Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Today we are going to talk about lutein, an essential vitamin carotenoid for eye health.

In addition to preventing the development of eye diseases, lutein also has benefits for cardiovascular health, aids brain function, fights type II diabetes and prevents some cancers.

But lutein is not produced by the body, so it needs to be consumed through supplementation. In this article you will learn about the functions and benefits of this supplement. Enjoy your reading!




Summary

  • Lutein supplement is found in liquid capsules. The concentration varies from 5 to 25 mg per serving (one or two capsules), with the recommended daily dose ranging from 15 to 30 mg.
  • Another substance present in this supplement is zeaxanthin, a carotenoid with complementary functions and benefits to lutein. The recommended daily dose is 6 mg.
  • Lutein supplements can be enriched with vitamins A, C and E and the minerals selenium, zinc and chromium.

The best Lutein: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Do you know what lutein is for, what its benefits are, where to buy it and how much it costs? These and other information are provided in this Buying Guide.

Imagem de uma mulher tomando uma pílula.

Lutein has many health benefits. (Source: puhhha / 123RF)

What is lutein?

Lutein is one of the main carotenoids found in the pigmentation of the eyes. The substance is concentrated in the macula of the eye and is found in smaller amounts in the retina and optic nerve.

The pigment serves as a filter that controls light absorption and protects eye tissues from damage caused by blue light. Lutein also protects the retina against the sun’s rays.

In conjunction with other antioxidants, lutein serves to prevent eye diseases such as cataracts, retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.

Imagem dos olhos de uma mulher asiática.

Many doctors and nutritionists call lutein the “vitamin of the eyes”. (Source: Min an / Pexels)

As well as being present in the eyes, lutein also makes up the skin, cervix, brain, breasts and blood, presenting benefits to all these areas of the body.

Our body does not produce lutein, so it is important to supplement.

But lutein is not produced by the body, so it is essential that you eat foods rich in lutein such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kiwi, grapes, corn, pumpkin and egg yolk.

It is also essential to include a lutein supplementation. This supplement is found in capsule form and in different concentrations.

Some carotenoids have an antioxidant function (lutein and zeaxanthin), while others provide vitamin A (beta-carotene). These substances are associated with the prevention of several diseases.

What are the benefits of lutein for eye health?

Lutein has great antioxidant power, so it helps fight free radical damage to healthy cells, prevents oxidative stress and inflammation in several systems of the body.

This substance plays an important role in maintaining eye health. One of its benefits is to increase the thickness of the macula, the structure of the retina that helps absorb excess blue light and ultraviolet rays.

Imagem de três pessoas se abraçando.

Lutein works like natural sunglasses. (Source: nappy / Pexels)

Studies prove that increasing dietary levels of lutein by taking a supplement can prevent and treat macular degeneration (which can cause vision loss) and the incidence of cataracts, common in older people.

Other proven benefits of lutein are:

  • Reduced eye fatigue
  • Reduced sensitivity to light glare
  • Strengthening of ocular tissue
  • Improved vision quality.

What are the benefits for the skin?

Lutein has many benefits for the skin. Starting with its antioxidant property that helps preserve collagen and lipids (fats that make up the skin) from oxidative degeneration.

Another benefit is protection against ultraviolet rays, which, besides causing premature ageing, can also cause the development of skin cancer.

The supplement also helps reinforce skin health, leaving it looking healthy, hydrated, with elasticity and homogeneous colouring. And besides the supplement in capsules, you can also find lutein for topical use.

 Imagem de uma mulher segurando um chapéu em dia ensolarado com as paited ladies de São Francisco, na Califórnia, ao fundo.

Lutein protects the skin against ultraviolet rays. (Source: rawpixel.com / Pexels)

What are the other benefits of Lutein?

See below for some more benefits of Lutein use:

Brain functions

Lutein is the dominant carotenoid in the brain. The substance has various roles such as visual processing, aiding memory and learning ability.

Cardiovascular benefits

Lutein is present in blood plasma, performing antioxidant functions beneficial to the cardiovascular system (heart, blood vessels and arteries).

One of these functions is to prevent the peroxidation of lipids and cholesterol in the blood, reducing the formation and accumulation of plaque in blood vessels. Lutein also helps prevent the thickening of artery walls, reducing the risk or progression of atherosclerosis.

