Lutein and zeaxanthin offer children eye health and cognitive benefits, study finds

By Annabel Kartal-Allen | Published: 20-Mar-2024

Results from the recent Lutemax Kids clinical study demonstrated that lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation was associated with enhanced brain and eye health in children

The brain is arguably the most important organ in the body, acting as the control centre for everything we do. Therefore, looking after it is paramount to overall health and wellbeing.

Lutein and zeaxanthin, (LZ) the only two carotenoids that are preferentially accumulated in the human eyes and brain, have been proven via clinical studies to enhance both cognitive function and ocular capabilities in adults, so their usage in supplementation has become increasingly common in the nutraceutical industry.

With a substantial evidence pointing towards the benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin, nutraceutical developers have taken interest in expanding its applications to a wider audience. OmniActive are no different, with the company’s recent endeavours centring around the impact of LZ supplementation on children’s eye health. 

Its recent findings have further highlighted the positive effects of LZ on eye and cognitive function … but this time in children. Annabel Kartal-Allen spoke to Dr Deshanie Rai, VP of Global Science, Regulatory and Advocacy at OmniActive Health Technologies, to find out more.

The occurrence of digital eye strain is becoming more prevalent

LZ and eye health

In the modern world, an increasing number of people are exposed to unusual amounts of blue light due to frequent digital device use — such as mobile phones and laptops. Consequently, the occurrence of digital eye strain is becoming more prevalent. 

This excessive exposure can result in eye strain and fatigue, as well as blurry vision and headaches. LZ are ideally positioned to help mitigate the effects of digital eye strain since they are able to filter out blue light that reaches the eye.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids in nature that accumulate in the macula of the eye; this occurs during multiple life stages, including pregnancy, infancy, childhood and adulthood. Their influence in macular and retinal health has been demonstrated in a range of studies during the last 20 years but, until now, the benefits of LZ supplementation has not been tested in children.

To help address this gap in clinical knowledge, OmniActive Health Technologies assessed the effects of LZ supplementation on children’s visual and cognitive health, finding similar results to studies conducted in adults:

“The Lutemax Children’s Study showed that supplementation with Lutemax Kids — a proprietary, low-dose extract of lutein and zeaxanthin isomers — for 6 months significantly increased macular pigment optical density (MPOD) and visual processing speed, and reduced eye strain and fatigue as a result of digital device usage.”

The long-term impacts of frequent electronic device usage on eye health are currently unknown, but short-term effects have already proven to be detrimental in the context of overexposure. With technology only becoming more prevalent in children’s daily lives, it’s logical for their eye health to be considered — if not for the short-term relief, then for the potential of long-term damage and problems in the future.


Who is OmniActive?

OmniActive is a global nutraceutical ingredients company that provides scientifically backed botanical actives to manufacturers to use for supplementation purposes. The company is currently placing focus on reducing its environmental impact, whilst also promoting responsible business practices.

Supplementation with Lutemax Kids... increased MPOD levels and improved cognitive performance related to attention, focus and memory

LZ, cognitive health and functionality 

In addition to its accumulation in the macula of the eye, LZ is also found in the brain: “These macular carotenoids are preferentially deposited in the brain throughout various life stages, ranging from infancy to adulthood,” Dr Rai explains.

Beneficial impacts of lutein on cognitive health in preadolescent children have been observed, which Dr Rai broke down further: “Recent cross-sectional studies in preadolescent children have reported that higher levels of lutein in the macula of the eye are associated with fewer errors, better verbal ability, cognitive efficiency and processing speed in academic performance tests.”

To expand on this, OmniActive wanted to determine if LZ supplementation in younger children also beneficially influenced lutein levels in the eye and cognitive health outcomes: “The Lutemax Children’s Study showed that supplementation with Lutemax Kids (10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin isomers) for six months, resulted in a significant increase in macular pigment optical density levels and improved cognitive performance related to attention, focus and aspects of memory.”


Dr Deshanie Rai, VP of Global Science, Regulatory and Advocacy at OmniActive Health Technologies

Dr Deshanie Rai, VP of Global Science, Regulatory and Advocacy at OmniActive Health Technologies


LZ supplementation is consistent between life stages

Although there is only one current study outlining the positive effects of LZ supplementation on cognition and eye health in children, the results currently point to the consistency of positive effects among all life stages.

Deshanie elaborates: “To date, the Lutemax Children’s Study is the only study we are aware of which clinically demonstrated the benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation on visual performance and brain health. It is noteworthy that our findings related to eye and brain health are consistent with LZ supplementation studies in adults.”

Although this finding will have to be further corroborated, the trend seems to appear in all age categories. Therefore, supplementation with LZ could be applied to a considerably larger range of marketing strategies and target audiences from now.


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LZ’s novel influence on the nutraceutical market

With significant evidence now pointing towards the benefits of supplementation with LZ, Dr Rai believes the carotenoid combination will prompt a surge of interest in the nutraceutical market: “The outcomes of the Lutemax Children’s Study confirm the relevance and benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin as a part of a child’s daily dietary regimen. As the body doesn’t make these carotenoids — and most children in the US aren’t meeting their daily recommended fruit and vegetable intake — they are falling short in key nutrients; including lutein and zeaxanthin."

"Our findings offer nutraceutical manufacturers a safe, science-backed approach to helping children meet their nutritional needs via supplementation.”

Deshanie also stresses the simplicity of incorporating lutein and zeaxanthin into products that are fit for all consumer types: “Lutemax Kids (10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin isomers) can be easily incorporated into various delivery formats, including tablets, gummies, ready-to-drink products and powders, with the added value of supply chain assurance.”


Increasing awareness

Although LZ supplementation already has some traction in the nutraceutical market, Dr Rai believes the carotenoids’ influence on health and wellbeing should be further expanded: “The goal should be to educate and bring awareness to healthcare professionals and consumers about the importance of lutein and zeaxanthin as key nutrients for eye and brain health benefits. These benefits have been reported through the lifespan, including pregnancy, infancy, early childhood, adolescence and adulthood. LZ inclusion in the daily diet would be a logical consideration for manufactures and consumers alike.” 




2 Jacka FN, et al. Associations between diet quality and depressed mood in adolescents: results from the Australian Healthy Neighbourhoods Study. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2010 May;44(5):435-42.


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