Lutein Eye Benefit and research studies - 6, 10 mg and 20 mg capsule or tablet - What is the right supplement dosage for optimal visual acuity? Does this nutrient have untoward effects? How often should you take the pills?

April 6 2014

Lutein is a carotenoid which has become popular as a dietary supplement either by itself, or combined with zeaxanthin and other carotenoids, herbs, and vitamins for the prevention of visual disorders such as macular degeneration or to help support healthy eyesight. Lutein and zeaxanthin play an important role in the eye: they accumulate in the retina, where they form the macular pigment, and in the lens. Their role is probably to filter out phototoxic blue light and to quench singlet oxygen. Humans consume 1 to 3 mg per day and the lutein : zeaxanthin ratio in the diet is about 5:1.
   Less than 30 of the thousands of carotenoids found in nature are found in the human body. These are present in the body from the foods or dietary supplements that humans consume. The body does not synthesize them. Among the carotenoids present in the body, only lutein and its coexistent isomer, zeaxanthin, are found in that portion of the eye where light is focused by the lens, namely, the macula lutea.

Food sources 
Vegetables are the richest source in the diet. Lutein is found in many vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. Good amounts are found in foods such as dark green leafy vegetables and egg yolks. Kale and spinach have high concentrations. Corn and collard greens also have it. Marigold petals have a high content.
   Additional good sources in food includes the paprika fruit, loquat peel. The leaves and pods of the drumstick tree are used as food and medicine in some Asian and African countries.

Eyesight Rx will make you see better during the day and at night, buy lutein supplement
Developed by physician Ray Sahelian, M.D., his website has a number of nutrition, natural healing, and health topics

Lutein Front.jpgUnlike some eyesight products that provide vitamins and herbs for long term healthy eyesight support, and prevention of visual impairment, but don't seem to have much of an immediate effect on visual acuity, Eyesight Rx was formulated to provide visual support and prevention, along with a noticeable eyesight improvement in a shorter period of time. Some people notice improvement within a few days, others may require up to a month to notice the visual enhancement. For better vision, we also suggest eating more cold water fish or for taking one to three fish oil capsules a day.

Reports from users indicate clarity of vision, colors being brighter, better focus, and overall improvement in close and distance vision. Along with the visual effects, many people notice being more mentally alert. What makes this formula unique is that the tablet can be melted under the tongue for a quick absorption of the nutrients into the bloodstream, thus bypassing the gastric and intestinal interference. After a minute or two under the tongue, the rest of the tablet that has not dissolved can be swallowed.

Learn more, get a free newsletter or Buy Lutein eye benefit 6 mg supplement product

The benefit of lutein and zeaxanthin for eyes
Their benefit is to absorb light in the blue-green region of the visible spectrum. In humans their roles are to improve visual function and to act as antioxidants in order to protect the macula from damage by oxidative stress. Of the many carotenoids circulating in human sera, only lutein and zeaxanthin are accumulated throughout the tissues of the eye. Within the eye, they reach their highest concentration in the central retina, where vision is at its sharpest. Lutein research studies suggest its filtering process serves to protect the retina from damage caused by light or oxidation. This 6 mg product is extracted from the marigold flower.

Benefit or age related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in aging Western societies. The macula is a small area of the retina that has the sharpest vision. With age, the macula degenerates leading to poor eyesight. Lutein supplementation appears to benefit. It is also helpful in retinal degeneration. Studies show higher dietary lutein and zeaxanthin intake reduces the risk of age related macular degeneration.
   A comprehensive approach to macular degeneration would include several vitamins and nutrients. These would be vitamins C and E, beta carotene, zinc oxide, fish oils, low doses of alpha lipoic acid, and certainly the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

Benefit for cataract treatment or prevention
Excessive sunlight exposure increases the risk for cataracts. Visual function in patients with age-related cataracts who received lutein supplements improve, suggesting that a higher intake, through lutein -rich fruit and vegetables or supplements, may have beneficial effects on the visual performance of people with age-related cataracts.

Lutein reduces oxidation of cholesterol.

Benefit for heart health and coronary artery disease
A meta-analysis of epidemiological studies indicates that high lutein intakes may modestly reduce coronary risk.

Head and neck cancer
Postradiotherapy plasma lutein, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene are positively associated with survival in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Nutrition and Cancer. 2010..
The aim of our study was to compare plasma carotenoids (i.e., biomarkers of fruits and vegetables intake) and tocopherols in 29 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients. The patients' blood samples were taken at the end of radiotherapy. We observed that plasma lutein, zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, and total carotenoids were significantly lower in HNSCC patients than controls. Among the patients, 18 died and 11 were still alive during median follow-up of 55 mo for survivors. We found a significant positive association between postradiotherapy plasma carotenoids (lutein, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene) and progression-free survival in these patients. Increasing plasma carotenoid concentration should be done by increasing intake of carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables, as other studies have shown either no or negative effects due to use of carotenoid supplements.

