Lutein is a type of vitamin called a carotenoid. It is related to beta-carotene and vitamin A. Foods rich in lutein include 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." They use it to prevent eye diseases including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, eye strain, an inherited condition that causes vision loss (choroideremia), and a certain eye disease that affects the retina (retinitis pigmentosa).

Some people also use it for preventing numerous cancers, type 2 diabetes, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's disease, cognitive function, high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia), and heart disease. Lutein has also been used to prevent complications in infants that are born too early and have low birth weight.

Many multivitamins contain lutein. They usually provide a relatively small amount of 0.25 mg per tablet.

How it works

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.


Likely Effective
Lutein deficiency

Taking lutein by mouth prevents lutein deficiency.


Likely safe

Lutein is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. Consuming 6.9-11.7 mg/day of lutein as part of the diet appears to be safe. Lutein supplements have been used safely in studies in doses up to 15 mg daily for up to 2 years. Taking up to 20 mg of lutein both from the diet and supplements seems to be safe. Children: Lutein is LIKELY SAFE when used appropriately. A specific product (LUTEINofta, SOOFT Italia SpA) containing lutein has been safely used in infants for 36 weeks.



Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Lutein isLIKELY SAFEwhen used in the amounts found infood.Dosing considerations for Lutein.

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.


No information available.

The information provided on this page is for reference purposes and is not meant to be used as a medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with a medical professional.