Lutein For Healthy Eyes and Skin

Marigold - Lutein rich

Nutrient Family:     

  • Phytonutrient/Phytochemical

               0  Sub-Group:      Carotenoids

                   >  Sub-category:   Xanthophyl

                   >  Color:  Yellow to Orange-red

Lutein's Workings

Fat or Water Soluble Antioxidant:

  • Fat Soluble

Since they are fat-soluble nutrient, Carotenoids such as Lutein, require the presence of dietary fat for proper absorption through the digestive tract. Consequently, your carotenoid status may be impaired by a diet that is :

  • extremely low in fat


  • medical conditions that causes a reduction in the ability to absorb dietary fat such as :

               §  pancreatic enzyme deficiency

               §  Crohn's disease

               §  celiac sprue

               §  cystic fibrosis

               §  surgical removal of part or all of the stomach, gall bladder disease

               §  Liver disease.


Lutein appears to work in partnership with Zeaxanthin, another Carotenoid antioxidant, tackling the same health issues and performing similar functions.

Both are present in the eyes and skin.

In the eyes, they appear to exist in a certain ratio. The suggested ratio is 2:1 (Zeaxanthin to Lutein), for adults.  Therefore, taking one carotenoid and not the other, may reduce their effectiveness as eye care. Additionally, taking them in the incorrect ratio will also reduce their effectiveness – such as, taking too much Lutein and not sufficient Zeaxanthin, the access Lutein is not absorbed by the eyes, as the ratio of Zeaxanthin to Lutein, in the eyes, has to be maintained.

Other functions besides being an antioxidant:

  • Being yellow in color, it aids in the absorption of UV and the more damaging “blue light” that penetrates our eyes

Where Is Lutein Found Naturally?

It is found it both plants and animals, however, even in animals, the lutein is derived from plant foods.

Lutein is found in the human body:

  • Eyes – in particular Retina and Macular areas of the eyes
  • Skin
  • Large Intestine (or Colon)
  • Uterus


We are born with Lutein in our body but because our body does not produce lutein, we need to replenish the Lutein through foods and/or supplements.

Kale - rich in lutein

Examples of food sources:

In plant foods : [Cite: Wikipedia]

Product Lutein/zeaxanthin (micrograms per hundred grams):

  • Nasturtium (yellow flowers, lutein levels only) 45,000 
  • Kale (raw) 39,550
  • Kale (cooked) 18,246 
  • Dandelion leaves (raw) 13,610 
  • Nasturtium(leaves, lutein levels only) 13,600 
  • Turnip greens(raw) 12,825 spinach (raw) 12,198
  • Spinach (cooked) 11,308 
  • Swiss chard (raw or cooked) 11,000 
  • Turnip greens (cooked) 8440
  • Collard greens (cooked) 7694 
  • Watercress (raw) 5767 
  • Garden peas (raw) 2593
  • Romaine lettuce 2312 
  • Zucchini 2125 
  • Brussels sprouts 1590 
  • Pistachio nuts 1205
  • Broccoli 1121 
  • Carrot (cooked) 687 
  • Maize/corn 642 
  • Egg (hard boiled) 353
  • Carrot(raw) 256
  • Kiwifruit 122


 In Zoochemicals:

  • Egg yolks
  • Chicken fat


The process of heat (from cooking or otherwise) can destroy the levels of Lutein in the foods.


Spinach - Lutein Rich

Health Benefits of Lutein

Examples of the health benefits of Lutein:

  • Lutein has been quoted to prevent or stop deterioration of Aged-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) through its 2 folds functions:

                o   neutralizing the damaging effects of free radicals in the macular area

                o   Absorbing the UV and blue light, preventing the formation of free radicals caused by UV and blue light

  • Where UV and blue light are not absorbed, they create free radicals that attack the eyes. Lutein works as an antioxidant to counter the effects of the free radicals.  Free radicals can cause other eye diseases, such as:

                o   Cataract – free radicals damages the protein on the lens of the eyes

  • It aids in skin health and skin healing
  • Cancer prevention and fighter – such as colon cancer, uterus cancer

Use as Food Additive

As a food additive :

  • E number E161b (INS number 161b)

                 o   Extract of the petals of marigold (Tagetes erecta)

                 o   Approved for use in the EU and Australia and New Zealand, but is banned in the USA.

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