Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial (LAST)

ST. LOUIS, MO, April 6, 2004 — A study appeared as the April, 2004, cover story for Optometry: Journal of the American Optometric Association finds that taking the right combination of lutein, vitamins and antioxidants may counter or reverse the effects of Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) and lead to healthier and more productive lives for patients. ARMD is the leading cause of blindness in the United States, affecting ten million nationwide. Currently, there is no FDA-approved treatment for "dry" (atrophic) form of ARMD.

ARMD is caused by the deterioration of the macula, the central portion of the retina that is responsible for central vision in the eye. It controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors and see objects in fine detail. ARMD is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. for those ages 55 and older, affecting more people than cataracts and glaucoma combined.

In previous studies, lutein has been shown to prevent and even reverse ARMD. Lutein is the primary carotenoid present in the macula that prevents sunlight from damaging the retina over time. It can be found in spinach and other dark, leafy-green vegetables. In prior studies, its antioxidant power has appeared to shield the retina from much of the harmful light that gets through to the eye, making the consumption of lutein-rich vegetables one of the best ways to prevent ARMD.

In March 2003, the U.S. Government's Veteran's Administration Hospital in Chicago completed a new study that offers hope for reversing vision loss. This nearly two-year-long study expanded upon previous studies on lutein by comparing the effects of lutein with and without additional carotenoids and antioxidants on patients who suffered from the "dry" (atrophic) form of ARMD.

The study involved the use of multi-vitamin which contained a high level of a special form of lutein (FloraGLO) along with other antioxidants and minerals. The study involved three groups, including a Placebo Group. The Lutein-only Group, who was administered only lutein, and the vitamin plus lutein group. Both showed improvement in near visual acuity and in contrast sensitivity function (CSF), which identifies retinal problems at an earlier stage than conventional testing. In fact, according to the study, the vitamin plus Lutein Group showed greater recovery in their quality of vision.

Compared to the Placebo and Lutein-only Groups, the vitamin plus lutein Group experienced faster glare recovery, a known measure of macular function and retinal health. In macular pigment optical density (MPOD), one of the most accurate signals for ARMD risk, the vitamin plus lutein group increased by 43%, as compared to the 36% improvement of the Lutein-only Group, and a decrease in the group taking a placebo.

This recent study shows the high-potential benefits of using a multi-vitamin formula that combines lutein with other antioxidants and vitamins. This new insight offers promising leads in reversing vision loss.