ZMC takes up position in lutein, zeaxanthin market

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Lutein, Macular degeneration, Zeaxanthin

Ingredient group ZMC has been granted a lutein and zeaxanthin
patent, which the company hopes will help position it as a leading
global supplier for the two dietary supplement ingredients.

Patent No.7,271,298 from the USPTO protects the firm's process for isolation and purification of the compounds from crude plant oleoresin. According to ZMC, this process provides for the highest yield rate of lutein and zeaxanthin to date, and will significantly boost the company's presence in the market for these ingredients, which are used in combination to support eye health. The firm said the new patent - 'Process for isolation and purification of Xanthophyll crystals from plant oleoresin'​ - will allow for the "efficient"​ and "quality"​ production of lutein. The group will focus on lutein in pure, powder, beadlet and oil suspension and lutein ester in powder, beadlet and oil suspension. According to Scott Steinford, president of ZMC-USA, the firm "is continuing to position itself as a market leader in terms of quality, efficiency and product offerings in the nutritional supplement industry". Lutein ​Lutein is a nutrient found in various foods including green leafy vegetables and egg yolk. It has a ten-year history in the dietary supplement market as a nutrient to reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD affects the central part of the retina called the macula, which controls fine vision, leaving sufferers with only limited sight. AMD is thought to affect over 30 million people worldwide, and is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50. Zeaxanthin ​Like its cousin lutein, the carotenoid zeaxanthin, found in many fruits and vegetables, is thought to help protect the retina from the damaging effects of sunlight and oxidative stress and free radicals. Whereas lutein has been around for about a decade, zeaxanthin began to be used from 2001, and awareness of the ingredient still remains behind that of lutein. However, the two ingredients are increasingly used in combination for eye health and to help prevent AMD and cataracts. Eye health ​AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older, according to the National Eye Institute. The greatest risk factor is age, with people over age 60 at greater risk and people over 75 years of age have a 30 percent risk of getting AMD. According to a 2005 study conducted by healthcare policy research firm, the Lewin Group, and commissioned by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance, taking lutein with zeaxathin could help more than 98,000 people retain their independence in old age over the next five years. Other benefits ​Although the main strut of research behind lutein and zeaxanthin remains their benefits for eye health, there has also been a wealth of research into lutein's positive effect on boasting the skin's hydration and elasticity. In addition, researchers from France last year reported that zeaxanthin could help improve mental performance in the elderly. And in 2006, Swedish researchers reported that people suffering from coronary artery disease have low levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. Market ​A report last summer from analysts Frost & Sullivan said the global lutein market is set to hit $124.5m in 2013. In 2006, they valued the market at $105.1m. According to the report, manufacturers need to address this growing maturity in dietary supplements by identifying new and potentially lucrative application segments that offer opportunities for the continued growth of the lutein market. The zeaxanthin market is estimated to be worth about $2m. The market was dealt a helping hand in fall 2005, with the publication of the Lewin study, which estimated a $2.5bn net savings to the Medicare system over five years (2006-2010) from a reduction in the relative risk of ADM through daily intake of 6-10 mg of lutein with zeaxanthin.

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