Lutein is a naturally occurring, colored carotenoid that may play an important role in health. It is one of the most important parts of our diet and can provide a number of benefits when consumed properly. Yet many people are unaware of the importance of lutein to their health.
In this article you will learn everything you need to know about lutein. We will focus on its chemical structure, its sources, its health benefits, its impact on nutrition, and its risks and side effects. At the end you will find a summary of the most important points and a recommendation for the daily intake of lutein.
Prepare to learn all about lutein!
Definition of lutein
Lutein is a carotenoid and a substance found in some foods and dietary supplements in many parts of the world. It is widely used as a natural dye or as a dye to color food and is an important component of the human retina. It is found in many plants, especially green leafy vegetables, but in varying concentrations.
Lutein is a fat-soluble antioxidant that can protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Lutein benefits include
- Increase in visual acuity
- Eye health support
- Protection against oxidative damage caused by free radicals
- Supporting Brain Health
- Heart health support
- Supporting general health and vitality
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recognized the health benefits of lutein and approved an official health claim: "Lutein helps maintain normal vision".
Why is lutein important?
Lutein is a carotenoid and one of the most important antioxidants in our body. It protects us from oxidative stress that can damage cells and tissues. It is found in various foods, but also in the skin and retina of the eye.
Lutein is best known for its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants act as free radical scavengers and protect against free radicals that can damage cells and tissues. Lutein also has a strong antioxidant effect and helps prevent the formation of free radicals.
In addition, lutein has a direct impact on the health of the human eye. It forms part of the retina that protects the eye from harmful UV rays. EFSA confirms that lutein plays a role in protecting the eyes from oxidative stress and may improve the ability to see.
Benefits of Lutein:
- Protection against oxidative stress
- Can improve recognition ability
- Protects the retina against harmful UV rays
II. What is Lutein?
Lutein is a naturally occurring carotenoid found in various vegetables and fruits. It is also an important component of eye tissues and is recommended for the prevention of eye diseases. It has a golden yellow color and is easily soluble in water.
According to EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), lutein has the following health-promoting effects:
- Supports normal vision
- Support of normal eye function
- Supports the normal function of the retina
- Protection of the eye from oxidative stress
- Supporting the normal functioning of the central nervous system
Lutein is an essential part of the macula, the area of the eye with the sharpest vision. It is believed that lutein supports the normal function of the macula by protecting against harmful solar radiation and thus promoting normal vision.
Chemical structure of lutein
Lutein is a water-soluble, yellow-orange pigment compound also known as xanthophyll. It's a carotenoid, meaning it's a derivative of provitamin A. Lutein is a very complex, sticky substance that is unique in the carotenoid family. It is an ester compound usually made up of oxyethylene and oxypropylene groups. The chemical structure of lutein is shown below.
Lutein is one of the most studied carotenoids as it is known as a natural coloring agent, antioxidant mediator and possible preventive factor against various chronic diseases.
Lutein is an unsaturated fatty acid also known as 2-E-zeaxanthin. It is found in many plant and animal foods and is a very important part of the human eye, especially the macula.
Lutein has a number of properties that make it a very important nutrient for the human body. Some of the most important properties of lutein are listed below:
- It protects the eyeball from ultraviolet rays and other harmful stimuli.
- It acts as an antioxidant, protecting against premature aging and harmful oxidative stress factors.
- It can help improve vision and prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration.
- It can help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system .
- It can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Sources of Lutein
Lutein is a naturally occurring carotenoid found in many plants and foods. A particularly rich source of lutein is carotenoids, and some carotenoids are rich in lutein and its related compound, zeaxanthin. As a natural substance, lutein is also found in some dietary supplements and herbal extracts.
Main sources of lutein are
- Vegetables: Spinach, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce and bell peppers are high in lutein.
- Fruit: Apricots, grapes, apples and oranges are good sources of lutein.
- Spices: Turmeric , coriander, and cumin are high in lutein.
- Grains: Wheat germ, oat bran, and barley contain significant amounts of lutein.
- Eggs: The yellow yolk is an important source of lutein.
- Herbs: Lutein is found in various herbs such as parsley, wild garlic, chives and basil.
- Dietary supplements: Lutein can be found in dietary supplements as an extract or as a combination of carotenoids.
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), it has been scientifically proven that lutein intake supports normal eye function.
How is lutein absorbed by the body?
The human body can absorb lutein in a number of ways. It can be taken orally, but can also be ingested through food. With the right foods and supplements, healthy adults can achieve the recommended daily intake of lutein.
