Lutein is a kind of naturally occurring carotenoid synthesized exclusively by plants. Animals and humans can only obtain lutein by consuming plants, such as spinach, yellow carrots and kale. Largely known as a potent antioxidant, it has a pivotal role in protecting eyes against blue light and infections.
Lutein is found in the macula – a small region of retina – of human eyes. Though its actual function is not yet confirmed, lutein’s location within an eye suggests that it supposedly helps in the reduction of oxidative stress and absorption of high-energy blue light photons.
Xanthophyll; beta, epsilon-Carotene-3,3′-Diol
Sources of Lutein
Major Plant Sources:
- Red and yellow peppers
- Sweet corn
Major Animal Sources:
Eggs: Yolk of eggs is the main animal source of lutein. It is present in high amount in eggs and considered to be the best-absorbed food form of lutein.
Benefits of Lutein:
Lutein is an important antioxidant, which plays an important role in skin care and eye health. It is a potent antioxidant and is very important for the general well-being of our body function.
Promotes Skin Health:
Carotenoid like lutein are also present in the human skin. It helps in protecting skin against harmful rays present in our surroundings. Lutein for skin is well known for its antioxidant properties, which is essential for preventing and protecting skin against the free radicals. It also reduces oxidative stress in the skin, and helps in moisture retention and reduces signs of aging.
Fights Against Macular Degeneration:
Lutein exhibits therapeutic properties against macular degeneration (common cause of blindness in old-age people). Lutein filters out the harmful UV rays and ensures general health of eyes. It reduces blue light to enter in the retina and prevents light-induced damage to the eyes.
Improves Eye Sight:
Human eyesight reduces with age, so the levels of macular pigments also decrease. Constant intake of lutein is known to help in maintaining good eyesight for long. Lutein is also effective in people, who are suffering from eye problems and weak eyesight to enhance their vision.
Reduces Risk of Diabetes:
It controls blood sugar levels and lowers the risk of diabetes.
Lowers Cancer Risks:
A Higher amount of lutein in the diet helps in reducing the chances of cancer.
Improves Brain Health:
Lutein supports proper functioning of the brain and enhances learning and memory. It is present as a dominant carotenoid in the brain, thus influencing neural functions and visual processing.
Reduces Risk of Cataract:
It helps to reduce and prevent the risk of age-dependent cataract. Food items containing a high amount of lutein are commonly available options to prevent cataract.
Decreases Light Sensitivity (Glare):
Lutein is a potent antioxidant, which helps in reducing many eye problems. It decreases light sensitivity and improves vision.
Side Effects of Lutein:
- Lutein is widely considered safe for human consumption in sufficient amount as there is no known scientific evidence about its side effects. People suffering from cystic fibrosis might have difficulty in absorbing carotenoids like lutein.
- In special cases like pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is highly recommended to initially consult a doctor before consuming any amount of lutein.
- Effects of lutein vary with the type of supplement a person is consuming. Its supplements may cause problems like rashes and stomach cramps.
Lutein is recommended to be taken orally either as a medication or through natural sources.
- 6 mg of lutein is recommended for reducing risks of macular degeneration and cataract-related to age.
- 10 mg of lutein is sufficient for reducing symptoms of macular degeneration.
- 15 mg of lutein can improve visual functions in one year if taken thrice a week for about one year.
Note: The above-mentioned dosages can never be substituted with a health professional’s prescriptions. Hence, consulting a health professional (nutritionist, dietician or physician) is always recommended before consuming a lutein supplement.
Lutein is an important nutrient for all age groups. Lutein supplements are designed specially to protect eyes and maintain the overall health. There are many lutein supplements available in the market that can be consumed for the general well-being of eyes and skin or to maintain its normal level in the body.
Some of the popular lutein supplements are listed below:
- Pure encapsulations lutein
- GNC natural brand lutein
- Jarrow formulas lutein
- Natures bounty lutein
FAQs: What people normally want to know about lutein?
1. Does lutein help in dry eyes syndrome?
Yes, it helps! The lutein has a significant role in preserving the moisture of eyes. Medications containing lutein are recommended for those, who continuously sit in front of computers for hours.
2. How much lutein is too much?
No tolerable upper limit has been set for lutein, but doses up to 30 milligrams per day are generally considered safe and effective.
3. What are carotenoids?
Carotenoids are pigments in plants, responsible for bright yellow, orange and red hues in many fruits and vegetables. Lutein