The product, Omega 7 Eye Relief, is based on a sea buckthorn ingredient called SBA 24, which is unique in that is combines extracts of various parts of the berry harvested in northern Europe by Finnish supplier Aromtech.
The product targets eye comfort in drying conditions like computer and electronics usage, heat and wind exposure, or low humidity.
The new product, which EuroPharma launched under its Terry Naturally brand at the Expo West trade show in March, is backed by studies conducted by Aromtech. In a recent published human study, SBA 24 was shown to significantly improve eye comfort by supporting fluid balance within the eye. The SBA 24 ingredient was also shown to significantly reduce redness throughout this three month trial.
“I will say that it is not just a matter of comfort; if you do not have proper moisture levels in your eye you are far more prone to eye infections, you are more prone to damage to the cornea. It’s not just about comfort, it’s about being able to protect your eyes,” according to Chery Myers, chief of scientific affairs and education for EuroPharma, which is located in Green Bay.
Recombination of berry fractions
Myers pointed to a difference between SBA 24 and other sea buckthorn products that are on the market. Aromtech takes a more nuanced approach to manufacturing its extract from the fruit of the bushlike plant which grows in many locations around the globe, including Scandinavia and the Himalayas.
“SBA 24 is a combination sea buckthorn berry pulp and seed oil. So it’s two different extracts of the sea buckthorn blended back together in a specific formulation. Each of the components of the berry itself contains different compounds. The omega 7—you can only find that in the pulp portion. However, there are also some very healthy compounds in the seed portion,” Myers told NutraIngredients-USA.
EuroPharma has other products featuring SBA 24, but this is the first one targeted toward eye health. Myers said it was the right time for such a product, both from the preponderance of evidence and from a market standpoint.
“We felt that it was time to bring something out that was very specific to eye care, as we started to see more and more studies about the effectiveness of SBA 24, specifically for eyes,” Myers said.
“And the category is growing. First, people are living longer. People are taking more prescrioption medications and there are links between a whole variety of presciption medications and decreases in the level of proper moisture levels in the eye. And many people are have had different types of eye surgeries to improve their vision and one of the consequences of those surgeries can be an increase in eye dryness,” she said.
Saying yes to ‘superfruit’
Some companies market sea buckthorn as the latest entrant in the superfruit field. It’s not a designation that EuroPharma harps on, but Myers said the company is not averse to it, either.
“It’s a phrase that people connect to. People identify ‘superfruit’ as something that has an extraordinary concentration of nutrients. People call pomegranate a superfruit. People call açai a superfruit. So, yes, it is a superfruit; it does have a really wide spectrum of nutrients that are healthy including the omega 7 that is not that common in the plant world,” she said.