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October 2012

By Life Extension

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of zeaxanthin and visual function in patients with atrophic age-related macular degeneration: the Zeaxanthin and Visual Function Study (ZVF) FDA IND #78, 973.

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether dietary supplementation with the carotenoid zeaxanthin (Zx) raises macula pigment optical density (MPOD) and has unique visual benefits for patients with early atrophic macular degeneration having visual symptoms but lower-risk National Institute of Health/National Eye Institute/Age-Related Eye Disease Study characteristics. METHODS: This was a 1-year, n = 60 (57 men, 3 women), 4-visit, intention-to-treat, prospective, randomized controlled clinical trial of patients (74.9 years, standard deviation [SD] 10) with mild-to-moderate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) randomly assigned to 1 of 2 dietary supplement carotenoid pigment intervention groups: 8 mg Zx (n = 25) and 8 mg Zx plus 9 mg lutein (L) (n = 25) or 9 mg L ("Faux Placebo," control group, n = 10). Analysis was by Bartlett's test for equal variance, 3-way repeated factors analysis of variance, independent t test (P < 0.05) for variance and between/within group differences, and post-hoc Scheffé's tests. Estimated foveal heterochromic flicker photometry, 1° macular pigment optical density (MPOD QuantifEye®, low- and high-contrast visual acuity, foveal shape discrimination (Retina Foundation of the Southwest), 10° yellow kinetic visual fields (KVF), glare recovery, contrast sensitivity function (CSF), and 6° blue cone ChromaTest® color thresholds were obtained serially at 4, 8, and 12 months. RESULTS: Ninety percent of subjects completed ≥ 2 visits with an initial Age-Related Eye Disease Study report #18 retinopathy score of 1.4 (1.0 SD)/4.0 and pill intake compliance of 96% with no adverse effects. There were no intergroup differences in 3 major AMD risk factors: age, smoking, and body mass index as well as disease duration and Visual Function Questionnaire 25 composite score differences. Randomization resulted in equal MPOD variance and MPOD increasing in each of the 3 groups from 0.33 density units (du) (0.17 SD) baseline to 0.51 du (0.18 SD) at 12 m, (P = 0.03), but no between-group differences (Analysis of Variance; P = 0.47). In the Zx group, detailed high-contrast visual acuity improved by 1.5 lines, Retina Foundation of the Southwest shape discrimination sharpened from 0.97 to 0.57 (P = 0.06, 1-tail), and a larger percentage of Zx patients experienced clearing of their KVF central scotomas (P = 0.057). The "Faux Placebo" L group was superior in terms of low-contrast visual acuity, CSF, and glare recovery, whereas Zx showed a trend toward significance. CONCLUSION: In older male patients with AMD, Zx-induced foveal MPOD elevation mirrored that of L and provided complementary distinct visual benefits by improving foveal cone-based visual parameters, whereas L enhanced those parameters associated with gross detailed rod-based vision, with considerable overlap between the 2 carotenoids. The equally dosed (atypical dietary ratio) Zx plus L group fared worse in terms of raising MPOD, presumably because of duodenal, hepatic-lipoprotein or retinal carotenoid competition. These results make biological sense based on retinal distribution and Zx foveal predominance.

Optometry. 2011 Nov;82(11):667-80

Augmentation of macular pigment following supplementation with all three macular carotenoids: an exploratory study.

PURPOSE: At the macula, the carotenoids meso-zeaxanthin (MZ), lutein (L), and zeaxanthin (Z) are collectively referred to as macular pigment (MP). This study was designed to measure serum and macular responses to a macular carotenoid formulation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ten subjects were recruited into this study (five normal and five with early age-related macular degeneration [AMD]). Subjects were instructed to consume a formulation containing 7.3 mg of MZ, 3.7 mg of L, and 0.8 mg of Z everyday over an eight-week period. The spatial profile of MP optical density (i.e., MPOD at 0.25 degrees , 0.5 degrees , 1 degrees , and 1.75 degrees ) was measured using customized heterochromatic flicker photometry, and a blood sample was collected at each study visit in order to analyze serum concentrations of MZ, L, and Z. RESULTS: There was a significant increase in serum concentrations of MZ and L after two weeks of supplementation (p < 0.05). Baseline serum carotenoid analysis detected a small peak eluting at the same time as MZ in all subjects, with a mean +/- SD of 0.02 +/- 0.01 micromol/L. We report significant increases in MPOD at 0.25 degrees , 0.5 degrees , 1 degree , and average MPOD across its spatial profile after just two weeks of supplementation (p < 0.05, for all). Four subjects (one normal and three AMD) who had an atypical MPOD spatial profile (i.e., central dip) at baseline had the more typical MPOD spatial profile (i.e., highest MPOD at the center) after eight weeks of supplementation. CONCLUSION: We report significant increases in serum concentrations of MZ and L following supplementation with MZ, L, and Z and a significant increase in MPOD, including its spatial profile, after two weeks of supplementation. Also, this study has detected the possible presence of MZ in human serum pre-supplementation and the ability of the study carotenoid formulation to rebuild central MPOD in subjects who have atypical profiles at baseline.

