Researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in North Chicago discovered that zeaxanthin supplementation improves visual acuity, shape discrimination and, when combined with lutein, significantly reduces time recovery from glare. The study, titled “The Zeaxanthin and Visual Function Study (ZVF),” was sponsored by Chrysantis™ Inc. and was presented May 2 at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthamology (ARVO) 2010 conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
The ZVF clinical trial was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study that followed 60 people with early Age Related Macular Degeneration for 12 months. AMD is a progressive eye condition that attacks the macula of the eye, where the sharpest central vision occurs. Although it rarely results in complete blindness, it robs a person suffering from AMD of all but the outermost peripheral vision, leaving only dim images or black holes at the center of vision.
Results from the ZVF study prove that zeaxanthin (zee-uh-zan’-thin) has unique visual properties separate from lutein and could help people afflicted with AMD by protecting the macula and strengthening it. The 25 patients receiving daily zeaxanthin supplementation not only showed an increased concentration in their Macular Pigment, but also saw a statistically significant improvement in Foveal Shape Discrimination and their Kinetic Visual Field under low contrast. Most importantly, when asked about specific improvements in their vision, they reported a definitive improvement in their driving performance. This improvement almost reached statistical significance.
“This is the first study that has looked into what is the exact role of zeaxanthin in visual health,” says Phil Gowaski, Sales and Marketing Manager for Chrysantis, Inc. “The results of the clinical trial sponsored by Chrysantis show how zeaxanthin supplementation can influence some of the most basic activities in our every day lives.” Chrysantis Inc. harvests Xanthophyll (zan-tho-phil) Marigolds, which naturally produce zeaxanthin and lutein. Made into dietary supplements, these substances can help keep eyes healthy by keeping high carotenoid levels in the macula of the eye.
Zeaxanthin’s ability to improve the different visual aspects that are critical to driving could have a very positive impact on road safety in general and on quality of life for seniors in particular, as it could allow them to be independent longer.
Dr. Stuart Richer, OD, PhD, the main researcher in this trial, says that zeaxanthin effects over visual function make biological sense based on zeaxanthin's distribution in the retina. Zeaxanthin is found in very low levels in certain foods, including corn, green leafy vegetables and oranges; supplementation is important for the body to have enough of the compound to reap the benefits. Dr. Richer will be presenting the findings of the ZVF study at conferences throughout the country this year.
“We anticipate the publication of further studies that corroborate the association between zeaxanthin and the visual functions mostly involved in driving,” says Gowaski. “The range of potential benefits of zeaxanthin in eye health for the general population is truly exciting.”
Chrysantis, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Ball Horticultural Company based in West Chicago, Ill., is dedicated to developing high-quality plant-based products for dietary supplement manufacturers and the functional foods industry that will enhance human health. Family-owned Ball Horticultural Company has been researching, breeding and selling the highest-quality flower seed varieties for 100 years. For more information, call 630 588-3474 or visit www.Chrysantis.com.