Lutein is an antioxidant occurs
naturally. It protects and improves eye function. It is part of a group of substances
called carotenoids. Lutein and other carotenoids such as zeaxanthin may help prevent or
slow macular degeneration. This is an eye disease. It is 1 of the leading causes of
blindness in people over age 60.
Lutein was first isolated from egg
yolks. It’s 1 of the pigments in the petals of yellow flowers and bird feathers.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are the most
common carotenoids in nature. They can be found in green leafy vegetables such as
broccoli, peas, lettuce, parsley, spinach, and kale. They are also in egg yolks.
Medically valid uses
There are no proven uses for lutein
or zeaxanthin supplements. But lutein, zeaxanthin, and other carotenoids such as
beta-carotene may prevent or slow macular degeneration. Of all the pigments in the
macula, lutein is present in the highest amount. The macula is the part of the retina
that creates sharp vision.
Lutein and zeaxanthin work by
protecting the retina of the eye from the effects of aging. They also protect it from
ultraviolet light. They work as antioxidants in the retina. They may protect the
fragile, retinal vessels from oxidative damage. This damage may lead to sclerotic
changes in the lining of the vessels. Over time this may cause macular degeneration. As
pigments, they may block harmful types of light from being absorbed by the sensitive
These carotenoids may prevent
macular degeneration. But they may not treat the condition once you have it. You need to
eat a diet with enough lutein for years before the start of macular degeneration. This
will lead to the greatest benefit.
There may be benefits that have not
yet been proven through research.
Lutein may help reduce hardening of
the arteries (atherosclerosis). It may also lower the risk of cataracts.
There is no set dose for lutein. A
diet high in vegetables and fruits should give you enough lutein. This includes mainly
red, orange, and deep yellow fruits and vegetables, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Supplement doses range from 5–30 mg
Women who are pregnant or
breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare providers before taking any
Side effects, toxicity, and
There are no known side effects of
lutein. There are also no known food or medicine interactions linked with it.