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Lutein is a type of organic pigment called a carotenoid. It is related to beta-carotene and vitamin A. Many people think of lutein as "the eye vitamin."

Lutein is one of two major carotenoids found in the human eye (macula and retina). It is thought to function as a light filter, protecting the eye tissues from sunlight damage. Foods rich in lutein include egg yolks, spinach, kale, corn, orange pepper, kiwi fruit, grapes, zucchini, and squash.

Lutein is commonly taken by mouth to prevent eye diseases, including cataracts and a disease that leads to vision loss in older adults (age-related macular degeneration or AMD). Lutein is used for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses.

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
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  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  When used alone or in combination with other ingredients, oral lutein seems to improve some aspects of vision in patient with AMD. However, it does not seem to slow the progression of AMD.

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  • Cataracts.  Increased dietary lutein seems to reduce the odds of developing cataracts. It is unclear if oral lutein supplementation is beneficial in those who already have cataracts.

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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.

There are no known interactions with medications. Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Beta-carotene: Using beta-carotene along with lutein may reduce the amount of lutein or beta-carotene that the body can absorb.
Vitamin E: Taking lutein supplements might decrease how much vitamin E the body absorbs. Taking lutein and vitamin E together might decrease the effects of vitamin E.

There are no known interactions with foods.

Lutein is found in many foods, including egg yolks, spinach, kale, corn, orange pepper, kiwi fruit, grapes, zucchini, and squash. There's 44 mg of lutein in one cup of cooked kale, 26 mg per cup of cooked spinach, and 3 mg per cup of broccoli.

Lutein is also taken in supplements. It's most often been used by adults in doses of 10-20 mg by mouth daily, for up to 3 years. Many multivitamins contain lutein. They usually provide a relatively small amount, such as 0.25 mg per tablet. Lutein is absorbed best when it's taken with a high-fat meal. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product or dose might be best for a specific condition.

All-E-Lutein, Beta,epsilon-carotene-3,3'-diol, E-Lutein, Luteina, Lutéine, Lutéine Synthétique, Synthetic Lutein.

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