Curr Eye Res. 2010 Apr;35(4):335-51

Dietary carotenoids, serum beta-carotene, and retinol and risk of lung cancer in the alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene cohort study.

Findings from several beta-carotene supplementation trials were unexpected and conflicted with most observational studies. Carotenoids other than beta-carotene are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables and may play a role in this important malignancy, but previous findings regarding the five major carotenoids are inconsistent. The authors analyzed the associations between dietary beta-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin, lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin, vitamin A, serum beta-carotene, and serum retinol and the lung cancer risk in the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study cohort of male smokers conducted in southwestern Finland between 1985 and 1993. Of the 27,084 male smokers aged 50-69 years who completed the 276-food item dietary questionnaire at baseline, 1,644 developed lung cancer during up to 14 years of follow-up. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate relative risks and 95% confidence intervals. Consumption of fruits and vegetables was associated with a lower lung cancer risk (relative risk = 0.73, 95% confidence interval: 0.62, 0.86, highest vs. lowest quintile). Lower risks of lung cancer were observed for the highest versus the lowest quintiles of lycopene (28%), lutein/zeaxanthin (17%), beta-cryptoxanthin (15%), total carotenoids (16%), serum beta-carotene (19%), and serum retinol (27%). These findings suggest that high fruit and vegetable consumption, particularly a diet rich in carotenoids, tomatoes, and tomato-based products, may reduce the risk of lung cancer.

Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Sep 15;156(6):536-47

Micronutrients and their relevance for the eye—function of lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids.

Micronutrients play an important role in function and health maintenance for the eye. Especially lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids perform remarkable functions: lutein together with zeaxanthin forms the macular pigment, these carotenoids filter out the damaging blue light component from the sunlight as well as the ultraviolet light which leads to improved contrast sensitivity and less problems with screen glare. Furthermore, the macular pigment has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The omega-3 fatty acids also possess anti-inflammatory effects and, when converted into neuroprotectin, they protect against oxidative induced apoptosis in the retina. They are also responsible for the fluidity and supply to the photoreceptor membrane. These properties are important for the prevention and treatment of degenerative eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration. However, older people are often not sufficiently supplied of micronutrients in their diet. Because the supply of nutrients can hardly be achieved by dietary change, the additional intake in the form of food supplements is useful in this age group. Scientific studies have shown the positive effects of supplementation with micronutrients such as lutein/zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid (DHA and EPA). Currently available nutritional products are based in part on the ingredients of the ARED study (Age Related Eye Disease Study). According to more recent studies formulations containing lutein and omega-3 fatty acids in physiologically meaningful doses without additional beta-carotene should be preferred. 10 to 20 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin represent a safe daily dose Regarding to the context above, beta-carotene in high doses plays a minor role to the eye and is especially critical for the health of smokers. This paper summarises the functions of the presented micronutrients in the eye and can assist ophthalmologists in advising their patients.

Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2011 Jun;228(6):537-43

Serum lutein response is greater from free lutein than from esterified lutein during 4 weeks of supplementation in healthy adults.

BACKGROUND: Current data suggest great variability in serum response following lutein ingestion from various sources. OBJECTIVE: To compare the relative serum response during supplementation with free lutein (fL) and lutein esters (Le). METHODS: 72 volunteers (23-52 years; body mass index [BMI] >20 and <30 kg/m2; baseline serum lutein <20 µg/dL [<352 nmol/L]) were identified. Subjects, matched for gender, age, and BMI, were randomly assigned to the fL or Le group. fL and Le capsules contained 12.2 mg of free lutein or 27 mg of lutein ester (equivalent to 13.5 mg free lutein), respectively. Fasting blood was obtained at baseline and after 7, 14, 21, and 28 days of supplementation. Supplements were consumed with standard portions of dry, ready-to-eat cereal and 2% cow's milk. RESULTS: Absolute changes in serum lutein, per mg daily dose, were significantly greater in fL vs. Le after 21 days (p = 0.0012) and remained so after 28 days (p = 0.0011) of supplementation. Serum lutein Area Under the Curve [AUC((day 0-28))] response was 17% greater for fL vs. Le (p = 0.0187). Regression models were used and determined that (1) baseline serum lutein levels and (2) the form of lutein ingested (fL > Le) influence the serum lutein response during supplementation, while subject age, gender, BMI, and serum lipids do not affect serum response. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the relative serum lutein response will be significantly greater from supplements containing free lutein than from supplements containing lutein esters. These findings should be useful for future clinical trials exploring the effectiveness of lutein supplementation in the prevention of or protection against age-related macular degeneration and/or cataracts.