Imagem de um homem com dor no peito.

Lutein also helps in the prevention of heart attacks and stroke. (Source: Pexels / Pixabay)

Helps in the treatment of diabetes

Apart from its antioxidant function, lutein supplement helps balance blood sugar levels and increases insulin sensitivity.

Prevents the formation of malignant tumours

The antioxidant properties of lutein may be helpful in preventing some cancers (cervical, colon and prostate). However, the substance is of no benefit for other cancers.

Advantages
  • Helps in the prevention and treatment of eye diseases
  • Liquid capsules are easier to ingest
  • Some supplements are enriched with vitamins and minerals
  • It has a very affordable price
Disadvantages
  • Most supplements offer a dosage lower than the recommended daily dose
  • The only form of presentation are the capsules

Who should take lutein supplements?

Lutein supplementation is especially recommended for people in older age, because as we age, there is a reduction of lutein in eye tissues.

The supplement is also recommended for people with blue eyes, smokers and women after menopause, as these groups tend to have lower levels of lutein in the body.

Imagem de uma pessoa com olhos azuis.

People with blue eyes tend to have less lutein in their bodies. (Source: Adina Voicu / Pixabay)

What is the recommended dose of lutein?

The prescription may vary from one person to another, but a daily dose between 15 and 30 mg is already enough to bring great benefits, especially for eye health and vision.

The supplement should be taken preferably after meals. Tip: foods with good fats, such as oil seeds and olive oil, improve the absorption process of lutein by the body.

How much does lutein cost?

Lutein is sold in bottles with 60 capsules and its price is very affordable, ranging from £30 to £70. You can also find kits with two or more bottles for up to £90.

Where can I buy lutein?

You can find lutein in pharmacies such as Drogaria São Paulo and Ultrafarma, in natural products shops such as Natue and Mundo Verde, compounding pharmacies and supplement shops such as Now Sports Nutrition.

If you prefer you can buy the product online at shops like Amazon, Mercado Livre, Americanas, Magazine Luiza, among others.

Purchase criteria: Factors to compare different Lutein models

Lutein in capsules is an excellent alternative to supplement the daily needs of this substance. To choose the ideal supplement, analyse the following characteristics:

  • Concentration
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Capsule

We will explain each of the items throughout this section.

Concentration

You can find supplements with different levels of lutein concentration, from 5 to 25 mg per serving. As we mentioned earlier, the recommended daily dose ranges from 15 to 30 mg, so look for supplements with a higher concentration.

And be aware that some manufacturers put the total weight of the capsule as prominent information on the packaging, which may confuse some people into thinking that is the concentration of lutein.

Zeaxanthin

Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid similar to lutein. Both substances have antioxidant properties and similar functions such as maintaining eye and skin health (although lutein is more complete).

Some lutein supplements are enriched with zeaxanthin, the concentration varies from 1 to 5 mg per serving (the recommended daily dose is 6 mg).

Imagem dos olhos de uma mulher.

Zeaxanthin is also important for eye health. (Source: PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay)

Vitamins and minerals

Lutein supplementation can be enriched with vitamins and minerals with complementary properties. Vitamin A is excellent for vision and vitamins C and E have antioxidant properties.

Selenium also has some important benefits such as strengthening the heart, antioxidant action, prevention of degenerative diseases and some cancers.

Zinc fights free radicals, strengthens the heart, improves mental health, fights aging, among other benefits similar to those provided by lutein.

Capsule

Lutein supplementation is usually in liquid capsules. Lutein and other ingredients in the composition can be diluted in two types of oils: avocado oil and blackcurrant oil.

Black currant oil has the following benefits:

  • Balances the feminine hormones, prevents PMS symptoms and delays menopause;
  • Has antioxidant action
  • Has anti-inflammatory action;
  • Improves the aspect of the skin, as it has omega 6, a fatty acid that is part of the structure of the skin.

Avocado oil also has numerous benefits: it aids in eye health, is good for skin and hair, reduces blood pressure, strengthens the cardiovascular system, prevents some types of cancers, reduces inflammatory processes, aids in nutrient absorption, weight loss, among others.

(Source of the highlighted image: Pixabay / Pexels)

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