- Indications with possible efficacy:
- Indications with possible, but poorly documented efficacy :
Age-related macular degeneration prevention (popular use)
- Other indications with no proof of efficacy:
Breast cancer prevention
Colorectal cancer prevention
- Risk of Drug Interactions: Weak
- Adverse Effects: Rare
Lutein is a carotenoid found in large quantity in the eye's retina. It has antioxidant properties and filters blue light. Even though it is not considered to be an essential nutrient, since the body does not produce any, it has to come from the diet. Fatty foods increase its absorption.
Lutein is found in large amounts in curly kale, turnip tops, cooked green cabbage and cooked spinach. It can also be found in raw spinach, squash, broccoli, green peas and corn. In North America, average intake is 1 to 2 mg. Lutein supplements are also available.
Direction of use
- Cataract prevention:
Used doses: 6 mg of lutein daily, by preferably increasing dietary intake.
- Age-related macular degeneration prevention:
Used doses: 10 to 20 mg of lutein daily, by dietary intake or supplements. ICAPS™ Ocuvite™, Vitalux™ and Preservision™ provide 2 to 10 mg of lutein daily according to the formulation.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that lutein is effective in any other indication.
- No significant problem has been reported with lutein.
- Certain multivitamins provide lutein, but in insufficient amounts. (0.25 mg per tablet).
- Zeaxanthin is another carotenoid with properties similar to those of lutein;
- Lutein is sometimes associated with vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and zinc because this combination has shown a positive effect on age-related maculopathy (Ocuvite Preservision™ and Vitalux AREDS™.
- Smoking and drinking more than 2 alcoholic drinks a week increase the risk of lutein deficiency.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2010
- Passeportsanté.net. Lutéine. www.passeportsante.net
- Lutein Information Bureau, Les aliments frais, french.luteininfo.com/
- RETINA FRANCE, La lutéine pour la rétine, www.retina-france.asso.fr/
- National Eye Institute, Lutein and its role in Eye Disease Prevention, nei.nih.govews/statements/lutein.asp
- Natural Therapeutics Pocket Guide, 2000-2001
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