Learn more about black currant for eye health in our recent Q&A with Natural Products Insider. 

What opportunities exist in the vision market and what specific ingredients related to eye health do you offer brands in supplement applications? 

While vision products have typically targeted aging eyes and the resulting ailments, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended many people’s typical lifestyles—adults, teens, and children alike. As a result, time spent staring at cell phones, tablets, computers, and other screens has dramatically increased, making eye fatigue a significant issue for people of all ages. In response, the market is seeking out ingredients like black currant that help promote healthy circulation and alleviate eye strain and screen fatigue. Vision products are now being marketed to younger people and even children to help cope with virtual school days.

Dark berries as a category have secured a place in vision formulas due to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and circulation-promoting properties of the active flavonoid compounds such as anthocyanins. Bilberry extracts have longstanding anecdotal and scientific evidence of vision support benefits. Additionally, human clinical research has demonstrated that vision fatigue from screen usage can be ameliorated with black currant extract supplementation. Artemis International supplies CurrantCraft® Black Currant Extract, standardized to anthocyanin and polyphenol content and produced without harsh chemical solvents. The Craft branded berry extracts are gaining notoriety among manufacturers due to their gentle, sustainable processing, highest quality standards, complete traceability, and clinical application. Current clinical trials are underway to further explore the observed vision benefits and establish black currant as a potential solution for anyone suffering from screen-weary eyes. Artemis also recently launched BerryDefense®—a multifaceted ingredient blend that offers vision support plus immune and cardiovascular benefits.

Are there new advancements and studies available to enhance new product innovations?

An initial human pilot study by Nakaishi et al. (2000) indicated that black currant extract was helpful in alleviating screen-induced vision fatigue at a dosage level of 50mg of anthocyanins. A current human clinical trial is underway to corroborate these findings and to further substantiate this unique angle of vision support from berry nutraceutical ingredients. 

Up until now, consumers seeking supplements specifically targeted toward “vision support” have typically been in the 40+ group, as the effects of age-related vision deterioration begin to come into full effect. However, with the influx of technology and screens in our daily lives, revitalizing tired eyes has become more of a priority among younger consumers as well. The dry, weary eyes are only the start of it as related issues of headaches, blurry vision, and even neck and shoulder stiffness are also common symptoms of excessive eye strain. This opens more opportunities for new vision products with innovative delivery systems, marketed to keeping eyes healthy and refreshed, rather than trying to address existing problems once they arise. We are seeing more and more formulas incorporating dark berry ingredients like black currant extracts to round out comprehensive vision products.  

Are there specific DSHEA compliant product label claims for your ingredient(s)?

As with all supplements pertaining to vision, the allowable claims are limited to structure-function claims in support of healthy vision. CurrantCraft®, while studied in connection with screen-weary eyes and dark adaptation, maintains a general health claim of “vision support.” Other related claims can include “antioxidant capacity,” “promotes healthy circulation,” and “promotes a healthy inflammation response.”

Do your ingredient solutions have a particular supply chain story or special certifications?

CurrantCraft® Black Currant Extracts are backed by the highest European quality standards and are exclusively made without the use of harsh chemical solvents with the proprietary Iprona Polyphenol Technology (IPT) for concentrating and standardizing anthocyanin levels. With a clear and transparent chain of custody of purely European raw materials, and a focus on sustainability throughout the entire manufacturing process (including a “green” facility powered by waste-stream material), the CurrantCraft® brand is synonymous with high quality standards, and social responsibility. Classifications such as Kosher, Halal, Vegan, and Not-Genetically Modified come standard.