Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, June 2018

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32 Antioxidants ■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK JUNE 2018 "Based on that study," she says, "the National Eye Institute recommended adding 10 mg lu- tein and 2 mg zeaxanthin to the AREDS formu- la." Study results also show that subjects sup- plementing with both lutein and zeaxanthin saw a signif cant reduction in risk of progres- sion to cataracts or cataract surgery compared to those who took no lutein and zeaxanthin 4 . Blue Alert While the role of lutein and zeaxanthin in the AREDS results has been shaping opinions and interventions vis-à-vis eye health for years, Appell notes that "there's new science on how the macular carotenoids can protect against the more immediate ef ects of expo- sure to high-energy blue light." T is matters because blue light is a pri- mary emission product not only of elec- tronic device screens—think laptops, mobile phones, and even old-fashioned televisions—but of now-ubiquitous LED and compact-f uorescent lights, as well. And, says Shaheen Majeed, worldwide president, Sabinsa (East Windsor, NJ), sup- plier of lutein-plus-zeaxanthin ingredient ZeaLutein, "Studies have shown that high- er exposures to blue light is damaging to your eyes—particularly to the retina." "In this digital era," Majeed continues, "as people spend considerable time every day with their devices, they're experiencing the eye fatigue, eye strain, and headaches col- lectively termed 'computer vision syndrome.' T e problem arises from uninterrupted fo- cusing on a computer or mobile display for a prolonged period. And though it's temporary in nature, it can seriously inf uence visual acuity in the long run." Fortunately, research shows that the higher the level of macular pigment optical density (MPOD)—which Snyder describes as "a measure of lutein and RR-zeaxanthin status in the eye"—the greater the protection against excess blue light. Appell notes that the BLUE (Blue Light User Exposure) study 5 , which explored how macular carotenoids can protect against the ef ects of the blue spectrum, found that sup- plementing with OmniActive's Lutemax 2020 (containing 20 mg lutein and 4 mg RR- and RS-zeaxanthin) yielded a statistically signif- icant decrease in symptoms of computer vision syndrome, including an almost 30% reduction in eye strain, eye fatigue, and head- ache frequency. "T ese study results," he says, "have im- plications across all age groups and of er a simple, ef ective solution to protect the eyes from daily exposure to digital screens." And because most people don't consume enough lutein and zeaxanthin from natural sources like green leafy vegetables, supplementation, he says, "is the only way to get suf cient lev- els of these important nutrients." Snyder agrees. "Consumers might not be aware of the connection" between screen time and downstream deleterious ef ects. But lutein suppliers are getting the message out. "Based on the prevalence of digital de- vices and the likelihood of continued use even after learning about blue light," she adds, "we see opportunities for brands to de- velop products for all demographic prof les." Food (and Supplements) for Thought "Vision will always play a big role in the lu- tein market because—well, vision loss is a top concern, and the macular carotenoids are critical components in protecting eyes," Appell says. "T e challenge has been bridging the importance of lutein to a younger con- sumer who isn't necessarily supplementing to prevent a condition like AMD." With supplier ef orts like clinical research and marketing campaigns, he continues, "We're seeing the momentum build as con- sumers understand how lutein and the macular carotenoids help protect not only their eyes well into old age, but also how it can have more immediate ef ects that [these consumers] want to address." Take improved cognition. Turns out that lutein's ability to promote eye health under- scores how it helps nearby structures in the brain. As Snyder explains, "T e connection between the proximity of retinal tissue, the optical nerve, and brain tissue allows for brands to explain the similar role that lutein plays in dif erent parts of the body." Indeed, "Lutein's role in the brain is an exciting area of growing research," she says. "Observational studies 6 provided the foun- dation for interest, such as looking at the relationship between MPOD and temporal processing speed as a marker of central ner- vous system health." Last year saw publication of results from two intervention studies 7,8 show- ing, respectively, that Kemin's FloraGLO lutein and ZeaONE natural zeaxanthin ingredients support neural response and blood f ow to specif c areas of the brain in healthy older adults, and that supplemen- tation with the two carotenoids improves cognitive function in healthy older adults as measured by complex attention and cognitive f exibility. Appell points to a study showing that sub- jects taking OmniActive's Lutemax 2020 sup- plement exhibited higher levels of brain-de- rived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that participates in neuroplasticity—"the ability to grow and dif erentiate the growth of neurons," he says—as well as in learning, memory, and cognition. T e Lutein, Vision, and Mental Acuity II (LAMA II) study 9 also showed the supplement's ef ects on lower- ing cortisol levels, which are associated with stress, by 50% and in producing higher scores on subjects' health-status questionnaires. Skin Deep Just as lutein collects in the macula to pro- tect it against the ef ects of photo-oxidation, it's selectively deposited in the skin to per- form a similar service. In 2016, OmniActive launched the Beautiful Skin Forever study 10 to examine the role of Lute- max 2020 in skin health and found that supple- mentation with 10 mg for 12 weeks "demon- strated a rare combination of benef ts," Appell says: increases across the board in overall skin tone, lightening, and elasticity, and an increase in the minimal erythema dose (MED), a mea- sure of how much UV light is needed to elicit a burn response. A higher MED means greater sun protection. And unlike other carotenoids, Appell says—think beta-carotene—Lutemax 2020 doesn't produce carotenoderma, the sup- plement-induced yellowing of the skin. "Consumers are looking for whole-body approaches to skin and beauty, as with col- lagen and similar supplements," Appell says. "Even though this is a new category for lutein, it's unique because it addresses some of the big concerns consumers have—skin tone and sun protection, to name a few. T is is a major benef t for the beauty-from-within category." And it's a major benef t to consumers who are discovering all that lutein can do.

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