OmniActive Health Technologies’ (Morristown, NJ) recent B.L.U.E. study showed that the three macular carotenoids found its Lutemax 2020 ingredient—lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin—may improve visual performance and reduce the negative effects associated with excessive digital screen time. At this year’s SupplySide West show, OmniActive spoke with Nutritional Outlook about how Lutemax’s benefits go way beyond visual health. With new consumer-focused marketing campaigns geared toward need, rather than prevention, OmniActive is getting the word out about Lutemax’s mood, stress, and even sleep benefits.
According to the company, lutein and zeaxanthin isomers are “natural filters of high-energy blue light.” The short-term effects of excessive exposure to blue light, the company said, include eye strain and eye fatigue. The long-term effects could potentially include a progressive loss of visual function. In the B.L.U.E. study,1 researchers supplemented healthy, young adults, who spent at least six hours per day in front of a digital screen, with either 24 mg/day of Lutemax 2020 or the equivalent dose of a placebo. The study authors found that subjects given Lutemax 2020 showed improvements in visual performance, processing speed, and photostress recovery. An additional benefit, however, was discovered in the process. Subjects supplemented with Lutemax also slept better. Brian Appell, marketing manager, OmniActive, told Nutritional Outlook at SupplySide West that sleep quality is a promising area for future research.
The company also discussed findings from its recent study on lutein’s potential effect on BDNF—or brain-derived neurotropic factor—levels. As Appell explained at the show, BDNF is a “compound found in your brain that’s associated with everything…from long- and short-term memory to learning. They call it cognitive function, executive function.” Essentially, Appell said, these are the parameters that affect how the brain works. He continued: “For people under stress, BDNF levels go down significantly, and they’re finding that people with lower BDNF levels have associated effects such as cognitive deficiencies or brain fog.”
In the BDNF study, subjects filled out questionnaires wherein they recorded their perceived stress levels, mood, and overall feeling of wellbeing. In addition to the subjective questionnaires, researchers also measured the subjects’ cortisol levels. The study authors found that the group supplemented with Lutemax 2020 demonstrated a 50% reduction in cortisol levels. In other words, they were less stressed.
With an array of recent research hot off the press, OmniActive said it is focusing on honing its marketing message—both to its customers and to consumers. Appell stressed that now, it’s about tweaking the message from prevention to need.
“We’re looking at it from a perspective of, yes, we have to educate consumers on the visual-health aspect of it…but also looking at those other aspects that are as important, or more relevant, to consumers,” he said. “Trying to create some different markets that are more relevant to consumers.” The sleep-quality aspect may resonate with some consumers, for example, while others may be interested in Lutemax’s potential to improve mood.
Appell explained that with consumer-focused marketing campaigns like the company’s What’s Your B.L.U.E. campaign, which analyzes users’ screen use and blue light exposure, and Lutein for Every Age campaign, which provides information on lutein’s various health benefits at different stages of life, OmniActive hopes to create buzz around Lutemax 2020 and educate both consumers and customers along the way.
He continued: “Mom and kid, millennial and device use. It’s effective to a point, so now we’re adding another layer to say it’s good for prevention but also that it’s really good for you right now.”
- Stringham JM et al., “Macular carotenoid supplementation improves visual performance, sleep quality, and adverse physical symptoms in those with high screen time exposure.” Foods. Published online June 29, 2017.