The marigold-sourced nutrients have performed well in some Asian supplement markets and the US but less so in Europe where no authorised health claims exist, but the firms remain positive about the sector and committed to further investment in it.
The forms are a zeaxanthin powder (Optisharp) for tablets as well as gummies, chewables and sticks and a 5:1 lutein-zeaxanthin blend (FloraGlo) aimed at the soft gel market.
“Further product forms are currently under development, and we remain equally focused on our ongoing commitment to fund new trials to investigate the positive role these carotenoid ingredients play in improving both eye health and visual performance,” said Jens Birrer, DSM global marketing manager, in a statement.
A thin macular pigment can allow the blue light through and destroy the cells. Maintaining high levels of both carotenoids, and therefore the macular pigment, is a valid approach to maintaining eye health and reducing the risk of diseases, like (AMD), which tends to affect older people.
The link between lutein and eye health was first reported in 1994 by Dr Johanna Seddon and her co-workers at Harvard University, who found a link between the intake of carotenoid-rich food, particularly dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, and a significant reduction in AMD (JAMA, Vol. 272, pp. 1413-1420).
The global market for lutein and zeaxanthin is estimated to be about €130m, with the US the biggest market.