Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, June 2018

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■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 28 JUNE 2018 J ust like a wedding photographer or a landscape architect, a nutritional ingre- dient can gain a real market advantage when it specializes. Look no further than the carotenoid lutein, which may come closer than any other to being a household name thanks to its widely publicized—and even more widely substantiated—association with ocular health. And yet the more we learn about just how embedded—literally—lutein is with healthy vision, the more evidence we uncover that its benef ts redound elsewhere. And that should open up eyes to lutein's benef ts well beyond its traditional base of—let's be honest—older fans. As Brian Appell, marketing manager for OmniActive Health Technologies (Morris- town, NJ), puts it, "Right now, lutein's pri- mary driver is consumers concerned about age-related conditions like macular degen- eration. But new studies on lutein are show- ing that it has benef ts in other fast-growing categories, like brain health, sports nutri- tion, skin health, and sleep. T is new science is expected to increase demand in dif erent consumer segments." And it should signal a bright future for lutein and those who use it. The Eyes Have It Ceci Snyder, MS, RD, global vision product manager, human nutrition & health, Kemin (Des Moines, IA), shares Appell's bullishness. "T e more you know about lutein, the more amazed you are at its potential to help at all ages," she says. "Based on the number of new products that cross age groups and body sys- tems, interest in lutein beyond eye health is growing." T at's growing lutein's sales, as well, with the ingredient's global take expected to rise at a CAGR of 6.3% from 2017 to 2022, top- ping out above $350 million by the end of that timeframe, according to a report 1 by MarketsandMarkets. But despite lutein's spread into untapped systems and need states, its calling card re- mains its reputation for ocular support. For it's here, Appell says, where "the science on lutein is most well established." What that science tells us is that of the 600-plus carotenoids found in nature, only three—lutein and the zeaxanthin isomers RR-zeaxanthin and RS (meso)-zeaxanthin— congregate in the eye, forming a protective layer in the macula, a structure located in the rear of the eye that's responsible for clarity in the direct f eld of vision. But while the macula is the part of the retina most involved in high-level visual per- formance, it's also the part most susceptible to photo-oxidative damage as a result of its continual exposure to high-energy light— particularly light with a wavelength in the blue portion of the spectrum. And this is where lutein and zeaxanthin— collectively known as macular carotenoids— come in. As Appell explains, they "play two primary roles in the eye." One, they quench the free radicals that f ood the eye subse- quent to photo-oxidation. And, two, they f l- ter some of the high-energy blue-wavelength light that causes the most damage. Given these defensive actions, Appell concludes, "the more macular carotenoids you can build up in the macula, the greater the pro- tection for the eye and ability to see clearly." Arresting AMD How this plays out with respect to cata- racts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—present in its advanced stage in 2.1 million Americans age 50 and older and likely to af ect one in 10 Americans by the time they turn 80, according to the Nation- al Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health 2 —has long been a topic of inquiry. As Snyder notes, results of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) 3 showed that in subjects with the lowest dietary intake of lutein and its carotenoid cousin zeaxanthin, supplementation with the two macular pig- ments reduced the risk of progression to advanced AMD by 26% above the ef ects of the supplement formula used in the earlier AREDS study, which didn't include lutein and zeaxanthin. (In the dietary supplements industry, lutein and zeaxanthin are most of- ten commercially sourced from the marigold f ower, pictured above.) Antioxidants Taking a closer look at lutein More than Meets the Eye BY KIMBERLY J. DECKER SHUTTERSTOCK/ WIRACHAIPHOTO

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