Lutein, a chemical found in green vegetables, is a member of a family of substances known as carotenoids . Beta-carotene is the most famous nutrient in this class. Like beta-carotene, lutein is an antioxidant that protects our cells against damage caused by dangerous, naturally occurring chemicals known as free radicals.
Recent evidence has found that lutein may play an important role in protecting our eyes and eyesight. It may work in two ways: by acting directly as a kind of natural sunblock, and also by neutralizing free radicals that can damage the eye.
Lutein is not an essential nutrient. However, it is possible that it may be useful for optimal health.
Green vegetables are the best source of lutein, especially spinach, kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, leeks, and peas. Unlike beta-carotene, lutein is not found in high concentrations in yellow and orange vegetables such as carrots.
According to theoretical findings and two preliminary double-blind studies, it appears that use of lutein supplements might help prevent or slow the development of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and possibly cataracts , the two most common causes of vision loss in seniors.
Maximum safe dosages for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease have not been established.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 08/22/2013 -