"Eye Health" Supplements Vary Widely in Formula But Product Quality is High According to ConsumerLab.com

— Supplements with Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Astaxanthin Tested —

WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK — December 16, 2009 —Supplements with lutein and zeaxanthin may help prevent macular degeneration, but levels of these ingredients vary widely across marketed supplements according to a new report from ConsumerLab.com. Among supplements specifically marketed for "eye health," daily doses ranged from 2 mg to 20 mg for lutein and from zero to 16 mg for zeaxanthin. ConsumerLab.com also evaluated supplements containing astaxanthin, another type of carotenoid which provides the pink color in salmon and may have therapeutic applications. All products passed laboratory testing which confirmed the listed amounts of lutein, zeaxanthin, and/or astaxanthin, lack of lead contamination, and proper disintegration of tablets.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidant pigments found in highest concentration in the macula of the eye where they may help protect it from damage. People who get the most lutein in their diets tend to have lower rates of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) — the leading cause of blindness in developed countries. Supplements providing 10 mg of lutein have been shown to improve vision in people with AMD. Most adults, however, get only 2 to 4 mg per day of lutein and zeaxanthin from their diets.

Lutein and zeaxanthin, at 10 mg and 2 mg, respectively, are being evaluated along with omega-3 fatty acids by the National Institutes of Health in a major new study of macular degeneration and cataract formation. The study, known as AREDS2, will be completed in 2012. An earlier study, knows as AREDS, showed successes in preventing AMD using high-dose zinc along with other vitamins and minerals.  Several of the products tested by ConsumerLab.com are similar in formulation to those being tested in the new study and are compared in the Review to the AREDS and AREDS2 formulations.

"It is exciting that a variety of dietary supplement ingredients may help with AMD," said Tod Cooperman, MD, President of ConsumerLab.com. "The challenge for consumers is to figure out which supplement, if any, is most appropriate for them. The new ConsumerLab.com report presents our best current understanding to help consumers make an informed decision."

The Product Review of Eye Health Supplements (with Lutein and Zeaxanthin) and Astaxanthin can be found at www.consumerlab.com/results/lutein.asp and includes results for sixteen products. Ten were selected by ConsumerLab.com and six others are included for having passed the same evaluation through ConsumerLab.com's Voluntary Certification Program.  Also listed are two products similar to ones that passed but sold under different brand names.  

Brands included in report are Astavita, Bausch & Lomb PreserVision, EyePromise Restore, Healthy America, ICaps, Integrative Therapeutics, Jarrow Formulas, Life Extension, MD Formulas, Nature's Bounty, Puritan's Pride, Solgar Vision Guard, Twinlab OcuGuard, USANA Visionex, VISUtein, Vitamin Shoppe Advanced Ocular Support, Vitamin World, and Walgreens Ocutabs.  The Review provides information on how to choose and use these supplements and which foods provide lutein, zeaxanthin, or astaxanthin.

ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Reviews of other popular types of supplements are available from www.consumerlab.com. Subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products.