Bioavailability of Lutein
It is confusing for patients when trying to purchase supplements for their eyes and their vision. Lack of knowledge in the ophthalmic area is commonplace and consumers are easy prey for unprofessional and unethical companies whose only agenda may be corporate profit.
The end result can be loss of vision, which could have easily been prevented by appropriate specialized products.
There are potential problems with many of the ocular supplements available in retail stores. Many products on the store shelves, especially in discount stores, contain a brand of lutein which may not be bioavailable or beneficial.
As a result, they will not be effective and patients will be at high risk of losing vision.
Bioavailability simply refers to the amount of a nutrient that is actually absorbed from a supplement.
Lutein, zeaxanthin and mesozeaxanthin are vital nutrients for retinal health. There are several different brands of lutein available for use in supplements and each brand has its own unique properties. Lutein exists in two different chemical forms, esterifed and non-esterified molecular forms.
The majority of the research regarding lutein and vision has been done with FloraGLO® Lutein brand of lutein, a non-esterified form of lutein, which is the natural form found in nature. It is extracted from the flowers of the marigold plant.
There are less expensive brands of lutein which have become available and the products using them are much cheaper, however, they may not be effective. There are no evidence-based studies showing they are bioavailable or absorbable, which means they would not be effective and patients will lose vision needlessly.
Lutein Esters Are Not Bioavailable
The lutein ester molecule is not bioavailable and cannot be absorbed. Only free, non-esterified lutein can be absorbed and is the only form found in the blood. Even if a product contains high levels of lutein esters, it may not be effective.
Non-esterified Lutein May Not Be Bioavailable
Several different brands of non-esterified lutein are also available, but they may not be effective either. Most of them do not have clinical trials demonstrating they are bioavailable, or even get deposited in the macular area. In fact, some have been shown to have very little bioavailability, and are therefore questionable if they provide any benefit. In one study, FloraGLO® Lutein showed approximately five times the bioavailability over another non-esterified lutein brand.
1 FloraGLO® Lutein is the only brand proven to be effective and that is why it is the Standard of Care for maintaining vision.
Lutein & Mesozeaxanthin
Bioavailability of lutein is also important because mesozeaxanthin is created in the macular area of the retina from the conversion of lutein. Research has shown that some of the lutein that accumulates in the macular area is chemically converted into mesozeaxanthin, which only exists in the central macular area.
2 If the brand of lutein used in a supplement has a low bioavailability, it will not accumulate in the macular area, and there will be a deficiency of mesozeaxanthin as well as lutein. Therefore, lutein accounts for two out of the three carotenoids found in the macular area, so a highly bioavailable brand of lutein is doubly important.
Nutrients Are Not Required To Be Bioavailable Under FDA Rules & Regulations
When you take a supplement, if the nutrients are not absorbed by the digestive tract, they cannot produce any desirable effects. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate or mandate that nutrients in supplements have to be bioavailable or functional. This is a major concern with nutraceutical supplements. This is why manufacturers can use cheap, non-functional ingredients which are not bioavailable, still meet label claims, but avoid any FDA regulatory actions against them. This is unsettling news for consumers who are virtually helpless. People buy products in good faith, believing they are safeguarding their vision, but unfortunately the products may not be effective and they will lose vision.
Reputable manufacturers will clearly state on their label what brand and/or molecular form of lutein is in their product. If a product label simply indicates “Lutein”, it could be any brand and may not be effective. The Age Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2), sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is using 10 mg of non-esterified lutein per dose from FloraGLO® Lutein, which is the leading brand recommended by doctors, and is regarded as the Standard of Care for supplements. Be sure and look for the FloraGLO® logo on your supplement label.
MAXIVISION® and MAXITEARS®, manufactured by MedOp Inc, are specialized products guaranteed to meet or exceed the Standard of Care. These products are designed and created by eye doctors and researchers to be the highest quality and the most effective products available. They contain the same brand of nutrients that are being used in the ongoing National Institutes of Health Age Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2 study). The MAXIVISION® product line contains products ranging from essential to comprehensive and MAXITEARS® is a high level omega-3 source with additional nutrients targeting dry eye conditions.
MedOp has established an irrefutable leading edge reputation by providing the most effective, highest quality professional products, with no side effects, no contraindications with systemic medications or smokers, and very cost effective prices.
Our office is proud to recommend these proven products for your ocular and overall health. If you have any questions or need any information, please contact our office.