New research supports the use of 12 mg of lutein each day to slow visual field loss in adults with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye condition.
The right supplement at the right time.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a common form of retinal degeneration. This disorder causes a progressive loss of photoreceptor cells in the eye and can eventually lead to blindness. Daily intake of 15,000 IU of vitamin A palmitate is known to reduce the progression of the disease and can sometimes postpone blindness for many years.
In newly published research, scientists sought to determine whether supplementation with lutein – a nutrient found in yellow/orange and dark green leafy vegetables – could slow visual decline in patients with RP who were already receiving vitamin A.
A randomized, controlled, double-blinded trial of 225 nonsmoking patients (ages 18 to 60) took place over 4 years. Each day, patients consumed a tablet of 12 mg of lutein or placebo. All participants were given 15,000 IU/day of vitamin A palmitate.
Over the course of the study, a decrease in visual sensitivity loss was seen in the lutein+vitamin A group. The average decline was smallest in the individuals with the highest serum lutein levels.
In this group of participants, lutein supplementation of 12 mg/day was effective at slowing visual sensitivity loss, and could therefore delay or prevent the occurrence of blindness even better than treatment with vitamin A alone.
Berson EL, et al. Clinical Trial of Lutein in Patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa Receiving Vitamin A. 2010. Arch Ophthalmol 128(4):403-11.