Increasing Lutein Consumption – Are all Luteins Alike?
This randomised, double-blind parallel clinical trial, conducted with 72 healthy male and females volunteers, clearly confirmed the greater bioavailability of free lutein. Although both supplements increased serum lutein levels compared with baseline levels, supplementation with FloraGLO Lutein resulted in a statistically significant greater percentage increase in serum lutein levels (p=0.0054), a greater absolute (baseline subtracted) change in the serum lutein levels per mg of lutein dose administered (p=0.0011 at day 28) and a greater amount of lutein in the bloodstream as measured by serum lutein area under the curve
(AUC(0–28d)) (p=0.0187) (see Figure 2). Additionally, no lutein esters were detectable in the bloodstream.
Lutein in its crystalline form is very sensitive to oxidation, heat and humidity, therefore it is important to encapsulate it in a matrix to provide protection. The formulation technology used by the ingredient manufacturer for that purpose must ensure that:
• the materials used are suitable for human consumption;
• the ingredient can resist further processing (for example, inclusion in eye supplement tablets) so that the dose of lutein on the label is stable throughout the product’s shelf life; and
• the lutein is released from the encapsulation matrix in the gut; this is of outmost importance, since it is a requirement for the lutein to be absorbed by the body.
A recent randomised, double-blind, cross-over study explored this critical point by comparing the bioavailability of two commercially available free lutein ingredients that differed in matrix characteristics: FloraGLO Lutein, which is microencapsulated in a starch matrix (Actilease™ technology, DSM Nutritional Products), and a free lutein incorporated into an alginate matrix. The study results, presented at the European Association for Vision and Eye Research conference in 2010,33 confirmed that not all lutein encapsulation forms are alike: the increase in lutein plasma AUC was 10 times higher following the single dose
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administration of 20 mg of FloraGLO Lutein compared with the same dose of free lutein incorporated into an alginate matrix.
The antioxidants and blue-light filtering properties of lutein, together with its selective accumulation in the retina, support its beneficial effects in eye health. Although no dietary reference has yet been set for lutein, data on beneficial effects observed in intervention trials support the daily intake of 10 mg of lutein, a dose that has been recognised to be safe.34,35
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synthesised by the body and daily dietary consumption is generally low, increased consumption of lutein is recommended. Not all lutein ingredients are alike so, when recommending eye supplements to patients, in addition to looking for safe products, it is critical to ensure that the lutein ingredient used is absorbed properly by the body and has proven its efficacy in clinical trials. n
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Figure 2: AUC(0–28d) Values Comparison Between the Free Lutein and Lutein Esters Groups
1,600 1,400 1,200 1,000 800 600 400 200 0
Lutein esters group AUC = area under the curve. Source: Norkus, 2011.32
Free lutein group Reproduced with author’s permission.
EUROPEAN OPHTHALMIC REVIEW
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