J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Dec;29(6):575-85

Dietary supplementation with a natural carotenoid mixture decreases oxidative stress.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether dietary supplementation with a natural carotenoid mixture counteracts the enhancement of oxidative stress induced by consumption of fish oil. DESIGN: A randomised double-blind crossover dietary intervention. SETTING: Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition, School of Food Biosciences, The University of Reading, Whiteknights PO Box 226, Reading RG6 6AP, UK. SUBJECTS AND INTERVENTION: A total of 32 free-living healthy nonsmoking volunteers were recruited by posters and e-mails in The University of Reading. One volunteer withdrew during the study. The volunteers consumed a daily supplement comprising capsules containing fish oil (4 x 1 g) or fish oil (4 x 1 g) containing a natural carotenoid mixture (4 x 7.6 mg) for 3 weeks in a randomised crossover design separated by a 12 week washout phase. The carotenoid mixture provided a daily intake of beta-carotene (6.0 mg), alpha-carotene (1.4 mg), lycopene (4.5 mg), bixin (11.7 mg), lutein (4.4 mg) and paprika carotenoids (2.2 mg). Blood and urine samples were collected on days 0 and 21 of each dietary period. RESULTS: The carotenoid mixture reduced the fall in ex vivo oxidative stability of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) induced by the fish oil (P=0.045) and it reduced the extent of DNA damage assessed by the concentration of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine in urine (P=0.005). There was no effect on the oxidative stability of plasma ex vivo assessed by the oxygen radical absorbance capacity test. beta-Carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene and lutein were increased in the plasma of subjects consuming the carotenoid mixture. Plasma triglyceride levels were reduced significantly more than the reduction for the fish oil control (P=0.035), but total cholesterol, HDL and LDL levels were not significantly changed by the consumption of the carotenoid mixture. CONCLUSIONS: Consumption of the natural carotenoid mixture lowered the increase in oxidative stress induced by the fish oil as assessed by ex vivo oxidative stability of LDL and DNA degradation product in urine. The carotenoid mixture also enhanced the plasma triglyceride-lowering effect of the fish oil. SPONSORSHIP: The study was supported by funding from the Greek Studentship Foundation and from Unilever Bestfoods plc. Carotenoids were contributed by Overseal Foods plc.

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 Sep;57(9):1135-40

Dietary carotenoid lutein protects against DNA damage and alterations of the redox status induced by cisplatin in human derived HepG2 cells.

Several epidemiological and experimental studies has been reported that lutein (LT) presents antioxidant properties. Aim of the present study was to investigate the protective effects of LT against oxidative stress and DNA damage induced by cisplatin (cDDP) in a human derived liver cell line (HepG2). Cell viability and DNA-damage was monitored by MTT and comet assays. Moreover, different biochemical parameters related to redox status (glutathione, cytochrome-c and intracellular ROS) were also evaluated. A clear DNA-damage was seen with cDDP (1.0µM) treatment. In combination with the carotenoid, reduction of DNA damage was observed after pre- and simultaneous treatment of the cells, but not when the carotenoid was added to the cells after the exposure to cDDP. Exposure of the cells to cDDP also caused significant changes of all biochemical parameters and in co-treatment of the cells with LT, the carotenoid reverted these alterations. The results indicate that cDDP induces pronounced oxidative stress in HepG2 cells that is related to DNA damage and that the supplementation with the antioxidant LT may protect these adverse effects caused by the exposure of the cells to platinum compound, which can be a good predict for chemoprevention.

Toxicol In Vitro. 2012 Mar;26(2):288-94

Cancer chemoprevention by carotenoids.

