What are the effects of lutein? Is free lutein better? A Professional Nutritionist Guides when is the best time to eat

What are the effects of lutein? Is free lutein better? A Professional Nutritionist Guides when is the best time to eat


Everyone knows they should consume lutein, but how should it be consumed? When should you take it? And how much should you take daily to get the best results? Today, let the nutritionist guide you on the recommended groups for lutein supplementation and the best ways to consume it. Let's take a look together!


What is Lutein?

Lutein is a type of carotenoid, mainly found in various dark green, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables. Lutein and zeaxanthin often coexist and help filter harmful blue light.

Since the human body cannot produce lutein on its own, it must be obtained through natural foods or supplements. However, the amount of lutein that can be obtained from food is limited. Moreover, with the prevalence of eating out, imbalanced nutrition, late nights, and high work-related stress in modern lifestyles, it's challenging to consume a sufficient amount of lutein through diet alone. Therefore, it is recommended to supplement lutein through health supplements containing this essential nutrient.


What are the effects of Lutein?

Lutein is a naturally occurring carotenoid and a type of pigment that is found in high amounts in leafy green vegetables, as well as in various fruits and corn. It is well-known for its beneficial effects on eye health and is often classified as an antioxidant. Here are some of its key effects and benefits:


  1. Eye Health:

 Lutein is one of the two major carotenoids found as a color pigment in the human eye (the other is zeaxanthin). It is known to accumulate in the retina and lens, where it helps to filter out harmful high-energy blue light waves. This filtering action is believed to protect the eyes from oxidative stress and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.


  1. Antioxidant Properties:

Lutein has antioxidant properties, meaning it helps neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. Free radicals can damage cells and contribute to various chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease. By scavenging these free radicals, lutein may play a role in reducing the risk of these diseases.


  1. Skin Health:

Some research suggests that lutein may have a positive impact on skin health. It is believed to help protect the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can contribute to premature aging and skin cancer.


  1. Cognitive Function:

There is emerging research suggesting that lutein may have a role in preserving cognitive function and reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease. However, more research is needed in this area to establish a clear link.


  1. Heart Health:

Some studies have indicated that lutein might have a positive effect on heart health by reducing the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and improving overall cardiovascular health. The exact mechanisms behind this potential benefit are still being studied.


  1. Cancer Prevention:

Some preliminary studies have suggested that lutein may have a protective effect against certain types of cancer, such as breast and colon cancer. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.


It's important to note that while lutein appears to offer various health benefits, it is not a cure-all, and individual responses to lutein supplementation can vary. As with any supplement, it's best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting lutein supplementation, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications. Additionally, obtaining lutein from a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables is generally recommended for overall health and well-being.


Should I take lutein in the morning or night?

Lutein is a "fat-soluble nutrient," so it needs to be consumed with fat to be better absorbed by the body. Therefore, the best time to consume it is after meals, ensuring it is absorbed effectively with the presence of fats. Additionally, it's even better if taken in combination with lutein supplements! It is recommended to regularly consume dark green vegetables as well, enhancing the overall nutritional intake.

Many people often feel like they don't see immediate effects after taking lutein supplements. The most important thing when supplementing lutein is to take the right amount consistently! Since the body can only absorb a limited amount of nutrients at once, the Department of Health suggests a daily intake of 30 milligrams of lutein. Overconsumption is not beneficial for the body! Additionally, lutein needs to be consumed over the long term for the concentration of lutein in the body to reach a stable level. It's more effective to take a fixed dose (6-10 milligrams) daily for an extended period (3-6 months) rather than taking a high dose inconsistently.


Is Free Lutein better? What is the difference between free lutein and lutein esters?

Free Lutein and Lutein Esters are two different formulations of lutein, and they differ in their structures:

Free Lutein:

Free lutein is the natural form of lutein and is typically found in dark green vegetables and other foods. It is more easily absorbed by the body and provides lutein's biological activity directly.

Lutein Esters:

Lutein esters are the esterified form of free lutein, resulting from a chemical process that converts it into an esterified structure. Lutein esters are commonly used in supplements due to their stability, which helps extend the product's shelf life.

The difference between the two lies in their structures and bioavailability. Free lutein is believed to be more readily absorbed by the body because it is the natural form of lutein. However, lutein esters offer better stability in supplements, ensuring product quality and shelf life.

The choice between free lutein and lutein esters depends on individual needs and the purpose of the supplement. If you prefer to obtain lutein in its natural form, free lutein is a good choice. If you are more concerned about the stability and shelf life of the supplement, lutein esters might be more suitable. When selecting a supplement, it is advisable to check the product label to understand the form of lutein included.


Who should take lutein supplements?

Supplementing lutein is especially suitable for the following six groups:

1. People who use electronic devices for long periods:

Prolonged exposure to the screen light of computers, smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices can cause fatigue and stress to the eyes. Lutein helps protect the eyes and reduces the damage caused by blue light.

2. Long-distance drivers:

Individuals who frequently drive for extended periods may be affected by sunlight and blue light. Supplementing lutein helps maintain eye health and reduces sensitivity to bright lights.

3. People exposed to prolonged outdoor sunlight:

Those who work or participate in outdoor activities under the sun are susceptible to damage from ultraviolet rays. Lutein can partially protect the eyes, reducing the harm caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight.

4. Middle-aged and elderly individuals:

As people age, the overall health of their eyes may decline. Supplementing lutein helps maintain eye health and prevents age-related macular degeneration and other eye problems.

5. Nearsighted individuals:

People with nearsightedness are more sensitive to light. Lutein helps improve the eyes' adaptability to light.

6. People experiencing declining vision or eye fatigue:

Issues such as declining vision, eye fatigue, and dry eyes may require additional nutritional support. Lutein is widely recognized as a beneficial nutrient for eye health.


While lutein is beneficial for these groups, it is advisable to consult a doctor or nutritionist before starting supplementation. Understanding individual nutritional needs and appropriate dosages is crucial.


Nutrients Guides You How to Choose Lutein Supplement Wisely

Choosing a lutein supplement wisely involves considering several factors to ensure you're selecting a product that suits your needs. Here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Type of Lutein:

   Decide between free lutein and lutein esters. Free lutein is the natural form found in green leafy vegetables and is easily absorbed by the body. Lutein esters are a stabilized form, often used in supplements for prolonged shelf life. Consider your preference for natural versus stabilized options.

2. Additional Nutrients:

   Look for supplements that combine lutein with other beneficial compounds such as anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and astaxanthin. These combinations can enhance the overall eye health benefits.

3. Absorption Enhancement:

   Check if the supplement contains patented black pepper extract (piperine) or other absorption-enhancing ingredients. Piperine can significantly improve the absorption of lutein, ensuring you get the maximum benefits from the supplement.

4. Certification and Quality Control:

   Choose products from reputable brands that undergo third-party testing for quality assurance. Certifications from organizations like SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance) indicate that the product has been tested for contaminants and meets quality standards.

5. Time-Release Formulas:

   Consider supplements with time-release or sustained-release formulations. These formulas ensure a steady release of nutrients throughout the day, promoting consistent absorption and effectiveness.

6. Consultation with Healthcare Provider:

   It's always advisable to consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian before starting any new supplement regimen. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific health needs and conditions.


Remember that individual responses to supplements can vary, so what works for one person might not be suitable for another. Personalized advice from a healthcare professional is invaluable in making an informed decision about lutein supplementation.


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