The xanthophyll lutein is believed to function in two ways: (1) filter the high energy blue light
and quenches and (2) scavenges photo induced reactive oxygen species (ROS). It has
been observed that lutein consumption is inversely related to eye diseases, especially the
age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. [1, 3,4]

Long-term use of antioxidants such as vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin have been
associated with lower incidence and progression of cataracts, but prospective studies of
vitamin supplementation have shown little effect. [Fernandez MM, et al, Curr Opin
Ophthalmol. 2010 Dec 9.]

Scientists have found that lutein and zeaxanthin (its stero isomer) are deposited in the lens
and the macula lutea (the area of the retina for central and high acuity vision). Lutein
supplementation has been shown to improve vision in patients with
AMD,  protect skin from
UV-induced damage and help protect from cardiovascular disease. [2]

Lutein is readily absorbed from foods or supplements. A serum lutein concentration in the
range of 0.6-1.05 micromol/l may be safe, dietary achievable and the desirable target may
be asociated with the beneficial impact on visual function and the development of other
chronic diseases. [1, 6]

Dr. Stuart Richer's recent study suggested that age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
symptoms might be reversed through purified lutein supplementation or a supplement mix
of lutein and other antioxidants. Patients taking the lutein supplement had a significant
improvements in several visual functions such as glare recovery, contrast sensitivity and
visual acuity. [5]  

Lutein benefit - Lutein's effect on atherosclerosis
Guinea pigs were fed a hypercholesterolemic diet (0.25 g cholesterol/100 g) and randomly
allocated to a control group or a lutein group and fed the experimental diets for 12 wk.
Plasma LDL cholesterol and triglycerol did not differ between groups; however, the lutein
group had lower concentrations of medium size LDL. Aortic cholesterol and
malondialdehyde concentrations were lower in the lutein group. Hematoxilin and eosin
staining indicated that aortas from the control group presented focal intimal thickening,
whereas either less thickness or no visible thickness was present in aortas from the lutein
group. Oxidized LDL was lower both in plasma and aorta in the lutein group compared to
the control group. Thus, lutein exerts potent antioxidant and antiinflammatory effects in aortic
tissue that may protect against development of atherosclerosis in guinea pigs.[Kim JE, J
Nutr. 2011 Aug;141(8):1458-63]

Lutein benefit - Anti-cancer activities
A study of rats was to evaluate the chemoprotective activity of lutein against colon cancer
induced by dimethylhydrazine. Lutein given in the diet (dosage: 0.002%), before
(prevention) and after (treatment) dimethylhydrazine administration, diminished the number
of tumors by 55% and 32%, respectively. [Reynoso-Camacho R, et al, Nutr Cancer. 2011

Lutein benefit - Anti-viral activities
A study shows that lutein inhibited the activity of hepatitis B virus (HBV) full-length promoter
(Fp).The study suggests that lutein possesses an anti-HBV activity and exerts its antivirus
effects via inhibition of HBV transcription. [Phytother Res. 2010 Nov;24(11):1627-30.]

Lutein side effects
Lutein is generally recognized as safe (GRAS).

Lutein Intake, Lutein Dosage and Lutein Sources
A study to evaluate the lutein intake in group of 110 adolescents from big city (Warsaw) and
little town (Iłza) was conducted. The group consisted of 56 girls and 54 boys, high school
students, aged 16 - 20. The study was carried in the spring of 2007, with the use of three-
days dietary food records method. The mean intake of lutein was found to be 1.87
mg/person/ day and it was dependent on respondents sex. Girls consumed 1.67 mg per
day of lutein, while boys consumed 2.07 mg per day. [Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2010;61(1):57-
63.] While, an online marketer suggests the lutein dosages to be 6 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg.

The main sources of lutein in adolescents food rations were vegetables (64%), including
dark-green leafy vegetables (40%), eggs (12%) and cereal products (12%). Potatoes (5%),
fruit (3%) and juices (3%) did not contribute significant amount to dietary intake of lutein.
[Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2010;61(1):57-63.]

Most studies are done in animals. Clinical studies in human subjects are needed to verify the suggested health

[1] Granado F. et al, Nutritional and clinical relevance of lutein in human health. Br J Nutr. 2003 Sep;90(3):487-
502. [2] Alves-Rodrigues A et al, The science behind lutein, Toxicol Lett. 2004 Apr 15;150(1):57-83. [3] Richer
et al, Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the
intervention of atrophic age-related macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant
Supplementation Trial). Optometry, 2004 Apr; 75(4):216-30. Koh et al. UMIST, Manchester, UK. Plasma and
macular responses to lutein supplement in subjects with and without age-related maculopathy: a pilot study,
Exp Eye Res. 2004 Jul; 79(1):21-7. [5]  L.A. Times: Lutein may reverse vision loss, April 7, 2004. [6] Stahl. W.
Macular carotenoids: lutein and zeaxanthin. Dev Ophthalmol. 2005;38:70-88.
Lutein Benefits, lutein side effects, lutein and zeaxanthin, lutein dosage    August 3, 2011
Lutein is one of the most widely found carotenoids distributed in fruits and vegetables. It is
not a vitamin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are commonly combined together as a health
supplement. Human consumption is about 1-3 mg of lutein a day.

Lutein Benefits
Its distribution in human body is very selective, mainly at the center of the retina - macular
pigments. Lutein has displayed biological activties that have drawn our attention in relation
to our health.  [1]
Discuss with your doctor before taking any alternative medicine. This article is for
reference only, it is not a medical advice. All rights reserved. Do not copy this article to
other website or blog.