Monday, July 20, 2015

MLB Performance

Hitting a towering homerun or pitching a 95 mph fastball requires strength, power, and velocity. But it also requires healthy eyes.
Vision training drills on a computer or machine are common among Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. For pitchers, these drills can help with control. For hitters, they can increase reaction time and help them determine whether a pitch is a fastball or a change-up.
More recently, MLB players have turned to the nutrients, zeaxanthin and lutein, for the competitive edge. These nutrients are found in your retina, the part of your eye that forms a visual image. This makes them crucial for healthy vision. In fact, a diet rich in these nutrients can reduce your risk of cataracts.1 Additionally, a large study called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), has shown that supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin can slow the progression of macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss.2
These nutrients are found in dark green leafy vegetables and other foods like eggs. Your body cannot make the zeaxanthin and lutein it needs, making dark green vegetables essential to good nutrition.
The majority of MLB clubhouses today are taking zeaxanthin and lutein in supplement form. ZeaVision the parent company of EyePromise sponsored the Arizona Fall League, a training ground for today’s top baseball prospects, exposing all 30 MLB teams to the EyePromise product.
The company worked with the University of Georgia to publish a study on the impact of paprika-derived zeaxanthin on visual processing speed.3 The study included 64 young, healthy subjects who were randomly divided into one of three groups for four months. The first group received a placebo, the second group received zeaxanthin at a daily dose of 20 mg, and the third group received 26 mg/day of zeaxanthin, 8 mg/day of lutein, and 190 mg/day of omega-3 fish oil. It was found that supplementing with zeaxanthin alone or combined with lutein and omega-3 fish oils increased visual motor reaction by 10% compared to the placebo.

These results can translate to on-field performance for baseball players.
There is also increasing interest in ZeaVision among prospects in other sports such as hockey and golf.
Gavin Van De Walle holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and is a certified personal trainer. He is a Master of Science candidate in exercise physiology at South Dakota State University. Contact Gavin at
1. American Optometric Association: “Adding powerful antioxidants to your diet can improve your eye health.”
2. National Institutes of Health: “NIH study provides clarity on supplements for protection against blinding eye disease.”

3. Bovier ER, Renzi LM, Hammond BR. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the effects of lutein and zeaxanthin on neural processing speed and efficiency. PLoS One. 2014;9(9):e108178.