What is Lutein
You’ve probably heard about lutein all over the place if you’ve started looking at eye health supplements. It sounds great, but what actually is it, and is Lutein good for your eyes?
Lutein is a type of what’s known as a “Carotenoid.” Carotenoids are fat-soluble red, yellow, or orange pigments in vegetables like ripe tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and even autumn leaves.
There are several types of carotenoids, like alpha carotene, beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and beta cryptoxanthin. All of these act as powerful antioxidants for the human body!
Some carotenoids like lutein can be transformed into Vitamin A by your body, while others get transformed into other vital nutrients. Due to this not all carotenoids are created equal.
What Does Lutein Do
Lutein has several benefits to your body if consumed properly. Here are some of Luteins amazing benefits.
Antioxidants are molecules that protect your body from something called a “Free Radical.” Free radicals are unstable cells that go around and damage your bodies healthy cells.
Lutein as well as zeaxanthin protect your eyes from free radicals that could potentially cause damage or disfunction in your eyes. Having more lutein will lower the amount of damage that’s done to your eye daily by free radicals.
Vitamin A is a vitamin that is important for repairing the eye and preventing eye conditions like xerophthalmia which is known to be caused by vitamin A deficiency. Xerophthalmia is characterized by the inability to see in low light, and can lead to blindness if left untreated long enough.
Studies have shown that a high lutein diet can prevent the accumulation of cholesterol and thus a buildup of plaque in the arteries and eventually coronary heart disease. It won’t be and end-all-cure-all, however it can provide a little boost of health to your already existing efforts.
Like stated before, not all carotenoids are created equal, some are good for certain things and some are good for others. Lutein and zeaxanthin play an important and unique role in your eye health.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids that can be found in great numbers in your retinas, allowing them to actually provide some benefit to your eyes directly at the source.
This unique location gives them the perfect opportunity to provide support to your eyes and help them prevent common eye related diseases like Age-related macular degeneration, Cataracts, eye detachment, and more.
Lutein for Eye Floaters
Eye floaters can be annoying, but more than that they are actually a sign of the gel in your eyes deteriorating and clumping together. Usually associated with old age, and the floaters themselves being not harmful, it’s usually ignored.
While there is no cure for eye floaters, current information shows that lutein and zeaxanthin could play important roles in preventing the progression of it. Here are a few reasons why this is thought to be true for eye floaters.
Lutein and zeaxanthin’s role in the eyes is preventing certain high-energy light like the sun’s ultraviolet, and blue light from reaching your retina and causing damage; as well as being an antioxidant and preventing damage from free radicals. Because of this, it prevents the degeneration to the gel in your eyes, and thus preventing the progression of eye floaters.
Currently, there is no agreed upon RDA (recommended daily value) for lutein or zeaxanthin. However studies have shown that 10mg of lutein with 2mg of zeaxanthin taken together show significant reduction in risk of eye disease and have shown to be safe.
If you’re not interested in zeaxanthin however, it’s been shown to be safe taking 20mg of lutein daily.
Lutein Side Effects
There are little to no side effects of lutein when consumed properly, however more research is needed for the side effects of extremely high doses. There have been no serious side effects recorded with the recommended doses though.
Skin yellowing has occurred in people who took lutein for an extended period of time, however it’s not harmful in any way.