Bilberry Extract with 25% anthocyanidins content
Natural Vitamin E (D--tocopherol & tocopherols and tocotrienols)
In a base of safflower oil. Take two capsules a day with meals.
Lutein is a yellow pigment, found in vegetables, and is particularly rich in marigold flowers (Tagetes erecta). It appears that lutein may act as a filter, to absorb damaging free radicals. Analysis of the human macula showed that it contains 35-120 ng of carotenoids, of which lutein and zeaxanthin are the major carotenoids. Zeaxanthin is concentrated in the macular region, whilst lutein is found throughout the retina.[i]
Lutein and zeaxanthin are interconvertible. It is presumed, because of the light absorbing properties of lutein, it protects the retina from damage from sunlight[ii]
. Singlet oxygen can be produced by UV radiation in the retina, and lutein and zeaxanthin can quench this free radical[iii]
. In a detailed study to identify all carotenoids in the retina, oxidation products of lutein and zeaxanthin were found, which suggests that lutein and zeaxanthin act as anti-oxidants to protect the macula against damage by short-wavelength visible light[iv]
. The region of monkey retinas where carotenoids and vitamin E are both low corresponds with a locus where early signs of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) appear in humans.[v]
Lutein and zeaxanthin intake influences the macular pigment density3. In an older group (females 55 to 78, and males 48 to 82) there was a highly significant inverse relationship (p < 0.001) between macular pigment density and lens density (an indicator of lens optical health). Macular pigment is composed primarily of lutein and zeaxanthin. Thus, this suggests a direct relationship between lutein/zeaxanthin concentration and optical health (lens density increases as optical health decreases)[vi]
In adults, high intake of carotenoids is associated with a 43% to 57% lower incidence of macular degeneration. ARMD is the commonest cause of blindness in seniors and 13,000,000 Americans have symptoms of this disease and 1.2 million suffer visual impairment due to ARMD). The population of over 65 is projected to double by the year 2050. In a preliminary study, it was reported that: “Patients demonstrated positive effects in visual function in one or both eyes with the simple addition of lutein-rich foods[vii]
and in a personal case study by a physician[viii]
.” Lutein intake has been declining; among adults aged 40-69, lutein intake declined by 16%[ix]
Lutein may also reduce the risk of developing cataracts by about 20%.
Dietary lutein has also been found to be inversely associated with the development of colon cancer, whilst unremarkable association was found with other carotenoids[x]
. Lutein may also help protect against prostate cancer. In a study in a rural area of China, which had a low incidence of prostate cancer, dietary lutein consumption was high. In tests conducted at UCLA, lutein reduced prostate cancer cell growth by 25%.
In addition, lutein may help fight cardiovascular disease. In a study of 480 middle-aged men and women, those with the highest blood levels of lutein showed the least thickening of their arterial walls over an 18 month period. Lutein is a powerful anti-oxidant and may help prevent the oxidation of LDL, which is a major etiology of cardiovascular disease[xi]
. This finding was further borne out by experiments in mice and cell cultures. Treating artery wall cells with lutein reduced the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol and in genetically engineered mice, to develop artery disease, mice supplemented with a lutein diet showed significantly smaller artery-clogging plaques compared to control mice.
Bilberry extract with vitamin E may prevent cataract progression. One clinical study found that a mixture of bilberry extract and vitamin E stopped progression of cataract formation in 97% of 50 patients[xii]
In a study conducted by the National Eye Institute, USA, it was reported that people at high risk of developing advanced stages of ARMD, reduced their risk by 25% when given a high dose of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and zinc. In the same high risk group, which included people with intermediate ARMD or advanced ARMD in one eye only, these supplements reduced the risk of vision loss by about 19%[xiii]
Handelman GJ, Dratz EA, Reay CC, van Kuijk JG, Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 29: 850-55, 1988
Seddon JM, Ajani UA, Sperduto RD et al, Dietary Carotenoids, vitamins A,C, and E and advanced age-related macular degeneration, JAMA, 272: 1413-1420, 1994
Bruno RS, Medeiros, DM, J of Nutraceuticals, Functional and Medical Foods: 3(1), 79-85, 2000
Khachik F, Bernstein PS, Garland DL, Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci: 38(9), 1802-11, 1997
Snodderly DM, Am J Clin Nutr 62(suppl): 1448S-61S, 1995
Hammond BR, Wooten BR, Snodderly DM, Density of the Human Crystalline Lens is related to the Macular Pigment Carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin, Optom Vis Sci:74(7), 499-504, 1997
Richter S, Southern Council of Optometrists, annual meeting, Feb, 1999
Zussman HL, Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, p109, 7/99
National Health Interviews Surveys,
Slattery ML, Benson J, Curtin K., Ma K-N, Schaeffer D. and Potter JD, Am J Clin Nutr: 71(2), 575-582, 2000
Dwyer JH et al, Circulation: 19(6), 2000
Broveti G, Preventive Medical Treatment of Senile Cataract with Vitamin E and Anthocyanosides: Clinical Evaluation, Ann Ottalmol Clin Ocul 115: 109, 1989
Sieving PA, National Eye Institute, National Institute of Health, USA, press release, October 12, 2001