vitamin B12 has a realistic risk of deficiency, we have included B6, B9 with B12 in the MTHK formulation because all three are functionally linked and relevant in the physiology of the retina.
  • Studies state that maqui berry provides relief for specific symptoms of Dry Eye and asthenopia (non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, pain in or around the eyes, blurred vision, headache, and occasional double vision). We've added a pure extract of Maqui berry, that's unique to our formula. This berry, which is sustainably harvested from the wild forests of Patagonia.
  • Taking zinc reduces the amount of copper the body can absorb (which can potentially lead to anaemia and weakening of the bones). Copper is added to the AREDS2 formulation to manage that risk.
  • “We've chosen the best combination of vitamins and nutrients, based on the latest research, to help keep your eyes healthy.”

    PROFESSOR MARCUS FRUTTIGER, UCL & MOORFIELDS EYE HOSPITAL, CO-FOUNDER AT MTHK

    What we've not included
  • Vitamin A (retinol) needed in photoreceptors to detect light and for many other processes in the body. Deficiency caused by malnutrition is common in the developing world (particularly in children) and is in these countries the leading cause of night blindness. This is probably the reason why vitamin A is authorised for the on-pack-claim: ‘Maintenance of normal vision’ within the UK & EU. However, in high-income countries deficiencies are rare and associated with other medical problems (e.g. alcoholism or inflammatory bowel diseases). Vitamin A is one of the few vitamins that can be toxic in very high doses or via cumulative build-up (consistent overconsumption). Vitamin A can be taken up directly from the diet or be produced by our body from its precursor, beta-carotene (a.k.a. provitamin A). Beta-carotene was included in AREDS1 but has been replaced with lutein and zeaxanthin (in AREDS2) because it has been shown that supplementation with beta-carotene increases cancer risk in smokers. The mechanism for this is not clear but “probably” does not involve vitamin A. Either way, there is little evidence that vitamin A supplementation prevents eye diseases in developed countries. As a result, we have not included Vitamin A in the MTHK formulation.
  • In developed countries, vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency is seen mainly in alcoholics, the elderly, AIDS patients, diabetics and after bariatric surgery. In diabetics, thiamine deficiency has been linked to vascular complications (including diabetic retinopathy). However, the deficiency is not caused by low dietary input but due to a profoundly increased rate of removal from the blood into the urine.
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)is present in fish, meat and fortified cereal and pasta. Supplementation has been found useful for decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease (in those not taking statins). Deficiency is associated with poverty, malnutrition and chronic alcoholism, and rare in developed countries. Overconsumption of niacin supplements can lead to cystoid macular oedema.
  • High levels of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) are present in the retina, but deficiencies are extremely rare.
  • Similar type of active ingredient to lutein and zeaxanthin. There are limited clinical studies available. Our experts debated this extensively, but in the end were not convinced. We'll keep tabs on this ingredient and see if more conclusive studies are released in the future.
  • Recommended in the original AREDS study, but removed with AREDS2. Beta-carotene has been linked to an increased incidence of lung cancer in present and former smokers.
  • There are limited clinical studies available. Our experts considered this ingredient, but in the end decided to include Maqui Berry (see above), had stronger research and studies to support its inclusion in the MTHK Eye Vitamin formulation.
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