All-E-Lutein, All-E-Zeaxanthin, All-E-3'-dehydro-lutein, Beta,epsilon-carotene-3,3'-diol, Carotenoid, Caroténoïde, E-Lutein, Luteina, Lutéine, Lutéine Synthétique, Synthetic Lutein, Xanthophyll, Xanthophylle, Zeaxanthin, Zéaxanthine.


Overview Information

Lutein is a type of vitamin called a carotenoid. It is related to beta-carotene and vitamin A. Foods rich in lutein include egg yolks, 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." It is commonly taken by mouth to prevent eye diseases such as an eye disease that leads to vision loss in older adults (age-related macular degeneration or AMD), and cataracts. There is no good scientific evidence to support the use of lutein for other conditions.

Many multivitamins contain lutein. They usually provide a relatively small amount, such as 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.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Likely Effective for

  • Lutein deficiency. Taking lutein by mouth is effective for preventing lutein deficiency.

Possibly Effective for

  • An eye disease that leads to vision loss in older adults (age-related macular degeneration or AMD). People who eat higher amounts of lutein in their diet seem to have a lower risk of developing AMD. But people who already eat high amounts of lutein might not benefit from increasing their intake even more. Taking lutein supplements for up to 36 months can improve some symptoms of AMD. Greater improvement in symptoms might be seen when lutein is taken for at least 1 year at doses above 10 mg, and when it is combined with other carotenoid vitamins. Lutein does not seem to keep AMD from becoming worse over time.
  • Cataracts. Eating higher amounts of lutein is linked with a lower risk of developing cataracts. Taking supplements containing lutein and zeaxanthin reduces the risk of developing cataracts that require surgical removal in people who eat low amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin as part of their diet. Also, taking lutein supplements seems to improve vision in older people who already have cataracts and do not already consume a lot of lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • Cancer that starts in white blood cells (non-Hodgkin lymphoma). People who eat higher amounts of lutein in their diet or take lutein supplements might have a lower chance of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Possibly Ineffective for

  • A lung disease that affects newborns (bronchopulmonary dysplasia). Research shows that giving preterm infants lutein and zeaxanthin by mouth doesn't reduce the chance of developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia.
  • Heart disease. Some population evidence suggests that people who eat higher amounts of lutein or take lutein supplements have a lower risk of heart-related adverse events like a heart attack or stroke. However, high-quality research shows that taking lutein 10 mg with zeaxanthin 2 mg by mouth daily doesn't prevent death due to heart disease, stroke, heart attack, or chest pain in older people.
  • Fractures. People who eat higher amounts of lutein in their diet don't have a lower risk of fractures.
  • Stomach cancer. People who eat higher amounts of lutein in their diet don't have a lower risk of developing stomach cancer.
  • A serious intestinal disease in premature infants (necrotizing enterocolitis or NEC). Research shows that giving preterm infants lutein and zeaxanthin by mouth doesn't prevent necrotizing enterocolitis.
  • Pancreatic cancer. People who eat higher amounts of lutein in their diet don't have a lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
  • An inherited eye condition that causes poor night vision and loss of side vision (retinitis pigmentosa). Taking lutein by mouth doesn't improve vision or other symptoms in people with retinitis pigmentosa.
  • An eye disorder in premature infants that can lead to blindness (retinopathy of prematurity). Research shows that giving preterm infants lutein and zeaxanthin by mouth doesn't prevent retinopathy of prematurity.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age. Older people who eat greater amounts of food containing lutein and zeaxanthin might have better memory. The effects of lutein in supplements on memory and thinking skills in older people is unclear. Some research shows that taking lutein plus zeaxanthin as supplements doesn't improve speaking or memory in older people. But taking lutein with or without docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) might improve speaking and memory in older women.
  • Lou Gehrig's Disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS). Early research suggests that people who eat more lutein as part of their diet have a lower risk of developing ALS compared to people who eat lower amounts of lutein.
  • Breast cancer. Research suggests that higher levels of lutein in the blood are linked with a reduced risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Cancer of the cervix. Early research suggests that lower intake of lutein as part of the diet is not linked with an increased risk of developing cancer of the cervix.
  • An inherited condition that causes vision loss (choroideremia). Early research suggests that taking 20 mg of lutein daily for 6 months doesn't improve vision in people with choroideremia.
  • Colon cancer, rectal cancer. There are conflicting results about whether diets containing higher amounts of lutein can reduce the risk of 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 doesn't reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Vision problems in people with diabetes (diabetic retinopathy). Early research shows that taking lutein doesn't improve vision in people with diabetes and an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy.
  • Cancer of the esophagus. Early research suggests that high amounts of lutein in the diet are linked with a decreased risk of developing cancer of the esophagus.
  • Lung cancer. Some early evidence suggests that low blood levels of lutein are linked with an increased risk of developing lung cancer. However, other research shows that taking lutein doesn't affect the risk of developing or dying from lung cancer.
  • Parkinson disease. Early research suggests that high amounts of lutein in the diet are not linked with a decreased risk of developing Parkinson disease.
  • A pregnancy complication marked by high blood pressure and protein in the urine (pre-eclampsia). 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. Early research shows that low blood levels of lutein are not linked with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
  • Infection of the airways. Early research shows that high blood levels of lutein are not linked with a decreased risk of infection of the airways.
  • Eyesight development. High blood levels of lutein in pregnant women have been linked to better vision in children. It's unclear if taking lutein supplements during pregnancy is beneficial.
  • Eye strain (asthenopia).
  • Muscle soreness caused by exercise.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of lutein for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Lutein is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth. Consuming up to 20 mg of lutein daily as part of the diet or as a supplement appears to be safe.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

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

Children: Lutein is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in appropriate amounts. A specific product (LUTEINofta, SOOFT Italia SpA) containing lutein 0.14 mg daily has been safely used in infants for 36 weeks.

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.



We currently have no information for LUTEIN Interactions.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For an eye disease that leads to vision loss in older adults (age-related macular degeneration or 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.

View References


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