Lutein must first be absorbed through the digestive tract. When it enters the bloodstream, it is distributed throughout the body in a number of ways.
- Macula: Lutein is taken up by special cells in the macula of the eye, where it plays an important role in filtering harmful blue light.
- Blood plasma: Some of the lutein is absorbed from the intestine and enters the blood plasma, from where it is distributed throughout the body.
- Tissues and Cells: Lutein can enter certain tissues and cells such as the brain, liver, breasts and kidneys.
It is important to know that the body can only absorb a limited amount of lutein. It is therefore important that the daily intake is in a healthy ratio to the recommended daily dose.
Adding fat to a meal has been shown to increase lutein absorption and bioavailability. It's also important to know that lutein is easily destroyed by heat, so foods that contain lutein should not be overheated.
III. Health Benefits of Lutein
Lutein is one of the two carotenoids known for their nutritional effects in preventing eye diseases. Lutein is an important nutrient for eye health as it possesses antioxidant properties that help protect the eye from oxidative stress.
The following health benefits of lutein have been officially recognized by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA):
- Contribution to maintaining normal vision: Supporting the normal function of the retina by protecting against oxidative stress
- Contribution to the maintenance of normal macular tissue: Supporting the normal function of the macular tissue by protecting against oxidative stress.
- Protection against oxidative stress: Support for normal cell protection against oxidative stress
In addition to complementing a wholesome diet, lutein may help protect against oxidative stress and maintain normal vision and macular tissue.
Protection of the eyes against age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a chronic eye disease that occurs as a result of natural aging. A typical feature of the disease is the loss of vision due to the degradation of the macula of the eye. The disease primarily affects people over the age of 65. AMD is the leading cause of severe visual impairment and blindness in developed countries.
A recent study from the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden examined the effect of lutein on AMD. The results indicate that lutein supplementation may play a role in preventing age-related macular degeneration.
Lutein, an antioxidant carotenoid found primarily in vegetables and leafy greens, may help protect vision and prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration.
Since the lutein content in most foods is very low, supplementation is recommended to ensure an adequate supply.
The following official EU health claims refer to lutein:
- Lutein helps maintain normal vision.
- Lutein contributes to the maintenance of normal eye functions.
- Lutein helps protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration
Reducing the risk of cataracts
Cataracts are a common eye condition in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and opaque. According to the European Society of Ophthalmology (SOE), they are the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment worldwide. The exact cause of cataracts is unclear, but research has identified some risk factors, including age, smoking, diabetes and fatigue. However, lutein may play a role in reducing the risk of cataracts.
There is evidence that regular intake of lutein may reduce the risk of cataracts. A 2015 meta-analysis showed that people who ate lutein-rich foods had a lower risk of developing cataracts than people who didn't eat lutein-rich foods. Other studies have also shown that increasing blood lutein levels is associated with a reduced risk of cataracts.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) believes that taking lutein daily can help reduce the risk of cataracts:
“A link between lutein intake and risk of cataracts is likely. A daily intake of 5 to 10 mg of lutein may reduce the risk of cataracts."
Protection against cardiovascular diseases
Lutein is a powerful antioxidant carotenoid that can have a number of beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system in humans. For example, lutein may help protect cells from oxidative stress, a risk factor for heart disease.
A systematic review of several studies on the effects of lutein on the cardiovascular system found that people who consumed lutein regularly had a lower risk of heart disease.
Known effects of lutein include
- A reduced risk of developing atherosclerosis, a condition caused by a gradual increase in cholesterol levels in the arteries, leading to a gradual hardening and narrowing of the arterial walls.
- Reducing the risk of blockages in the arteries, which can reduce the blood supply to the heart.
- Lower LDL and total cholesterol levels, resulting in a slower rise in blood pressure.
- Reduced risk of blood clots and abnormal heart rhythms.
- A reduced risk of developing heart failure, which is caused by the heart not pumping properly.
- Increasing antioxidant capacity to fight free radicals that can lead to vascular damage and inflammation.
Support of the immune system
Lutein is a carotenoid that is considered an important part of our diet. It is involved in many important bodily functions and can strengthen our immune system. Adequate intake of lutein, especially in adults, can help strengthen the body's defenses against pathogens, inflammatory processes and much more.
Lutein acts as an antioxidant and helps protect cells from free radical damage. This can also help strengthen the immune system. A 2017 study showed that lutein increases the production of T-lymphocytes and interferon-gamma, two types of immune cells critical for fighting off pathogens.
