February 22, 2013
Though carotenoids are often associated with age-related eye health, consumers are understanding carotenoids' widespread benefits, partially thanks to new ingredient combinations and carotenoid-inclusive multivitamins.
Recently, carotenoid companies have experienced a surge in interest as consumers take a proactive approach to well-being, whether eye-related or otherwise. "Consumers are looking beyond age-related eye concerns and showing greater interesting in healthy eyes over a lifetime," said Hiren Doshi, OmniActive vice president. And this lifetime starts before birth.
Alex Fink, health marketing director, Kemin Industries, said the prenatal vitamin and infant nutrition segments have presented new opportunities for carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin. "There's new interest in lutein for infant neural and eye development based on recent research documenting lutein's selective uptake in the infant brain," she said, noting the presence of highly concentrated deposits of lutein and zeaxanthin in a developing baby's retina, occipital lobe, hippocampus and frontal cortex.
And recently, more multivitamins are including carotenoids, leading to increased demand and sales in general, said Joseph Moritz, carotenoids product manager, BASF. "We've seen excellent growth in recent years in large part because of increasing multivitamin sales."
Doshi echoed the sentiment, explaining multivitamins and vitamin kits now feature eye health ingredients such as beta-carotene and lutein in more efficacious dosages. What was once an afterthought is becoming a staple component in vitamin regimens.
But even as carotenoids creep into the daily lineup, Doshi and others agreed: "The future growth of carotenoids is dependent on continuing consumer education on the nutritional relevance of these crucial carotenoids.
The future of carotenoids is in the synergistic effects of combination formulations, according to LycoRed.
"We're finding the effect of carotenoids working together is fairly dramatic, in efficacy that has never been attributed to carotenoids before," explained Doug Lynch, vice president of business development and new product marketing, LycoRed. "Selective carotenoids work incredibly well with others, and in surprising ways."
Lynch offered the example of lutein. Using a mouse model, Israeli researchers combined lutein, lycopene, beta-carotene and carnosic acid to monitor their anti-inflammatory effects. Published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine in October 2012, the scientists noted an "immediate, efficient and synergistic inhibition" of superoxide production, leading to decreased inflammation (Free Radic Biol Med. 2012 Oct 1;53(7):1381-91).
By itself, lutein has little anti-inflammatory benefit, Lynch said. "But, we find, when we combine lutein with lycopene, several markers for anti-inflammation are significantly impacted."
SupplySide Community Supplements: Eye Health
In January's SupplySide Community supplements discussion, experts set their sights on eye health. Slowly but surely, eye health is moving from an obscure niche category to one of more traditional wellness, especially as consumers look to round out their supplement regimen. Visit SupplySide Community to take a hard look at the hard facts driving vision supplements and their consumers, including these reports:
How to maintain healthy eyes over a lifetime, including compelling and underwhelming supplements for the job.
Tips to protect dry eyes from a digital world.
An in-depth review of retinal pigments, which act as a natural sunscreen against oxidative stress.
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