~ Study Concludes Omega-3, Lutein/Zeaxanthin Supplement Use Could Help Seniors Maintain Independence, Save Billions

Readers may recall last year's conclusion of the Lewin Group that consumption of certain dietary supplements by Americans could save the U.S. billions of dollars. In a new Lewin Group report dated November 2, 2005, it was revealed that the regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids and the combination of lutein with zeaxanthin could help older individuals maintain their independence and save an estimated 5.6 billion dollars over a five year period.

The Lewin Group was commissioned by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) to review research publications for validity, impact and applicability of the findings for omega-3 fatty acids and lutein and zeaxanthin as associated with producing health care savings and maintaining independence for men and women over the age of 65. Several hundred studies dating back nearly thirty years concerning omega-3 fatty acid use among older adults were reviewed, along with studies dating back fifteen years for lutein and zeaxanthin.

The impact of taking 1800 milligrams omega-3 fatty acids per day on coronary heart disease (CHD) prevention was estimated by the Lewin Group to have the potential of avoiding 384,303 hospitalizations and saving 3.1 billion dollars in hospital and physician service fees over five years. For lutein with zeaxanthin, taking 6 to 10 milligrams per day could prevent the loss of independence resulting from visual impairment due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) of 98,219 individuals, while saving 2.5 billion dollars.

The authors observed, “As the population lives longer, reducing the level of disability caused by age-related diseases is becoming ever more important . . . Potential savings could be achieved through a reduction in hospitalizations and physician services for CHD, and a reduction in the transition to greater dependency from loss of central vision due to advanced AMD.”

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