The Technology Behind MonaVie’s VIEW Antioxidant Scanner

The MonaVie VIEW Antioxidant Scanner is an optical instrument measuring important carotenoid and flavonoid antioxidant levels in living human skin. The VIEW device measures these classes of antioxidants using a combination of patented and patent-pending biophotonic technologies: Reflection spectroscopy (US patent 8,260,402) and Fluorescence spectroscopy (US 2010/0179435). The technology underlying the VIEW was recently featured in a cover-article in the prestigious scientific publication, Journal of Biophotonics (July 2012) and represents an important intersection between physics, biology, nutrition, and health.

The VIEW measures antioxidant levels when the index finger of a subject is illuminated sequentially with white and amber light produced by light emitting diodes (LEDs).   Reflection spectroscopy is used to derive tissue carotenoid antioxidant levels, and fluorescence spectroscopy is used to derive tissue flavonoid antioxidant levels.  Both levels are combined into an antioxidant score displayed on the screen of a smart-phone or tablet computer that is interfaced to the instrument via blue-tooth communication.

In general, a person's skin color is a combined effect of several light-absorbing chromophores present in the skin and the scattering of light due to surface roughness.  The main skin chromophores are hemoglobin (blood), melanin, carotenoids, and flavonoids, all contributing with characteristic absorptions in different regions of the optical spectrum.  Based on these spectral differences, the MonaVie VIEW uses patented reflection and fluorescence spectroscopy methods to determine the concentration of skin carotenoid and flavonoid chromophores.

Carotenoids absorb in the blue/green wavelength region of the optical spectrum and therefore impart a characteristic yellow/orange/red coloration component to the skin. The higher the concentration of a subject's tissue carotenoid level, the stronger is the contribution of such coloration to the skin.  When reflecting white LED light off of the skin, the white light LED intensities in the blue/green carotenoid absorption range are reflected less than the light intensities at longer, red, wavelengths where there is no absorption of skin chromophores.  Measuring the difference in reflected LED light intensities between blue/green carotenoid wavelengths and red reference wavelengths in two light detection channels of the instrument, the absorption strength of the skin carotenoids is derived and measured quantitatively in optical density units. These optical density units are directly proportional to the concentration of carotenoids present in the subject’s skin.  To aid in the precision of the measurements, blood chromophores are temporarily squeezed out of the measured tissue volume by the application of topical pressure at a tissue location with reduced melanin levels (tip of index finger)

Flavonoids absorb mainly at very short wavelengths in the ultraviolet range and with lowered absorption strengths also in the visible wavelength region. When optically excited with an amber color LED, flavonoid-specific fluorescence is generated in the red spectral region, and detected in a separate detection channel.  The intensity of this fluorescence scales with the concentration of the flavonoids present in the skin, and therefore can be used as a quantitative measure for the concentration of skin flavonoids.

Existing methods for assessing antioxidant status are expensive, time-consuming, and invasive (requiring blood, urine, saliva, or tissue samples). MonaVie’s VIEW Antioxidant Scanner is the only non-invasive portable instrument for assessing the levels of both carotenoids and flavonoids in living tissue. The VIEW enables health-conscious individuals to quickly and easily learn vital information about their antioxidant levels, empowering them to make informed and educated decisions about their lifestyle choices and overall health.