Lutein is an antioxidant that 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 one of the leading causes of blindness in people over age 60.
Lutein was first isolated from egg yolks. It’s one 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 retina.
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 mg to30 mg per day.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare providers
before taking any supplements.
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
There are no known side effects of lutein. There are also no known food or medicine
interactions linked with it.