Lutein Trial Offers Hope for Retinitis Pigmentosa Patients

Parsippany, NJ—The April issue of Archives of Ophthalmology included some interesting research in which patients with retinitis pigmentosa benefited greatly from lutein and vitamin A supplementation. This inherited disease causes the retina to deteriorate, which leads to blindness.

Every day, 225 nonsmoking men and women were given 15,000 IU/d of vitamin A palmitate and either a control tablet or 12 mg of lutein (FloraGLO from DSM, based here). All subjects were told to eat one or two servings of oily fish per week to ensure intake of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Over the course of the four-year study, all subjects experienced some vision loss. Declines in central and mid-periphery vision, however, were slowest in patients who had the most lutein in their blood. According to information from DSM, this decline could mean that the therapy of lutein, vitamin A and oily fish may protect against vision loss for three to 10 years. The researchers were associated with Harvard Medical School.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, June 2010