What is Lutein?
Lutein is a type of carotenoid with anti-oxidant properties. It is said to be present in various vegetables and fruits. Lutein also provides the orange and yellow pigments in mangoes, corn, carrots, tomatoes, squash, lettuce, spinach, kale, peas, and leeks among others.
The human body is unable to produce this antioxidant, though much of it is absorbed to help ward off free radicals especially in the eyes and skin. This is the reason why people are advised by doctors and nutritionists to eat lots of fruits and vegetables to take advantage of its anti-oxidant properties.
Lutein is considered very important in maintaining good eyesight. This particular carotenoid is said to be present in the macular region of the eyes, which is essential for central vision. Lutein protects this area from damage by filtering the light that passes through the eyes. Without this filtering effect by lutein, this area in the eye will easily be damaged leading to a condition called “macular degeneration”. Studies have proven that lutein gives protection against this form of eye degeneration and other conditions like cataracts. As people grow older, they may lose enough amounts of lutein and may show signs of macular degeneration.
Aside from the natural forms of lutein from fruits and vegetables, lutein may also be found on various supplements to maintain proper eye health. Doctors and nutritionists promote lutein consumption from either natural food sources or from dietary supplements since our bodies are not able to manufacture this powerful antioxidant. Many doctors also recommend having at least 6mg of lutein every day.
Some food producers and beverage companies also make products fortified with lutein for added health benefit and in response to increased customer awareness on lutein’s anti-oxidant properties and its protection against eye illnesses such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Other companies have manufactured products with lutein in topical form.