There is increasing interest in nutritional methods to boost eye health. Previous research has found that carotenoids such as lutein have various beneficial effects for eye health, and the current research suggests that they may improve ocular blood flow, which is linked to overall eye health and comfort.
The research, a randomised, placeo-controlled, double-blind cross-over study, was funded by Lycored (global leader in natural carotenoids) and carried out at the Glick Eye Institute in Indianapolis.
Sixteen healthy subjects received a daily dose of either placebo or Lycored’s complex of 10mg lutein combined with other phytonutrients, during two periods of three-weeks. Blood pressure, heart rate, and indicators of ocular blood flow, were among the data analysed before and after each supplementation period.
Lutein complex supplementation was found to produce a statistically significant increase in mean superior retinal capillary blood flow. There was also a significant increase in peak systolic velocity in the central retinal artery compared to the placebo.
In healthy participants, oral administration of a lutein phytochemicals complex for only three weeks produced increased ocular blood flow and reduced diastolic blood pressure compared to placebo.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Karin Hermoni, Head of Science and Nutrition at Lycored, said: “This research adds to the growing body of evidence of a role for carotenoid supplementation in addressing eye health. Although it was a small study, its strength is that it was performed on healthy subjects and within a short time frame of three weeks. In much the same way that systemic blood flow is essential to overall vitality and nutrient delivery, ocular blood flow is important for adequate perfusion of different areas of the eye- allowing healthy nourishment of the eye. Overall, this concept opens the opportunity to positively affect eye health and comfort at any age.”
View the research, published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, at DOI: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000576