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Lutein is a compound found in green vegetables, yellow vegetables, and egg yolks. It has been used as an antioxidant to slow damage to cells. Lutein has also been used to improve vision and eye health. It can be taken as a pill or powder.


6 milligrams 1 to 2 times daily

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

  • Cataract —likely to lower the risk of age-related cataract D1

May Be Effective

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis —may help prevent or delay onset A1
  • Chronic central serous chorioretinopathy —may reduce fluid height E1, E2
  • Macular degeneration F1-F5
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma —may lower the risk G1
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa —may slow loss of vision I1, I2

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Cardiometabolic health B1
  • Cardiovascular disease C1
  • Respiratory health H1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take lutein in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to take for a long period.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.



A. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

A1. Fitzgerald KC, O'Reilly ÉJ, et al. Intakes of vitamin C and carotenoids and risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: pooled results from 5 cohort studies. Ann Neurol. 2013 Feb;73(2):236-245.

B. Cardiometabolic Health

B1. Leermakers ET, Darweesh SK, et al. The effects of lutein on cardiometabolic health across the life course: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Feb;103(2):481-494.

C. Cardiovascular Disease

C1. Rees K, Dyakova M, et al. Dietary advice for reducing cardiovascular risk. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;(12):CD002128.

D. Cataract

D1. Ma L, Hao ZX, et al. A dose-response meta-analysis of dietary lutein and zeaxanthin intake in relation to risk of age-related cataract. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2014 Jan;252(1):63-70.

E. Chronic Central Chorioretinopathy

E1. Salehi M, Wenick AS, et al. Interventions for central serous chorioretinopathy: a network meta-analysis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Dec 22;(12):CD011841.

E2. Shinojima A, Sawa M, et al. A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Study of Antioxidant Supplementation with Lutein for Chronic Central Serous Chorioretinopathy. Ophthalmologica. 2017;237(3):159-166.

F. Macular Degeneration

F1. Ma L, Dou HL, et al. Lutein and zeaxanthin intake and the risk of age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Nutr. 2012 Feb;107(3):350-359.

F2. Wang X, Jiang C, et al. Role of lutein supplementation in the management of age-related macular degeneration: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Ophthalmic Res. 2014;52(4):198-205.

F3. Liu R, Wang T, et al. Lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation and association with visual function in age-related macular degeneration. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Dec 16;56(1):252-258.

F4. Evans JR, Lawrenson JG. Antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplements for preventing age-related macular degeneration. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;7:CD000253.

F5. Evans JR, Lawreson JG. Antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplements for slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;7:CD000254.

G. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

G1. Chen F, Hu J, et al. Carotenoid intake and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of observational studies. Ann Hematol. 2017 Jun;96(6):957-965.

H. Respiratory Health

H1. Melo van Lent D, Leermakers ETM, et al. The effects of lutein on respiratory health across the life course: A systematic review. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2016 Jun;13:e1-e7.

I. Retinitis Pigmentosa

I1. Berson EL, Rosner B, et al. Clinical trial of lutein in patients with retinitis pigmentosa receiving vitamin A. Arch Ophthalmol. 2010;128(4):403-411.

I2. Brito-García N, Del Pino-Sedeño T, et al. Effectiveness and safety of nutritional supplements in the treatment of hereditary retinal dystrophies: a systematic review. Eye (Lond). 2017 Feb;31(2):273-285.

Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 6/22/2020