- What other names is Lutein known by?
- What is Lutein?
- How does Lutein work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Dosing considerations for Lutein.
Many people think of lutein as "the eye vitamin." They use it to prevent eye diseases including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, and retinitis pigmentosa.
Some people also use it for preventing colon cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Many multivitamins contain lutein. They usually provide a relatively small amount of 0.25 mg per tablet.
Likely Effective for...
- Lutein deficiency. Taking lutein by mouth is effective for preventing lutein deficiency.
Possibly Effective for...
- An eye disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Population studies suggest that people who consume higher amounts of lutein in their diet have a reduced risk of developing AMD. However, increasing dietary intake of lutein might not reduce the risk of AMD in people who already have a high intake of lutein. Taking lutein supplements for up to 12 months can improve some symptoms of AMD, but it does not seem to prevent AMD from becoming worse. Research on the use of lutein together with other ingredients shows conflicting results.
- Cataracts. Some studies suggest that eating higher amounts of lutein might decrease the risk of developing cataracts. Also, early research suggests that taking lutein three times weekly for up to 2 years can improve vision in elderly people with cataracts.
Possibly Ineffective for...
- Clogged arteries (coronary heart disease). Research suggests that eating higher amounts of lutein does not lower the risk of developing clogged arteries.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Breast cancer. Some evidence suggests that higher levels of lutein in the blood are linked with a reduced risk of developing breast cancer.
- Cervical cancer. Early research suggests that low amounts of lutein in the diet are not linked with an increased risk of developing cervical cancer.
- An inherited condition that causes vision loss (choroideremia). Early research suggests that taking 20 mg of lutein daily for 6 months does not improve vision in people with choroideremia.
- Mental function. Some early research suggests that taking 12 mg of lutein plus 800 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for 4 months can improve speaking and memory in older women.
- Colon and rectal cancer. There is conflicting results about whether diets containing higher amounts of lutein can reduce the risk of developing colon or rectal cancer.
- Diabetes. Some research suggests that low blood levels of lutein or other carotenoids are linked with blood sugar problems. In theory, taking lutein might reduce the risk of developing diabetes. However, other research suggests that increasing lutein intake in the diet does not reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
- Muscle soreness after exercise. Some evidence suggests that taking a combination product that contains lutein (BioAstin) daily for 3 weeks before exercise does not reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
- Eye strain (asthenopia). Early research suggests that some taking lutein along with other supplements might reduce eye strain. The effect of lutein alone on eye strain is unclear.
- Lung cancer. Some evidence suggests that low blood levels of lutein are linked with an increased risk of developing lung cancer. However, other evidence suggests that taking lutein does not affect the risk of developing or dying from lung cancer.
- High blood pressure during pregnancy. Some research suggests that high blood levels of lutein are linked with a lower risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy. It is not clear if taking lutein supplements lowers the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy.
- Prostate cancer. Some research shows that low blood levels of lutein are not linked with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
- Respiratory infections. Some research shows that high blood levels of lutein are not linked with a decreased risk of respiratory infections
- An eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa. Some early evidence suggests that lutein might be helpful in the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa. However, other evidence suggests that lutein does not improve vision or other symptoms of this eye disease.
- Eye problems in premature infants (retinopathy of prematurity). Early research suggests that lutein does not decrease the risk or severity of retinopathy of prematurity.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Next: How does Lutein work?
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Get breaking medical news.