British Research Supports Nutritional Strategy For Eye Health
IL, 19 August 2002
researchers have found that a natural dietary supplement ingredient
called lutein esters may promote eye health for an aging population,
according to their presentation recently made to the Association
for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in Florida.
has been growing that a tiny part of the eye's retina, termed the
macular pigment, may give the eye in-built protection from age-related
macular degeneration (AMD), the disease that is the principal cause
of irreversible blindness in the elderly. The macular pigment is
entirely made up of lutein and zeaxanthin, plant pigments found
in many fruits and vegetables.
findings strongly indicate that people are at greater risk of developing
AMD if the density of their macular pigment is low. Now, research
groups around the world are excited by the prospect that it may
be possible to increase macular pigment density and thereby reduce
the risk of the disease, by simply adding extra sources of the carotenoids
lutein and zeaxanthin to the diets of those at risk.
this theory has not yet been proven, a new study by researchers
from the Department of Optometry and Neurosciences at England's
University of Manchester, has raised hopes that patients already
experiencing early stages of AMD may be able to delay or even prevent
its progress through dietary intervention. The work is supported
by the UK Department of Health under the MedLINK programme (the
LINK programme for medical devices).
Murray, PhD, who presented his group's latest findings to the annual
meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
in Florida, said: "I have seen many patients who are suffering from
the disabling effects of AMD. Of course we are excited by the prospect
that a simple addition to the diet may impede the progress of the
disease and prevent others who are at risk from experiencing such
problems. Right now, dietary intervention is the only hope for most
one study, Dr. Murray's group selected 8 patients at an early stage
of development of the disease. Aged between 60 to 81, these patients
so far have normal visual acuity. They were compared with 'normal'
subjects, matched for sex, eye-color and age. The researchers observed,
as in earlier studies, that eyes at risk of developing early-stage
AMD have lower macular pigment density than eyes without such risk,
adding credibility to the theory that the macular pigment has an
the second ongoing study, the researchers gave a daily supplement
of Cognis' Xangold(R) 15% Natural Lutein Esters (a source of lutein)
to 8 patients (6 from the first group) and to 8 normal subjects,
over a period of 18 weeks and measured the effects. Interim data
after 12 weeks of supplementation indicate that the density of macular
pigment in both patients and normal subjects increased at the same
rate. Further, the researchers found that, where patients already
had AMD in one eye, both eyes responded equally well to supplementation.
results suggest that, at least in the early stages of AMD, the disease
does not stop lutein from being deposited in the retina. The significant
implication of this finding is that in patients at an early stage
of AMD, dietary intervention may help promote eye health by maintaining
the density of the macular pigment.
Natural Lutein Esters, a source of lutein, are found in branded
dietary supplements sold over-the-counter in national supermarkets,
health food stores, pharmacies, and mass merchandisers.
more about AMD, visit www.nei.nih.gov
is a worldwide supplier of specialty chemicals and nutritional ingredients.
The company delivers natural source ingredients for food, nutrition
and healthcare markets and serves major customers in the cosmetics,
detergents and cleaners industries. Additionally, Cognis provides
solutions for a number of industries such as, coatings and inks,
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more about the Manchester research.