Study Shows Lutein Supplement Helps With Retinitis Pigmentosa

A new study was published online in the Archives of Ophthalmology that offers new hope for the prevention of visual field loss in patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa. 

In this randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study conducted by lead author Eliot Berson, M.D.,  225 non-smoking patients aged 18-60 years with retinitis pigmentosa received either 12 mg of FloraGLO lutein or a placebo tablet daily.  All patients received 15,000 IU/day of vitamin A and throughout the study period were advised to eat 1 to 2 servings of oily fish per week to increase their intake of long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

During the 4 years of supplementation, a decline in visual field area was apparent in all patients. However, a significantly lower decline was observed in the group supplemented with 12 mg/day lutein, compared to the placebo group.  The overall decline in combined central and midperipheral visual fields was slowest in patients with the highest serum lutein levels or with the highest increase in macular pigment optical density. The authors estimated that the benefit of lutein supplementation on the long-term course of midperipheral visual field among RP patients also taking vitamin A and eating an oily fish diet would be 3 to 10 years of protection against further loss of sight. No adverse effects of lutein supplementation were noted during the 4 years of supplementation.

Retinitis pigmentosa is the name of a group of inherited eye diseases which results in poor night vision in adolescence, and the loss of side (midperipheral and far peripheral) vision in adulthood with tunnel vision as the outcome.  As this disease progresses, patients loose their central vision by 60 years of age. Retinitis pigmentosa has a prevalence of 1 in 4,000 people and an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people are affected in the United States.

For this study, DSM Nutritional Products supplied the lutein tablets which contained FloraGLO Lutein and used the Actilease, technology in order to increase the bioavailability of lutein.

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