A daily supplement of lutein in combination with vitamin A may slow vision loss associated with retinitis pigmentosa, according to the results of a randomized, controlled, double-blind trial.
Writing in the Archives of Ophthalmology, American scientists report that a daily supplement containing 12 milligrams of lutein in combination with 15,000 International Units of vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) was associated with a preservation of mid-peripheral vision.
Rentinitis pigmentosa is a group of inherited eye diseases that affect the retina. It causes the degeneration of photoreceptor cells in the retina, bringing progressive vision loss to about one in 4,000 people worldwide. Previous studies had found that taking vitamin A slows the decline in retinal function and vision loss.
The new data indicates that 40 year olds with the condition who take the vitamin A plus lutein combination would not be expected to lose their mid-peripheral field until the age of 61, which would represent a significant improvement compared with only 51 in people not taking supplements of the carotenoid.
Lutein for eyes
Lutein, a nutrient found in various foods including green leafy vegetables and egg yolk, has a ten-year history in the dietary supplement market as a nutrient to reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration (ADM). It is often used in combination with zeaxanthin.
The global lutein market is set to hit $124.5 million (€93 million) in 2013, according to a 2007 report from Frost & Sullivan.
According to the report, manufacturers need to address this growing maturity in dietary supplements by identifying new and potentially lucrative application segments that offer opportunities for the continued growth of the lutein market.