Lutein is vitamin that belongs to a group of vitamins known as carotenoids. Carotenoids are the yellow and orange pigments that are found naturally in vegetables such as carrots and cannot be manufactured by the body and therefore must be obtained from one’s diet.
Foods rich in carotenoids include spinach, kale, carrots and broccoli and their benefits are numerous but specifically carotenoids display potent antioxidant properties which protect the body against damage to all our structures of the body including the eyes.
Lutein is especially beneficial for the eyes because it is one of two major carotenoids found as a pigment in the human eye within the macula and retina. Its role appears to be one of filtering out light that many damage the delicate eye tissues. Lutein supplements for the eyes often contain zeaxanthin, the second carotenoid important for the eyes. Lutein with zeaxanthin supplements may also contain other antioxidants to further protect the eyes such as vitamin C and bilberry.
Lutein supplements are usually free from side effects; the suggested maximum daily amount to take is 20mg of lutein per day.