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Luteins Health Benefits are Supported by Meta-Analysis

Luteins Health Benefits are Supported by Meta-Analysis

A new meta analysis from China has shown that a high dietary intake of compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which have a long history of eye health benefits, can help to lower the risk of late-stage age related macular degeneration (AMD).  Increasing the intake of these carotenoids demonstrated a 26% reduction in late stage AMD, though only a 4% reduction in the early stages. This data was collected from researchers at Peking University and was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.  The researchers wrote that the current systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrates that, according to evidence accumulated to date, that an intake of lutein and zeaxanthin in the diet does not significantly lower any risk of developing early stage AMD.

The same data does demonstrate that an increase in the intake of xanthophylls in the diet has benefits against later stage AMD. The researchers in China limited their study to include only dietary intake of the compounds rather than through the use of supplements. As a note they add that this like of study has only been done a few times which limits the power of meta-analysis.  Lutein and Zeaxanthin in the Eye On the retina of our eyes there is a yellow spot of about 5 millimetre diameter called the macula. The levels of pigments in this spot will gradually decrease with age and thus increases the risk of AMD as we get older.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are the carotenoids derived from our diets which are responsible for the yellow colour. These compounds are responsible for filtering blue light entering the eye which is harmful to the cells in the eye and can damage the rods and cones. When this pigment is thin it can work to destroy the cells and so maintaining high levels of carotenoids in the eye will help to keep the sys healthy and reduce risk of AMD. This was shown in a 1994 study by Dr, Johanna Seddon who demonstrated a link between eating carotenoid and a significant reduction in AMD.  New Analysis Data from only 6 longitudinal cohort studies were pooled to create the new meta-analysis. Although the numbers showed no correlation between the highest intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin and a reduced risk of early AMD, they did show a 26% reduction in the risk of late AMD and a reduction in the risk of neovascular AMD.  Market Value Lutein, to date, has a 10 year history in the dietary supplement market as a nutrient to reduce the effects of age related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness. The most developed country for eye health products is currently the US. Data from Frost & Sullivan in the US shows that the country’s eye health products market stood at $138m in 2008 and was set to reach much higher targets in future years with a compound annual growth of 5.3 % from 2008 to 2015.