Prostate cancer
Epidemiological and laboratory studies indicate that a lutein benefit would be reducing the risk for prostate cancer.

Retinitis pigmentosa
In 2010, a study was published online in the Archives of Ophthalmology that offers new hope for the prevention of visual field loss in patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa. In this study conducted by lead author Eliot Berson, M.D. (Berman-Gund Laboratory at Harvard Medical School), non-smoking patients aged 18-60 years with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) received either 12 mg of FloraGLO lutein or a placebo tablet daily. All patients received 15,000 IU/day of vitamin A and throughout the study period were advised to eat 1 to 2 servings of oily fish per week to increase their intake of long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. During the 4 years of supplementation, a decline in visual field area was apparent in all patients. However, a significantly lower decline was observed in the group supplemented with 12 mg/day lutein, compared to the placebo group. The authors estimated that the benefit of lutein supplementation on the long-term course of midperipheral visual field among RP patients also taking vitamin A and eating an oily fish diet would be 3 to 10 years of protection against further loss of sight. No adverse effects of lutein supplementation were noted during the 4 years of supplementation. Retinitis pigmentosa is the name of a group of inherited eye diseases which results in poor night vision in adolescence, and the loss of side (midperipheral and far peripheral) vision in adulthood with tunnel vision as the outcome. As this disease progresses, patients loose their central vision by 60 years of age. For this study, DSM Nutritional Products supplied the lutein tablets which contained FloraGLO Lutein and used the ActileaseŽ, technology in order to increase the bioavailability of lutein.Actilease is a registered trademark of DSM. FloraGLO is a registered trademark of Kemin Industries, Inc. DSM Nutritional Products is a supplier of vitamins, carotenoids and other chemicals to the feed, food, pharmaceutical and personal care industries.

Daily requirement
It has been estimated that Americans consume about 1 to 2 mg of lutein per day, although dietary guidelines of the US Dietary Association Food Guide Pyramid recommend closer to 5 mg a day.

Lutein dosage
Most supplements are sold in a dosage of 6, 10 or 20 mg.

Overdose, taking too much, very high dose
How do I know if I am taking too much of a lutein supplement dose?
    Many people notice improved vision when they first start taking it. However, if your dosage is too high or you are taking pills too many days in a row, you may find your vision is not as sharp. If you take a break for a couple of days, you may find your vision improves as your retinal balances our and thins out the excess lutein that was provided as a supplement.

Your lutein supplement dosage recommendations appear to be reasonable. However, I have come a product that has 100 mg lutein per capsule. They claim that people need 2 mg of lutein per kg of body weight.
    High dosages of lutein may disrupt the balance of nutrients in the eye and cause blurriness. Dr. Ray Sahelian, a highly respected physician, does not believe it is necessary to ingest more than 40 or 50 mg per week.

Additional benefits
Epidemiologic studies indicating an inverse relationship between xanthophyll intake or status and both cataract and age-related macular degeneration suggest these compounds can play a protective role in the eye. Some studies have also shown these xanthophylls may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, particularly those of the breast and lung. Emerging studies suggest as well a potential contribution of lutein and zeaxanthin to the prevention of heart disease and stroke.

Lutein and zeaxanthin for skin
Mice given a diet with both have less damage to their skin when exposed to UVB-induced photoaging and photocarcinogenesis.

Lutein side effects, risk, danger
We can't find any research that points to any significant lutein side effects, however there could be some if too a high a dose is taken for too long. We am just guessing, but taking a very high amount could disturb the balance of carotenoids in eye tissue or other organs. It is best to keep dosage to less than 20 mg two or three times a week.

Lutein and bilberry benefit, additional nutraceuticals
The benefits of bilberry and lutein rest mostly on their ability to provide substances that are beneficial for eye health and improved vision. Bilberry and lutein may benefit those who have macular degeneration or are predisposed to a cataract. Cavinton vinpocetine is helpful for improved blood flow to eyes, ears, and brain.

Limonene essential oil
Lucidenic acid is found in the medicinal mushroom ganoderma lucidum
Lupane is found in a number of herbs including frankincense.
Lupeol is found in common fruit plants such as olive, mango and fig.
Lupin kernel flour is high in protein and fiber
Lyc-O-Mato is a trademarked lycopene extract from tomatoes that has antioxidant properties.