First children’s study on lutein, zeaxanthin for eye health: 2023 SupplySide West Report


OmniActive Health Technologies is now touting this new study on its Lutemax 2020 ingredient in its renewed “Lutein for Every Age” campaign.

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Photo ©

Lutein and zeaxanthin are legacy eye-health ingredients in the adult-supplements realm, most notably studied in the National Eye Institute’s Age-Related Eye Disease Studies AREDS and AREDS2 on macular degeneration in older adults. But lutein and zeaxanthin have not yet been studied clinically in children—until now.

During October’s SupplySide West trade show, OmniActive Health Technologies (Bridgewater, NJ) discussed a brand new study conducted in children on the company’s Lutemax 2020 ingredient, which blends lutein and zeaxanthin isomers. The study has been submitted for publication, the firm says.

First Study in Children

The six-month supplementation study included 60 children aged 5-12 years. Test subjects were given a Lutemax 2020 gummy supplement containing 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin isomers. The subjects were children who were exposed to a minimum of four hours of digital device use per day. (Among their benefits, lutein and zeaxanthin have been shown to help filter blue light, thereby helping to mitigate eye strain and eye fatigue resulting from staring at digital screens.)

At SupplySide West, Deshanie Rai, PhD, the company’s vice president of global scientific and regulatory affairs, explained what the researchers found. First, she said, Lutemax 2020 in gummy form was shown to be bioavailable, as the presence of lutein and zeaxanthin could be measured in the blood stream of the children who took the supplement. Secondly, lutein and zeaxanthin were shown to increase directly in the eye, a conclusion drawn by measuring subjects’ macular pigment optical density (MPOD). Thirdly, Lutemax 2020 subjects exhibited less eye strain and eye fatigue following blue light exposure.

Finally, Lutemax 2020 was shown to positively impact children’s brain function. First, visual processing speed increased in supplemented subjects. Visual processing speed indicates how quickly “the optic nerve works with your photoreceptors to perceive information, translate that into an image, and help the individual respond to that image,” Rai explained. The fact that Lutemax 2020 supplement was associated with this improvement “makes perfect sense given the fact that the retina is so closely located to the optic nerve; hence, there’s this tight eye-brain connection. They’re constantly talking to each other. So we were able to demonstrate the phenomenon even in kids,” she said. Secondly, Rai said, the children supplemented with Lutemax 2020 showed increases in focus, concentration, and in visual, spatial, and episodic memory.

In all, she said, “Our data corroborates existing epidemiological data demonstrating the connection between lutein and zeaxanthin levels in the blood with MPOD and indirectly with cognitive performance.”

These vision performance and cognitive health improvements have been shown in Lutemax 2020 studies in adults. But this new study is significant because it’s the first to clinically explore the benefits in children. In fact, said Rai, “It is the very first study we are aware of in the public domain on lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation in children.”

Of note, the dose of Lutemax 2020 in the children’s study (10 mg of lutein, 2 mg of zeaxanthin isomers) is lower than the dose used in Lutemax 2020 adult studies (20 mg of lutein, 4 mg of zeaxanthin isomers). “And there was a good rationale for that,” Rai explained. “We correlated the dose with what children would typically achieve should they be eating the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Lutein and zeaxanthin are abundant in certain fruits and vegetables. Based on the recommended number of servings of these fruits and vegetables, as per the Institute of Medicine, that comes out to be about 10 to 20 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin in children.”

Benefits for Young and Old

With this new data in hand, the company is renewing its “Lutein for Every Age” marketing campaign in which the company touts the benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin for a wide range of age groups, from old—and now with this new study—to young.

“The genesis for reinvigorating this campaign now is the kids’ study,” affirmed Sarah Sullivan, head of customer marketing, OmniActive Health Technologies, at SupplySide West. She added that in a consumer survey OmniActive commissioned of 2000 U.S. parents, 6 out of 10 parents ranked eye health as the number-one health concern for their children today given today’s high rates of screen time.

This new study now fills in “the missing gap in terms of clinical relevance in children and teenagers” of Lutemax 2020, Rai said at SupplySide West. It also expands the company’s own knowledge about how to position the ingredient for children.

Said Rai: “I want to give credit to the science and all the academic investigators who invested so much in understanding the relevance of lutein and zeaxanthin, because a lot of that exists already in the public domain in terms of why they are important, not just for adults but even in children…I think what our study did was really come full circle in taking all of that information and putting it into experiential outcomes. It’s not just in writing anymore. It’s now a clinically demonstrated benefit. So yes, I believe our study has pushed that research agenda and given us more confidence in not just the relevance of lutein and zeaxanthin but how much they should be supplemented with, either through the diet or through supplementation.”

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