Lutein is a carotenoid found in the macula and retina of the human eye. It is related to vitamin A and acts as a light filter. Rich sources of lutein include dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale, corn, grapes, and egg yolks. Lutein and its isomer zeaxanthin together confer many health benefits through their antioxidant action. Lutein is particularly important in protecting the eyes from sunlight damage.
Lutein has been shown to help protect against and alleviate eye diseases such as cataract, diabetic retinopathy, myopia, and age-related macular degeneration. Additionally, since it has antioxidant properties, its use in the treatment of certain cancers and cardiovascular conditions has been considered. The beneficial effects of lutein on the eye are greatly enhanced when used in combination with other carotenoids and vitamin A.
Lutein is categorized as Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) since it has minimal side effects, even with long-term consumption. In rare cases, an adverse reaction may occur, causing wheezing, tightness in the chest, itching, or swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat. Vomiting may also occur in some cases. Please seek emergency care and contact your doctor at once if this happens.
What is Lutein
Uses of Lutein
Side effects of Lutein
1. How much lutein and zeaxanthin should I take?
In supplement form, lutein is usually taken in doses of 10-20 mg/day, though a dose of 5 mg/day is more commonly used. Since many multivitamins contain small amounts of lutein, you can check with your doctor regarding your specific dosage. You can also speak with a nutritionist to regulate your lutein intake via diet.
2. Is Lutein safe?
No clinically significant adverse reactions have been reported at up to doses of up to 20 mg/day taken orally, either through diet or as supplements. Since lutein is found in the milk of lactating individuals and in the umbilical cord, it is considered to be safe for the human body.
3. Is Lutein vitamin A?
No, it is not. Both lutein and vitamin A are organic compounds, however, lutein is a carotenoid, an organic pigment compound that produces bright red and orange colors in plants, whereas vitamin A is a collection of organic compounds including many provitamin A compounds.
4. Does Lutein improve vision?
Since lutein and zeaxanthin are the only dietary carotenoids that accumulate in the retina, supplementation with lutein does show improvement in vision, particularly in the prevention and clearing of cataracts and in the correction of conditions such as myopia. Additionally, they offer protection from harmful blue light, which can cause deterioration of vision.
5. Does lutein prevent macular degeneration?
Positive correlation has been shown between high intake of lutein and reduced incidence of macular degeneration. It is thought that since carotenoids are present in a high concentration in the macula, damage to the macular region due to sunlight and free radicals causes macular degeneration. Supplementation with lutein has been shown to prevent, reduce, and even alleviate macular degeneration.
6. How does lutein help the eyes?
Lutein has primarily been helpful in managing the following conditions:
7. Is Lutein bad for the liver?
No, it is not. No toxic effects of lutein supplementation on the liver have been recorded. It is thought that the antioxidant action of lutein may help in preventing degenerative issues in the liver, though this has not been specifically confirmed.
8. Who should not take Lutein?
Since lutein is categorized as Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS), it is safe for consumption in general. Please consult your doctors before beginning supplements, especially in the case of children.
9. Can Lutein cause constipation?
No concrete link has been established between lutein intake and increased constipation. However, it has been noted that, out of all vitamin A-associated compounds, lutein and zeaxanthin are the only ones to cause a decrease in constipation. This helpful role of lutein in abdominal issues is being explored in the treatment of conditions such as IBS.
Get your supply of lutein either from your diet or in the form of supplements. To know how lutein can best work for you, contact Yashoda Hospitals to land a free consultation with our doctors.
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