Lutein supplements are commonly used in complementary medicine to treat eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration. Lutein, which is known to accumulate in the retina and lens of the eye, is thought to protect the eye from injury caused by free radicals, chemical byproducts that have been shown to damage cells and contribute to the development of certain diseases.
Some proponents of complementary medicine claim that lutein supplements can also help prevent colon cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
To date, the majority of studies on lutein’s health benefits have concentrated on dietary lutein intake. These studies suggest that consuming lutein in your diet may help protect you from atherosclerosis, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts. While few studies have examined the health effects of lutein supplements, there’s some evidence
that lutein supplements may be beneficial to eye health Here are the results of two studies:
Macular Degeneration As We Age
Lutein supplements may help people with age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness. From 1984 to 2010, one study of over 100,000 people found that a higher intake of bioavailable lutein and zeaxanthin was associated with a lower long-term risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration. 2
Researchers discovered that subjects who took lutein supplements for 12 weeks improved their visual function in a 2009 study of 37 healthy adults. The findings of the study also suggest that lutein supplements may aid in the treatment of vision problems caused by long-term exposure to light from computer screens. 3
Eye Health Advantages
A 2018 review of research concluded that there are many studies supporting lutein beneficial effects on eye health. The researchers suggested that not only should a diet rich in fruits and vegetables containing lutein be encouraged, they also suggested that supplementation could be beneficial, particularly in populations at high risk of certain conditions such as the elderly.