Natural Lutein Esters and 'Free' Lutein Are Equal in Bioavailability According to New Research Presented at Annual American Dietetic Association Conference

October 26, 2003, LaGrange, IL— New research presented today at the annual American Dietetic Association Conference in San Antonio addresses a key question that has created controversy in some industry circles: is there a difference between the bioavailability of natural lutein esters and lutein?

The simple answer is no, according to an abstract* presented by Elizabeth J. Johnson, Ph.D., assistant professor and nutritional biochemist with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Carotenoids and Health Laboratory, at Tufts University. Dr. Johnson led a study to determine differences in the body’s absorption, or bioavailability, of lutein from eggs, spinach, and supplements. Her research found that lutein from eggs is more bioavailable than from spinach or supplements. Further analysis showed that both Cognis’ XANGOLD® natural lutein esters and a competing brand of “free” lutein were equally bioavailable.

“Our studies involving a chronic, oral dose of lutein (6 mg/day for 9 days) found that increases in serum concentrations of lutein were greatest for the lutein dose contained in egg,” Dr. Johnson explained. “The increases in serum lutein were not different among the other lutein doses (spinach, free lutein, lutein esters). The similar results between free lutein and lutein esters suggest that ester hydrolysis is not a limiting step for the absorption of lutein from lutein diesters. These results are consistent with other studies that have used lutein ester supplements and resulted in substantial increases in free lutein concentrations,” she said.

Ten healthy men comprising the study group consumed cooked spinach, eggs, lutein and lutein esters supplements in separate treatment phases. Dr. Johnson measured levels of lutein and triglyceride-rich lipoproteins in their blood serum before, during and after each phase. The study, which was supported by the Egg Nutrition Center, used eggs from chickens that had been fed marigold petals, which are high in lutein.

Scientists are interested in the mechanism by which lutein may prevent certain eye diseases and its potential role as an antioxidant and as a blue light filter to protect the eye from damaging light. Studies have shown that supplementation of lutein esters may lead to an increased concentration of lutein in the eye, which may help maintain healthy vision.

“This research provides additional validation and important information our customers and prospects can use when formulating their products,” said Carrie Potaczek, Cognis’ Product Manager of XANGOLD® natural lutein esters. “Now we have clear evidence that the body digests lutein esters, converting them naturally to release free lutein, which is readily absorbed by the body,” Ms. Potaczek pointed out.

About XANGOLD® Natural Lutein Esters

XANGOLD® is the only source of lutein to complete the Federal Food and Drug Administration’s Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) Notification Process. XANGOLD® natural lutein esters are extracted from marigold flowers that are grown specifically for Cognis. XANGOLD® is available in two forms: a 15% oil for soft gel capsules and 10% micro-encapsulated beadlets for tablets.

For information in North America about XANGOLD® natural lutein esters, please call 800.673.3702 to place an order, e-mail [email protected], or fax 513.482.3576. For information in Europe, call +49.211.7940.9692, e-mail [email protected], or fax +49.211.798.2390. For information in Asia Pacific, call +61.3.9584.4588, e-mail [email protected], or fax +61.3.9584.8348.

About Cognis:
Cognis ( is a worldwide supplier of innovative specialty chemicals and nutritional ingredients with almost 9,000 employees in close to 50 countries. The company has dedicated its activities to a high level of sustainability and delivers natural source raw materials and ingredients for food, nutrition and healthcare markets, and the cosmetics, detergents and cleaners industries. Additionally, Cognis provides solutions for a number of other industries, such as coatings and inks, lubricants, textiles and plastics, as well as agriculture and mining.

Cognis is owned by private equity advised by Permira, GS Capital Partners, and Schroder Ventures Life Sciences. In 2002, Cognis recorded sales of 3.1 billion euros and an operating profit before depreciation, amortization and exceptional items (EBITDA recurring) of 393 million euros. A turnover of 1.5 billion euros was achieved in the first six months of 2003.

Cognis Nutrition & Health, a business unit of Cognis Group, provides antioxidant (including natural vegetable sterol esters), botanical and nature-based ingredients for dietary supplements; pharmaceuticals and healthcare; functional foods and medical nutrition; and animal nutrition. As a leader in food technology, Cognis manufactures emulsifiers, emulsifier-based compounds, and numerous other specialty products for the food industry worldwide.


*”Carotenoid Response to Chronic, Oral Dose of Lutein in Human Serum”

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