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Retinitis Pigmentosa, Vitamin A & Lutein

Friday, July 02, 2010

A recently published study in the Archives of Ophthalmology suggests that supplemental vitamin A and supplemental lutein may slow the progression of retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

The Foundation Fighting Blindness reports that over 100,000 Americans are affected with RP. The frequently inherited disease leads to loss of night and peripheral vision. Over time, central vision declines leading to blindness in too many people.

In this newly published study researchers enrolled 225 non-smoking subjects with RP between the ages of 18 and 60.

All of the subjects received 15,000 IU per day of vitamin A. Half of the subjects also took 12 mg of supplemental lutein daily, the other half took a placebo instead of lutein. Visual acuity and retinal changes were evaluated at the beginning of the study and again after 4 years of supplementation.

The Humphrey Field Analyzer 30-2 and 60-4 programs were used to evaluate central and peripheral vision.

The results of the study demonstrated that no significant difference in rate of decline was found between the lutein plus vitamin A and control plus vitamin A groups over the 4 year period for the HFA 20-2 group.

However, the HFA 60-4 program 4 year results on the subjects who supplemented with lutein plus vitamin A suggested a decrease in the mean rate of sensitivity loss.

Interestingly, those with the highest increase in macular pigment density had the slowest decline in both HGA 30-2 and 60-4 combined field sensitivity.

The mean decline was slower in the subjects with the highest serum lutein levels or in the subjects with the highest increase in macular pigment optical density at the follow-up evaluation.

The researchers concluded, "Lutein supplementation of 12 mg/day slowed loss of mid-peripheral visual field among nonsmoking adults with retinitis pigmentosa taking vitamin A."

Ellen Troyer, MT MA
Biosyntrx CEO / Chief Research Officer


Given the results of the above study, it makes biological sense to suggest that the other macula pigment nutrient, zeaxanthin (central macula preference), may play an even more important role in the progression of RP. It also makes sense to consider the role that the mitochondrial nutrients, acetyl-l-carnitine, Co-Q10, lipoic acid and DHA possibly play in RP progression, as well as the complex of B vitamins since B vitamin deficiency is linked to development of gene- based disease.   
The Biosyntrx founders, staff and scientific advisors wish our Friday Pearl readers a fabulous and safe 4th of July holiday weekend with friends and family.  

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Clinical references available in the Biosyntrx office.