Eye Health Supplement Manufacturing Trends
The market for eye health supplements is looking more optimistic than ever! Supplement companies now have excellent opportunities to showcase their brand with strategically-designed eye health supplements. Intensified marketing efforts and commendable research initiatives have spawned a breed of consumers who are well aware of preventive healthcare for the eyes.
According to a research report from Frost & Sullivan (a global business research firm), consumer knowledge of beneficial nutrition for the eyes, rising incidence of eye concernss and increasing healthcare costs have expanded the market for eye health ingredients. 1
Vision ranks third among the top medical concerns facing adults today, according to a survey conducted by Mintel, a market research company based in Chicago 2. People approaching their sixties are particularly at risk of vision challenges because of common age-related eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 9 million Americans over 40 are affected by AMD. Of these, about 7.3 million have large drusen, yellow or white deposits under the retina, which puts them at substantial risk for developing AMD. The CDC estimates that by the year 2020, 2.95 million people will be affected by AMD. 3
The macula is the part of the retina that enables us to have sharp, central vision needed for straight-ahead activities like driving, reading, writing, sewing and other detailed tasks. It enables us to recognize faces and see color.
AMD leads to progressive impairment of central vision. As a person ages, cells in the macula begin to lose their functional abilities. They fail to take in enough vital nutrients and clear by-products from the cells, resulting in abnormal deposits under the retina, called drusen. As cells continue to degenerate and die, vision becomes impaired.
The cause of AMD is not known. It typically affects older people but AMD can occur during middle age. Age is the primary risk factor of AMD, but other risk factors include smoking, weight, race (Caucasians are more at risk than African Americans), family history, occupational hazards, ultraviolet (UV) exposure and gender.4
Beneficial Nutrition for AMD
Several approaches are used to address AMD. Nutritional therapies, such as the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) formula, have boosted consumer support of eye health supplements. The AREDS 1 study, completed in 2001, was sponsored by the Federal government’s National Eye Institute. It was the first study to show that administering a high amount of a combination of antioxidants and minerals (vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, zinc) to an AMD high-risk group helped support eye health. 5 The second AREDS 2 study is now testing the efficacy of lutein/zeaxanthin and DHA supplements. Results from this study are expected to be released in 2013. A positive result will no doubt lend a further boost to the already growing eye health ingredients market.
Benefits of Omega-3 Supplements for AMD
A recent study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology showed that omega-3 fatty acids may be useful in helping support eye health. The study associates a regular intake of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and fish with up to a 45 percent improvement in vision. Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston collected data on 38,022 women, who had not been diagnosed with AMD and tracked their eating habits and eye health over a span of ten years. The study showed that women who consumed the most DHA were found to have improved eye health as compared to women who consumed the least DHA. Similar findings were associated with a higher intake of EPA versus those who consumed the least EPA. Women who consumed one or two servings of fish every week enjoyed eye health when compared to women who ate less than one serving of fish a month. 6
According to researchers, the findings “appear to be the strongest evidence to date to support a role for omega-3 long-chain fatty acids. The benefits of omega-3 supplements may include improved blood flow in the eye.
DHA and acrachidonic acid (AA), an omega-6 fatty acid, are found in high concentrations in the retina and form important structural components of retinal photoreceptor outer segments and vascular tissue. DHA is constantly shed and turned over during the normal visual cycle. A deficiency in DHA, therefore, might affect retinal function. Since the concentration levels of these nutrients are modifiable by diet, eye health supplements hold promising significance in addressing concerns about AMD. 7
More Science-Based Ingredients for AMD
With increasing consumer awareness of nutrients specifically targeting eye health, owners of supplement companies have a variety of ingredient choices for formulating high-quality eye health supplements:
- Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. These nutrients are also found in high concentrations in the macula of the eye where they naturally filter out blue light and protect the photoreceptor outer segments from oxidative stress and damage. Lutein and zeaxanthin also help to promote visual functions. 8-9
- Ginkgo Biloba has antioxidant properties that help increase blood flow. 10
- Bilberry fruit extract is known to have anti-angiogenic properties. 11
- Astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant, is known to address free radical and light-induced damage that is linked with visual health. Because of its ability to cross the blood-brain, blood-eye barriers and strategically collect in the macula of the eye, it is fast emerging as an effective nutrient for managing eye-related oxidative stress. 12
Manufacture Your Own Line Of Quality Eye Health Supplements Today!
The Nutrition Business Journal reports that the eye health supplements market reached $331 million in 2008 with more consumers expected to turn to natural remedies to help support vision health. 13
For a high-quality eye health supplement that will meet the expectations of your target market, turn to the experts at NutraScience Labs! Talk to one of our Production Specialists now to learn how we can help you enhance your product line by adding eye health supplements to it. Call (855) 492-7388 or send us your request to receive a free eye health supplement quote from us in 48 hours or less!
6. Archives of Ophthalmology, published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1001/archophthalmol.2011.34.5. Dietary fatty acids and the 5-year incidence of age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol 2006;124:981-6.
7. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2007;18:2203.
8. Eye. 1998;12(Pt. 1):127-33.
9. Semba RD, Dagnelie G. Hypoth 2003;61:4:465-472.
10. Altern Med Rev. 2001;6:2:141-66.
11. Free Radic Res. 2002;36:9:1023-31.
12. Ophthalmology. 2008 Feb;115(2):324-333.e2. Epub 2007 Aug 22.