What’s on the horizon for eye health? Science points the way. Deshanie Rai, PhD, FACN, VP of Global Scientific and Regulatory Affairs and Muralidhara Padigaru, Ph.D., VP of Bio and Clinical at OmniActive Health Technologies discusses vision health, β-cryptoxanthin (BCX) and our dedication to the advancement of human health and wellness beyond commercialization.
In recent years, the macular carotenoids—lutein, RR-zeaxanthin and RS-zeaxanthin—have taken center stage in the eye health market. As a leader in this category, we remain dedicated to research beyond the macular carotenoids to meet the need of today’s consumer and to help protect against age-related eye diseases. With that in mind, we have been looking into another carotenoid—BCX—and its potential to support healthy vision.
BCX is a common carotenoid that is found in nature, particularly fruit, and through our dietary intake of fruits, BCX can also be found in human blood and tissues. Foods that are rich in BCX include tangerines, persimmons and oranges. BCX has several functions that are important for human health, including roles in antioxidant defense and cell-to-cell communication. More importantly, BCX best known as a provitamin A carotenoid—in other words, it is a precursor of vitamin A. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient necessary for eyesight, growth, development, and immune response.
Beyond commercialization—science for the betterment of human nutrition
Although BCX is not widely commercially available, as leaders in carotenoid science, we are dedicated learning more about this important dietary antioxidant and its benefits for human health and wellness. A product of this philosophy is our latest study entitled Different Doses of β-Cryptoxanthin May Secure the Retina from Photooxidative Injury Resulted from Common LED Sources, which was published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2021 https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6672525.
The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) regulates the transport of nutrients and waste products to and from the retina and protects against light and oxidative stress. Structural or physiological dysfunction of the RPE leads to retinal conditions such as age-related eye disease (ARED). It is well established that artificial and natural light is an important factor in the progression of ARED as it can induce oxidative damage and photochemical lesions. Recently, the use of LED in general lighting has raised concerns regarding the effects of this light source on the RPE. The goal of this exploratory study was to investigate whether BCX, an efficient pro-vitamin A carotenoid, can exert protective effects against LED-induced RPE cell damage using a rat model.
BCX supplementation significantly reduced retinal damage as demonstrated by histopathology measurements including total retinal thickness, outer nuclear layer thickness, and swelling. Similarly, markers of oxidative stress were beneficially modulated by BCX supplementation. In parallel, BCX supplementation reduced inflammation.
Study implications and what’s next
This study demonstrates that oral supplementation with a BCX exerts a protective effect against retinal damage induced by high-intensity light in a rat model by reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, angiogenesis and protection against mitochondrial DNA damage. While more data is needed to confirm these preliminary findings, it highlights the relevance of BCX dietary intakes to support vision health and wellbeing. OmniActive will continue to conduct relevant and groundbreaking science to propel knowledge and advance human nutrition.
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