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Ingredients > Antioxidants/carotenoids

Letter to the editor – Eye health nutrients

Kemin: 'Statement that all three carotenoids found in the macula may be needed in a formulation is premature'

1 commentBy Richard Roberts, PhD; Justin Green, PhD; Samanta Maci, MS. Kemin , 23-Jan-2013

Kemin: 'Statement that all three carotenoids found in the macula may be needed in a formulation is premature'

The statement by eye health researchers that all three carotenoids found in the macula may be needed in a formulation to boost levels of these carotenoids in the macula is 'premature', say leading scientists from Kemin.

In response to the letter to the editor posted yesterday from Dr John Nolan and Prof Stephen Beatty , Kemin's Richard Roberts, PhD, Justin Green, PhD, and Samanta Maci, MS, submitted the following letter. To help further this debate, we have published the letter in full: 

To the editor: An increase in serum lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin does not necessarily correlate to an increase in macular pigment

Kemin continues to support the position that the statement published in January 15, 2013, edition of NutraIngredients saying that “a combination of all three carotenoids – lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin – may be needed in a formulation to boost levels of carotenoids in the macula” is not supported by the study reported in the Meagher, et al. article entitled “Serum response to supplemental macular carotenoids in subjects with and without age-related macular degeneration.”1

There is no demonstration in this study that increasing serum levels of carotenoids lutein (L), zeaxanthin (Z) and meso-zeaxanthin (MZ) will boost levels of the same carotenoids in the macula. Since serum levels were the only results presented, it is impossible to relate those results to macular levels. In order to support the assertion that increasing serum levels of carotenoids will boost levels of the same carotenoids in the macula, one must evaluate the macular pigment levels following supplementation with a MZ-only formulation. To date, this research has not been conducted.

Kemin continues to emphasize that MZ is not found in the normal human diet and that the MZ in the macula is produced by the body from the L that is in the diet. As stated in the Meagher, et al., article, “MZ has yet to be found in a typical diet in large amounts”. The Rasmussen, et al., paper, as cited by Dr. J. Nolan and Prof. S Beatty, clearly confirmed that MZ is not present in the foods analyzed except for one egg, possibly originating from Mexico where MZ is sometimes added to poultry rations as a colorant. As stated in the Rasmussen paper, “foods do not appear to be the source of MZ in the macula in the US”. MZ found in supplements is not extracted as MZ from a natural source. It is produced through an intentional industrial chemical alteration of lutein, which can impact the regulatory status of this ingredient.

Kemin’s position is that the Meagher article does not demonstrate a direct correlation between the serum levels of L, Z, and MZ and the amount of macular pigment. Thus, the statement that all three carotenoids found in the macula may be needed in a formulation to boost levels of these carotenoids in the macula is premature.

Reference

1. Meagher K, Thurnham D, Beatty S, Howard A., Connolly E, Cummins W, and Nolan J. (2012) Serum response to supplemental macular carotenoids in subjects with and without age-relatedd macular degeneration. Br J Nutr. doi:10.1017/S0007114512004837.

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1 comment (Comments are now closed)

The 3 macular carotenoids are required to enrich macular pigment and optimise vision

We note with interest the most recent response posted by Kemin “Kemin: ‘Statement that all three carotenoids found in the macula may be needed in a formulation is premature’.

The Kemin employees again have made several statements in their response that are not true. Indeed, they make reference to only one of the seventeen cited studies in our original response. We enclose below all these peer-reviewed published studies for clarity.

Importantly, these Kemin employees failed to acknowledge the published studies by Loughman J et al 2012 (The impact of macular pigment augmentation on visual performance using different carotenoid formulations. IOVS) and Nolan JM et al 2012 (Macular carotenoid supplementation in subjects with atypical spatial profiles of macular pigment. Exp Eye Res.) when they say that no study has investigated macular pigment response to an MZ-only formulation. Please read these studies.

I would be happy to send Dr. Roberts, Dr. Green and Ms. Maci a copy of these papers for educational purposes. Please email such a request to jmnolan@wit.ie.
I am pleased that this debate has taken place in the interest of scientific progression.

Regards, Dr. John Nolan

1. Loughman J, Nolan JM, Howard AN, Connolly E, Meagher K, Beatty S. The impact of macular pigment augmentation on visual performance using different carotenoid formulations. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012:iovs-10690v1.
2. Beatty S, Chakravarthy U, Nolan JM, et al. Secondary Outcomes in a Clinical Trial of Carotenoids with Coantioxidants versus Placebo in Early Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Ophthalmology. 2012:10.
3. Trieschmann M, Beatty S, Nolan JM, 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.
4. Hammond CJ, Liew SM, van Kuijk FJ, et al. The Heritability of Macular Response to Supplemental Lutein and Zeaxanthin: a Classical Twin Study. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012.
5. Nolan JM, Loughman J, Akkali MC, et al. The impact of macular pigment augmentation on visual performance in normal subjects: COMPASS. Vision Res. 2011.
6. Schalch W, Cohn W, Barker FM, et al. Xanthophyll accumulation in the human retina during supplementation with lutein or zeaxanthin - the LUXEA (LUtein Xanthophyll Eye Accumulation) study. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2007;458:128-135.
7. Bone RA, Landrum JT, Cao Y, Howard AN, varez-Calderon F. Macular pigment response to a supplement containing meso-zeaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2007;4:12.:12.
8. Connolly EE, Beatty S, Thurnham DI, et al. Augmentation of macular pigment following supplementation with all three macular carotenoids: an exploratory study. Curr Eye Res. 2010;35:335-351.
9. Nolan JM, Akkali MC, Loughman J, Howard AN, Beatty S. Macular carotenoid supplementation in subjects with atypical spatial profiles of macular pigment. Exp Eye Res. 2012.
10. Connolly EE, Beatty S, Loughman J, Howard AN, Louw MS, Nolan JM. Supplementation with all three macular carotenoids: response, stability, and safety. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011;52:9207-9217.
11. Rasmussen H, Muzhingi T, Eggert T, Johnson EJ. Lutein, zeaxanthin, meso-zeaxanthin content in egg yolk and their absence in fish and seafood. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 2012;27:139-144.
12. Maoka T, Arai A, Shimizu M, Matsuno T. The first isolation of enantiomeric and meso-zeaxanthin in nature. Comp Biochem Physiol B. 1986;83:121-124.
13. Bhosale P, Serban B, Zhao dY, Bernstein PS. Identification and metabolic transformations of carotenoids in ocular tissues of the Japanese quail Coturnix japonica. Biochemistry. 2007;46:9050-9057.
14. Johnson EJ, Neuringer M, Russell RM, Schalch W, Snodderly DM. Nutritional manipulation of primate retinas, III: effects of lutein or zeaxanthin supplementation on adipose tissue and retina of xanthophyll-free monkeys. Investigative Ophthalmology Visual Science. 2005;46:692-702.
15. Kirby ML, Galea M, Loane E, Stack J, Beatty S, Nolan JM. Foveal anatomic associations with the secondary peak and the slope of the macular pigment spatial profile. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009;50:1383-1391.
16. Kirby ML, Beatty S, Loane E, et al. A Central Dip in the Macular Pigment Spatial Profile is Associated with Age and Smoking. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010.
17. Meagher KA, Thurnham DI, Beatty S, et al. Serum response to supplemental macular carotenoids in subjects with and without age-related macular degeneration. Br J Nutr. 2012:1-12.

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Posted by Dr. John Nolan
23 January 2013 | 21h38

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