Lutein is one of two carotenoids found in the retina and macula of the human eye. Carotenoids are yellow, red, orange, and purple pigments found in most living things. It is thought that lutein acts as an antioxidant and a filter for blue light, helping to protect the eye tissues from sun damage. Lutein is synthesized only by plants and is found in high quantities in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale.
Some research studies have suggested that lutein may be effective for some uses, such as improving certain symptoms of macular degeneration and improving the appearance of wrinkles, i.e. making you less like to need prescription sunglasses or glasses, and making your skin smooth!. People usually associate lutein with benefits for the eyes, and some of the major “eye vitamin” products available contain it. Many multivitamins also now contain a low dose of lutein, although it is thought that this amount is probably too low to truly be beneficial.
It is important to understand that many of the claimed lutein benefits were found in studies that looked at a high intake of lutein through the diet, not through supplementation. Supplementation might not be as effective as increasing lutein intake through the diet by eating more fruits and vegetables.
Bit what many people want to know, is can children use it? Lutein is not a common ingredient in children’s multivitamins. Because most of the common uses for it are associated with the elderly, there has been little interest in using lutein supplements for children.
Research has suggested a minimum of 6-10 mg per day of lutein is necessary to realize lutein’s health benefits. One such benefit is lutein’s role in eye health, specifically its role in reducing the risk of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).