Lutein and Zeaxanthin Isomers Help Reduce Stress in New Study

Lutein and zeaxanthin isomers are powerful antioxidants that specifically deposit in the neural tissues of the eyes and brain. Lutein and zeaxanthin are especially concentrated in the eye’s central retina, where they form the macular pigment, and have been proven critical to visual function. In fact, macular pigment optical density (MPOD) is thought to be a good indicator of the body’s supply of lutein and zeaxanthin and has been shown to be significantly correlated with brain levels of lutein and zeaxanthin.

Researchers at the University of Georgia (Athens, GA) recently published a study that found that macular carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin isomers may help to lower psychological stress levels and reduce serum cortisol. Chronic stress affects millions of people worldwide and has been linked to a variety of health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and anxiety. These results come part of the LAMA II (Lutein, Vision, and Mental Acuity II) study and are now published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.1

In this study, the researchers sought to determine whether there is a link between MPOD and psychological stress level, serum cortisol, and symptoms of suboptimal emotional and physical health. Suboptimal mental conditions such as anxiety and depression are both greatly impacted by stress, indicating that although the two are discrete disorders, they share a common root in psychological stress. While lutein and zeaxanthin isomers have previously proven beneficial to eye health, the researchers hoped that the LAMA II study would show the extent to which lutein and zeaxanthin isomers might relieve psychological stress.

Fifty-nine healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 25 participated in the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled LAMA II study in which the study authors measured blood cortisol, psychological stress ratings, behavioral measures of mood, and symptoms of suboptimal health. Measurements were recorded at beginning of the study, at six months, and after one year of daily supplementation with either a placebo or one of two doses of Lutemax 2020, OmniActive Health Technologies Inc.’s (Mumbai, India) proprietary ingredient combining lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin. Test subjects were given either 13 mg/day Lutemax 2020 (comprising 10 mg lutein plus 2 mg zeaxanthin) or 27 mg/day Lutemax 2020 (comprising 20 mg lutein plus 4 mg of zeaxanthin).

MPOD increased significantly from baseline to six months, and from six months to one year, in both 13 and 27 mg/day Lutemax 2020 groups. In addition, both groups exhibited significantly lower serum cortisol scores and numbers of suboptimal health symptoms compared to the placebo group, with the higher 27-mg/day group experiencing an even greater increase in MPOD and a sharper decrease in serum cortisol and other suboptimal health symptoms. For the placebo group, no significant changes were observed in any measure over the course of the 12-month study. Overall, supplementation of both doses of Lutemax 2020 for six months significantly improved psychological stress, serum cortisol, and measures of emotional and physical health compared to placebo, which was either maintained or further improved after an additional six months.

“This compelling research demonstrates the expanded benefits of supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin isomers to help address the huge public health concern surrounding elevated stress and cortisol levels,” said Abhijit Bhattacharya, president of OmniActive Health Technologies, in a press release.

While the LAMA II study is an early analysis of the benefits of macular carotenoids for stress and anxiety relief (the study group was fairly homogenous, and none of the subjects were diagnosed with depression or anxiety), Bhattacharya said, “The results of LAMA II serve as a strong foundation on which new macular carotenoids science can be built.”

Last November, LAMA II study researchers reported separate findings from the vision arm of the study. In that arm, researchers found that Lutemax 2020 improved photostress recovery and glare performance.


Zinc Helps Shorten the Common Cold

Posted on May 3, 2017 by in Top Headlines

There is no significant difference between zinc acetate lozenges and zinc gluconate lozenges regarding their efficacy in shortening the duration of common colds according to a meta-analysis published in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Open. Seven randomized trials with zinc acetate and  found that the duration of colds was shortened on average by 33 percent.

Zinc lozenges appear to influence the common cold through the release of free zinc ions into the oro-pharyngeal region. However, zinc ions can bind tightly to various chemical complexes in such a way that little or no free zinc ions are released. Previously zinc lozenges containing citric acid were shown to be ineffective in treating colds because citric acid binds zinc ions very tightly and no free zinc is released.

In the meta-analysis, Dr. Harri Hemilä from the University of Helsinki, Finland, collected randomized trials on zinc acetate and zinc gluconate lozenges and compared their observed efficacies. Three trials had used zinc acetate lozenges and found that colds were shortened on average by 40 percent. Four trials had used zinc gluconate lozenges and colds were shortened on average by 28 percent. The 12 percent difference between the average effects of the two kinds of lozenges was explained purely by random variation. Furthermore, one of the zinc gluconate lozenge trials was an outlier inconsistent with all the other six zinc lozenge trials. If that outlier trial was excluded, the difference between the three zinc acetate and the three zinc gluconate trials shrunk to just 2 percent, i.e., a 40 vs. 38 percent reduction in common cold duration. Thus, properly composed zinc gluconate lozenges may be as effective as zinc acetate lozenges.

Dr. Hemilä also analyzed the dose response relationship between the elemental zinc dose and the observed efficacy in reducing common cold duration. There was no difference in the efficacy between five trials that used 80 to 92 mg of zinc per day and the two trials that used 192 and 207 mg of zinc per day. Thus, zinc doses of more than 100 mg per day do not seem to provide any more benefit.

According to Dr. Hemilä, there is no justification for the popular phrase that “there is no cure for the common cold” because of the strong evidence that zinc lozenges can shorten common cold duration by more than 30 percent. However, in future studies the optimal composition of zinc lozenges should be investigated. The optimum frequency of their administration also warrants further investigation. Nevertheless, he also considers that “the current evidence of efficacy for zinc lozenges is so strong that common cold patients should be encouraged to try them for treating their colds, but the patients should ascertain that the lozenges do not contain citric acid or its salt citrate.”

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