For a health ingredient to be effective it must first be absorbed by the body and then be shown to produce a benefit. In his presentation at the Vitafoods International Supplier Seminar Theatre today (Wednesday, May 9), Holger Becker, Ph.D., cited two new studies which strengthen existing scientific evidence on the bioavailability and efficacy of Xangoldâ natural lutein esters.
Previously published research has shown that lutein from lutein esters is well absorbed by the body and that esterification does not impair lutein bioavailability in humans. The first study presented by Dr. Becker, Global Product Line Manager for Xangoldâ, demonstrates why this might be the case.
“We know that the body digests and absorbs fat-soluble dietary compounds -- like lutein esters -- as part of the normal, multi-stage digestive process”, said Dr. Becker. “Lutein esters are broken apart, releasing the ‘free’ lutein for absorption into the bloodstream. New research by Peter Molnar suggests that this multi-stage process – which some have suggested can impair bioavailability of compounds in ester form – may in fact, do the opposite”, he said.
The research led by Dr Molnar, from the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Chemistry, University of Pécs in Hungary, used a laboratory model to mimic the acidic environment of the human stomach.
Molnar and his colleagues found that when lutein is taken in the unesterified or ‘free’ form, it is more prone to degradation in the stomach, which means that the amount reaching the intestine for absorption into the bloodstream is likely to be reduced.1 They explain: “It is predicted on the basis of these results that only ingested lutein ester (fruits, dietary supplements) reaches the intestinal tract intact, whilst a large proportion of ingested unesterified lutein (green vegetables, dietary supplements) is decomposed before reaching the intestinal absorption sites.
Results from the second study, published recently in Experimental Eye Research, showed that a daily supplement of 12 mg lutein from Xangold(R) natural lutein esters increases macular pigment density in adults with early-stage Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
The so-called LUNA study was conducted by ophthalmologist Dr. Meike Trieschmann, who said: “A significant augmentation of macular pigment density was found in a majority of study subjects, including those afflicted with AMD. The importance of these findings rests on the fact that the beneficial effects of these antioxidants can also be extended to subjects with established disease.” 2
The food supplement used in the study consisted of 12 mg lutein and 1 mg zeaxanthin, both provided in the ester form as Xangoldâ, 120 mg vitamin C, 17.6 mg vitamin E, 10 mg zinc and 40 µg selenium.
Dr. Holger Becker commented: “These two studies add significant new data to the already substantial body of evidence that supports Xangoldâ natural lutein esters. They endorse our claim that Xangoldâ offers customers the gold standard for success in the growing eye health category.”
1 Molnar P et al., In vitro degradation of lutein but not lutein ester by gastric pH. Carotenoid Science 2006;10:1-5. The study was a direct comparison of lutein esters (76% lutein ester extract, INEXA) and free lutein (prepared from lutein esters by saponification based on previously published methods, Molnar et al 1979).
2 Trieschmann, M. et al., Changes in macular pigment optical density and serum concentrations of its constituent carotenoids following supplemental lutein and zeaxanthin: The LUNA study, Exp. Eye. Res. 2007;84:718-728
Cognis is a worldwide supplier of innovative specialty chemicals and nutritional ingredients. The company employs about 8,000 people, and it operates production sites and service centers in 30 countries. Cognis 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. Another main focus is on products for a number of other industries, such as coatings and inks, lubricants, textiles, as well as agriculture and mining. The company holds a 50-percent stake in the joint venture Cognis Oleochemicals, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of natural-source oleochemical basestocks.
Cognis is owned by private equity funds advised by Permira, GS Capital Partners, and SV Life Sciences. In 2006, Cognis recorded sales of 3.37 billion euros and an Adjusted EBITDA (operating result) of 394 million euros.