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Lutein

Lutein

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

About

Lutein is a type of vitamin called a carotenoid. It is related to beta-carotene and vitamin A. Foods rich in lutein include broccoli, spinach, kale, corn, orange pepper, kiwi fruit, grapes, orange juice, zucchini, and squash. Lutein is absorbed best when it is taken with a high-fat meal.

Many people think of lutein as "the eye vitamin." They use it to prevent eye diseases including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, eye strain, an inherited condition that causes vision loss (choroideremia), and a certain eye disease that affects the retina (retinitis pigmentosa).

Some people also use it for preventing numerous cancers, type 2 diabetes, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's disease, cognitive function, high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia), and heart disease. Lutein has also been used to prevent complications in infants that are born too early and have low birth weight.

Many multivitamins contain lutein. They usually provide a relatively small amount of 0.25 mg per tablet.

How does it work?

Lutein is one of two major carotenoids found as a color pigment in the human eye (macula and retina). It is thought to function as a light filter, protecting the eye tissues from sunlight damage.

Traditionally used for

Lutein deficiency.
An eye disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Cataracts.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease).
Eye strain (asthenopia).
An inherited condition that causes vision loss (choroideremia).

Dosage

By Mouth:

For an eye disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD): For preventing AMD, about 6-12 mg of lutein daily, either through diet or supplementation has been used. For reducing symptoms of AMD, 10-20 mg daily has been used. For reducing symptoms, 10-12 mg of lutein daily has been used.

For cataracts: For preventing cataracts, about 6-12 mg of lutein daily, either through diet or supplementation has been used. For reducing symptoms, 15 mg of lutein three times weekly or 10 mg of lutein plus 2 mg of zeaxanthin daily has been used.

There is 44 mg of lutein per cup of cooked kale, 26 mg per cup of cooked spinach, and 3 mg per cup of broccoli.

Possible Side Effects

Lutein is SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. Consuming 6.9-11.7 mg/day of lutein as part of the diet appears to be safe. Lutein supplements have been used safely in studies in doses up to 15 mg daily for up to 2 years. Taking up to 20 mg of lutein both from the diet and supplements seems to be safe.

Children: Lutein is SAFE when used appropriately.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Lutein is SAFE when used in the amounts found in food.

Cystic fibrosis: People with cystic fibrosis might not absorb some carotenoids from food very well, and often have low blood levels of lutein. How much the body absorbs from lutein supplementation might also be decreased in people with cystic fibrosis.

Skin cancer: There is some concern that higher blood levels of lutein are linked to slightly increased risk of skin cancer in people at high risk who also have a history of skin cancer.

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