Lutein Drug Information – Precautions To Be Kept In Mind While Using Lutein Herbal Medicines

Taxonomic class


Common Trade Names

Bo-Xan, Eyebright +, FloraGlo Lutein, and as the dipalmitate ester (helenien) in Adaptinol

Multi-ingredient preparations: Carotene- Power, Lutein Carotenoid Complex Vegicaps, Natural Lutein Lycopene Carotene Complex Softgels, Ocutone, Phytonutrient Carotenoid Complex

Common Forms

Nondietary sources of lutein are available in solid dosage forms, primarily capsules.


Lutein was first isolated from egg yolks. It may also be isolated from netties or algae, but most commercial lutein is isolated from the leaves of the Aztec marigold (Tagetes creeta) or other marigolds (Tagetes spp. L.).

Chemical components

Lutein is a single-chemical entity (beta, epsilon-carotene-3,3′-diol). It is classified as a hydroxycarotenoid and is closely related chemically, botanically, and physiologically to the xanthophyll zeaxanthin.


The literature on lutein is quite extensive, encompassing both laboratory and clinical data. Physiologically, lutein may playa dietary role by serving as an antioxidant and a component of cellular membranes, contributing to membrane structure and function. Research using cell culture techniques and animal models has demonstrated anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic activity. Specifically, lutein has been shown to inhibit colon carcinogenesis in both mice and rats and mammary tumors in mice.

Although human data are less conclusive, an inverse relationship has been demonstrated between lutein and cancers of the breast, lung, liver prostate and kidney .

A similar inverse relationship has been found between lutein and the incidence of coronary heart disease cerebrovascular accident cholestatic hepatic diseaseneural tube defects diabetes mellitus and cognitive impairment. The specific action thought to be responsible for these effects is the antioxidant activity exhibited by lutein, a feature common to most carotenoids.

Lutein is one of the primary pigments in the human retina. It is present in higher concentrations in people with dark eyes and decreases in retinal concentration as the eyes become lighter, with blue-eyed individuals having the lowest concentration. Antioxidant activity in the eye is thought to be responsible for the protection offered by lutein in response to short wavelength visible light. It has also been strongly supported in the literature that lutein decreases age-related macular degeneration and cataract formation . A second mechanism that may contribute to the retinal protective effects of lutein is its ability to bind to retinal tubulin, thus increasing the retinal concentration of lutein. Other demonstrated actions of lutein include immunomodulatory activity (lymphocyte proliferation and antibody production in older animals) and enhanced gap junctional communication, both of which may contribute to Its anti carcinogenic activity, as well as gastroprotective effects (decreases development of acid-induced mucosal lesions).

Reported Uses

The majority of lay literature proposes the benefits of lutein in the prevention or slowing of age-related macular degeneration and its subsequent blindness. Although the evidence is strong for potential benefits in decreasing cancer risk, it is the ophthalmic activity that has historically been promoted. Raised public awareness of the potential protective effects with certain cancers is gaining acceptance and increasing the use of lutein-containing products.