Carotenoids are natural fat-soluble pigments that provide bright coloration to plants and animals. Dietary intake of carotenoids is inversely associated with the risk of a variety of cancers in different tissues. Preclinical studies have shown that some carotenoids have potent antitumor effects both in vitro and in vivo, suggesting potential preventive and/or therapeutic roles for the compounds. Since chemoprevention is one of the most important strategies in the control of cancer development, molecular mechanism-based cancer chemoprevention using carotenoids seems to be an attractive approach. Various carotenoids, such as β-carotene, a-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin, fucoxanthin, canthaxanthin and astaxanthin, have been proven to have anti-carcinogenic activity in several tissues, although high doses of β-carotene failed to exhibit chemopreventive activity in clinical trials. In this review, cancer prevention using carotenoids are reviewed and the possible mechanisms of action are described.

Molecules. 2012 Mar 14;17(3):3202-42

Dietary lutein inhibits mouse mammary tumor growth by regulating angiogenesis and apoptosis.

Even though we previously reported that dietary lutein can inhibit mammary tumor growth, the mechanism of this action was unknown. Here, we studied the action of dietary lutein through its possible regulation of apoptosis and angiogenesis. Female BALB/c mice were fed a semi-purified diet containing 0 (control), 0.002 or 0.02% lutein (n = 20/treatment) for 2 weeks prior to inoculation with 100,000 -SA mouse mammary tumor cells into the right mammary fat pad. Tumor volume was measured daily until day 50 postinoculation when all mice were killed. Angiogenesis and apoptosis activities in the tumors were measured by immunohistochemistry. Apoptosis and necrosis of blood lymphocytes were quantitated by flow cytometry using Annexin V-FITC and propidium iodide staining. The expression of the p53, Bax and Bcl-2 mRNA was measured by RT-PCR amplification. Lutein was not detectable in the plasma, liver or tumor of unsupplemented mice, but increased in a dose-dependent manner in lutein-supplemented mice. Mice fed lutein had tumors that were 30 to 40% smaller (p < 0.05) on day 50 post-inoculation compared to unsupplemented mice. Final tumor volume was lowest in mice fed 0.002% lutein. Mice fed lutein had higher apoptotic activity in the tumors but lower apoptotic activity in blood lymphocytes as compared to unsupplemented animals. These observations were supported by the observed increase in the expression of the proapoptotic genes, p53 and Bax, together with a decrease in the expression of the antiapoptotic gene, Bcl-2, and consequently an increase in the Bax:Bcl-2 ratio in tumors from lutein-fed mice. Furthermore, lutein-fed mice also had lower (p < 0.05) angiogenic activity in the tumors as compared to unsupplemented mice. The greatest beneficial effect on apoptosis and angiogenesis was observed with mice fed 0.002% lutein. Therefore, dietary lutein, especially at 0.002%, inhibited tumor growth by selectively modulating apoptosis, and by inhibiting angiogenesis.

Anticancer Res. 2003 Jul-Aug;23(4):3333-9

Dietary lutein/zeaxanthin partially reduces photoaging and photocarcinogenesis in chronically UVB-irradiated Skh-1 hairless mice.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are xanthophyll carotenoids with potent antioxidant properties protecting the skin from acute photodamage. This study extended the investigation to chronic photodamage and photocarcinogenesis. Mice received either a lutein/zeaxanthin-supplemented diet or a standard nonsupplemented diet. Dorsal skin of female Skh-1 hairless mice was exposed to UVB radiation with a cumulative dose of 16,000 mJ/cm(2) for photoaging and 30,200 mJ/cm(2) for photocarcinogenesis. Clinical evaluations were performed weekly, and the animals were sacrificed 24 h after the last UVB exposure. For photoaging experiments, skin fold thickness, suprapapillary plate thickness, mast cell counts and dermal desmosine content were evaluated. For photocarcinogenesis, samples of tumors larger than 2 mm were analyzed for histological characterization, hyperproliferation index, tumor multiplicity, total tumor volume and tumor-free survival time. Results of the photoaging experiment revealed that skin fold thickness and number of infiltrating mast cells following UVB irradiation were significantly less in lutein/zeaxanthin-treated mice when compared to irradiated animals fed the standard diet. The results of the photocarcinogenesis experiment were increased tumor-free survival time, reduced tumor multiplicity and total tumor volume in lutein/zeaxanthin-treated mice in comparison with control irradiated animals fed the standard diet. These data demonstrate that dietary lutein/zeaxanthin supplementation protects the skin against UVB-induced photoaging and photocarcinogenesis.

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2007;20(6):283-91