Lutein is also recognized by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as a preventative ingredient to support the immune system. The recognized effect is
"Lutein helps support the immune system".
Adequate intake of lutein can help reduce the risk of various diseases. Lutein can support the immune system, among other things
- Increasing the production of T-lymphocytes and interferon-gamma
- Improving resistance to inflammatory diseases
- Reducing the risk of autoimmune diseases
- Supporting the body's natural defense mechanisms against harmful bacteria and viruses.
IV. Lutein and Nutrition
Lutein is an essential nutrient found in certain foods. It is well known that optimal lutein levels are achieved through a balanced diet. It is possible to get an adequate amount of lutein by eating certain foods.
EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) has confirmed that "a balanced diet high in vegetables and fruit increases the intake of lutein and other carotenoids, which may play a role in protecting against oxidative damage".
The following foods contain lutein
- egg yolk
- Green beans
- Leafy vegetables
At least five servings of fruit and vegetables per day are recommended for a healthy diet. Lutein can also be taken in the form of supplements in tablet form.
foods rich in lutein
Lutein is an important antioxidant that is found in abundance in many foods. It's important to eat enough lutein-rich foods to provide the body with the nutrients it needs. Here are some lutein-rich foods to include in your diet:
- Vegetables like spinach, kale, basil, broccoli, eggplant, and zucchini.
- Cabbage varieties such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and savoy cabbage
- Fruits like avocado, blueberries, mangoes and oranges
- Nuts such as hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts and pistachios
- grain products
- Seed oils such as linseed oil, camelina oil and walnut oil
A study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has shown that consuming foods rich in lutein can have beneficial effects on human health as they are a good source of antioxidant substances. Therefore, it is important to consume enough lutein-rich foods to support health.
Eating lutein-rich foods can help improve eye health, according to EFSA. The body's ability to absorb and utilize lutein can have a positive effect on vision and reduce the risk of age-related eye diseases. Additionally, lutein is an important nutrient that may help reduce the risk of heart disease, boost immune function, and even reduce the risk of cancer.
How Much Lutein Should You Consume Daily?
The recommended daily dose of lutein is between 6 and 20 milligrams, depending on age and health. Foods containing lutein can also be used in place of dietary supplements. In order to achieve the recommended daily dose of lutein, the following foods can be consumed:
2.1 milligrams per 100 grams
7.3 milligrams per 100 grams
2.5 milligrams per 100 grams
0.5 milligrams per 100 grams
20 milligrams per 100 g
2.2 milligrams per 100 g
1.7 milligrams per 100 g
1.3 milligrams per 100 g
2.8 milligrams per 100 g
1.2 milligrams per 100 g
A balanced and varied diet with foods containing lutein is the best way to get enough lutein. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the intake of lutein can support the normal function of the eyesight and the immune system.
Can lutein also be taken in supplement form?
Lutein is a carotenoid that occurs naturally in many vegetables and fruits and is also available as a dietary supplement in pharmacies and drug stores. Spinach, corn, cabbage and tomatoes are among the foods rich in lutein. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), lutein has the following health benefits
- Contribution to the maintenance of normal vision
- Contribution to maintaining normal macular density
- Contribution to the maintenance of a normal tear fluid
Lutein in supplement form is an inexpensive and easy way to get an adequate amount of lutein in your diet. Since lutein is not found in very high concentrations in natural foods, it is difficult to get a sufficient amount of lutein from a normal diet. However, lutein supplements can be taken easily and inexpensively.
There are several types of lutein supplements, including capsules , tablets, and powders . They are often offered in combination with other antioxidant vitamins and nutrients such as zeaxanthin, vitamin A , vitamin C and beta-carotene. Lutein supplements are also available in combination with plant extracts such as ginkgo biloba, blackcurrant and dandelion.
V. Side Effects and Risks
Lutein is a safe nutrient, and as far as is known, no serious side effects have occurred in people who have taken lutein orally. However, mild side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain and headaches can occur.
In rare cases, allergic reactions caused by the ingestion of lutein have been reported. The most common symptoms are
- skin rash and redness
- respiratory diseases
It's important to realize that lutein is not a drug or cure. If you notice symptoms of an allergic reaction, you should consult a doctor.
No specific association has been found between lutein intake and human health risks beyond normal healthy eating. Therefore, lutein can be considered safe.
Are there any side effects from taking lutein?
