Lutein is Not Just for Eye Health
Lutein is an antioxidant that occurs naturally in spinach, kale, and egg yolks, especially egg yolks with a deep orange color. Our eyes use lutein as an antioxidant, especially in the macula, in the center of the retina at the back of the eye. Our skin uses lutein to recharge the antioxidants that protect the glands that make sebum, the oily lubricant that keeps the skin supple and wrinkle-free.
There are no known lutein side effects, but the benefits of lutein require a few simple prerequisites. Here are key facts about lutein:
- The body cannot absorb lutein without the help of fat. Lutein should be taken in oil-filled gel caps. Lutein is also absorbed well when it is mixed with fish oil.
- Lutein's cofactors are zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, and lycopene. You can get these additional antioxidants by eating red and yellow vegetables every day, or by taking a balanced eye health supplement.
- Lutein esters are not as available as lutein in the free form. If you see the word "ester" on the label, know that you will need a much higher dosage than the typically recommended 10 mg a day.
- The time to start taking a lutein supplement is when you first start noticing glare or halos around objects. Taking lutein is not a substitute for needed medical care, but it may help you preserve eye health.
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