West Chicago, IL (July 14, 2005) – On July 13, results of a study published in the Journal of Nutrition (135:1763-1769, July 2005) were interpreted by some journalists to indicate that lutein and zeaxanthin increase the risk for myocardial infarctus (heart attack). Chrysantis™, Inc., the maker of the only natural zeaxanthin on the market, takes exception to that conclusion.
Says Chrysantis General Manager Manuel Pavon, “Given the increased popularity of dietary supplements containing these carotenoids, the number of people that could develop Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) over the next few years and our own efforts to promote EZ Eyes™ natural zeaxanthin to preserve eye health, it was important for us to look closely at the findings of the study.” He goes on to say, “Having carefully read it, we believe that the representation of the conclusions of the study was inaccurate.”
The authors of the study found that the association between dietary lutein and zeaxanthin and the risk of a heart attack was not significant. “Not significant” means that a conclusion cannot be made that lutein and zeaxanthin do increase the risk of a heart attack.
The authors did find that there was a trend for increased risk only in the 5th quartile of the population they studied (1456 residents of Costa Rica), suggesting that the risk might increase only after a threshold intake or tissue concentration. According to Pavon, “The authors do not explain what that threshold is or what the causes could be for such a tissue concentration, even though we know that adipose tissue acts as a sink for both lutein and zeaxanthin.”
The authors also found that cooked spinach and yellow squash were associated with the trend for increased risk. They recognize that the explanation for this observation is complex and suggested one possible explanation that these foods could be associated with agricultural pesticides, since hazardous pesticides have been detected in spinach, yellow squash, sweet potatoes and other vegetables both in the US and in Costa Rica. These foods are among the major dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin in Costa Rica.
“What, then, should be the take home message from this particular study?” asks Pavon. “If anything, that if you have already suffered a heart attack and you live in Costa Rica, you should avoid cooked spinach and yellow squash.
For more information:
Suzanne Shelton 847-676-4337