Lutein is a natural carotenoid found in foods like spinach, broccoli, corn, watercress, and egg yolks. It's also available in a variety of supplements as a lutein supplement. Lutein can benefit the human body in many ways, but there are also some possible side effects that are worth being aware of.
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), taking lutein in the recommended amounts is safe. However, it has been shown that people taking certain medications may experience the following side effects from taking too much lutein:
- Gastrointestinal problems such as flatulence, nausea and diarrhea
- Increased tendency to bleed
- weight gain
If you are taking lutein, you should stick to the recommended dosage to avoid possible side effects. Also, before taking lutein, you should consult a doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking certain medications.
Who Cannot Take Lutein?
Lutein is a dietary supplement available in England and other EU countries. It is safe when taken in the recommended amounts. However, there are people who should not take lutein. These individuals belong to the following groups
- Those with cardiovascular disease, as lutein can increase blood pressure.
- Individuals who are hypersensitive or allergic to any of the ingredients.
- Individuals with a recently diagnosed or known medical condition.
- Individuals taking certain medications as lutein may interact with them.
- Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive.
- Children under 12 years old.
Individuals who meet any of these criteria should definitely not take lutein without first consulting a doctor. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the use of lutein is not recommended for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Can Lutein Overdose Be Harmful?
Lutein occurs naturally in our food but is commonly used as a dietary supplement. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has set a recommended daily dose of 5 mg lutein as a dietary supplement. For people who consume lutein as part of a healthy diet, there is no limit to the amount of lutein they can get from food.
Although dietary intake of lutein is not limited, prolonged intake of lutein supplements in excess of 5 mg per day can be harmful. Because lutein is an essential nutrient needed for a number of metabolic functions, overdosing can lead to deficiencies of other nutrients combined with an overdose of lutein.
Possible side effects of overdosing on lutein
There are some known side effects associated with lutein overdose:
- Gastrointestinal Disorders: An overdose of lutein can lead to gastrointestinal disorders such as nausea or abdominal pain.
- Fatigue: Overdosing on lutein can lead to tiredness and fatigue.
- Headaches: Headaches can also occur as a side effect of overdosing on lutein.
Lutein is an important carotenoid known for good eyesight. It occurs naturally in many foods and is also available in the form of lutein supplements in some dietary supplements.
There are different forms of lutein products, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, making it difficult to determine the best option. Therefore, it is important to carefully weigh all available options and tailor them to individual needs.
In summary, lutein is an important antioxidant that is important for the health of many processes and organs. According to EFSA, "lutein has been scientifically proven to play a role in maintaining normal vision". Therefore, it can be a healthy addition to your diet.
the essentials in brief
Lutein is a carotenoid found in foods like spinach, broccoli, peppers, carrots, and egg yolks. It can also be taken as a dietary supplement. It has a number of advantages:
- Can support normal visual function
- May support eye health
- May support the normal function of the immune system
- May support the body's antioxidant protection
These effects have been recognized by the European Food Safety Authority. Since lutein occurs naturally in food, it is safe for daily consumption. However, if you are taking a dietary supplement, you should make sure that it is from a reliable source.
Recommendations for daily lutein intake
Daily lutein intake depends on how the lutein is used. Because lutein is a natural component of many foods, daily lutein intake is highest in a healthy diet. If you take lutein supplements, you are one of those people for whom the EFSA guidelines recommend a daily supplement of 3 mg lutein.
It's important to note that some people need more lutein than the EFSA guidance recommends. Individuals suffering from certain eye conditions may require daily supplementation of 6-10mg due to their increased need for lutein.
In order to provide the body with the necessary amounts of lutein, you should eat a healthy and balanced diet. If you cannot get your daily lutein requirement from food, you can also take lutein supplements.
What is lutein?
Lutein is a carotenoid found in green leafy vegetables, eggs, and other foods.
Why is lutein important?
Lutein is important for eye and heart health and supports the immune system.
How Much Lutein Should You Consume Daily?
The recommended daily dose of lutein is 10 mg per day.
Can lutein also be taken in supplement form?
Yes, lutein can also be taken as a dietary supplement.
Are there any side effects from taking lutein?
There are no known side effects from taking lutein.
Who Cannot Take Lutein?
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before taking lutein.
Can Lutein Overdose Be Harmful?
There are no known harmful effects of overdosing on lutein.
Recommendations for daily lutein intake:
It is recommended that you get lutein through a balanced diet rich in green leafy vegetables, eggs, and other lutein-rich foods.