Lutein is an antioxidant in the carotenoid family, which includes plant pigments such as beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. Lutein is found in the blood and in a part of the retina known as the macula.
Lutein is not synthesized by the human body. It is obtained through our everyday dietary intake. Good sources of lutein exist in foods such as spinach, kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, and peas.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids found in the macula. They assist in keeping the macula healthy. Research indicates that they may prevent oxidative damage to the eye caused by free radicals. Lutein is associated with protection from age-related vision decline.
Currently, there is no established RDA for lutein. Supplement dosages usually vary from 6 mg to 20 mg per day. Lutein has no known toxicity and appears to be very safe at this dosage range.