What is lutein, can it improve vision, and which lutein supplements are best? Lutein, and the related compound, zeaxanthin, are carotenoids found in high concentrations in the macula of the eye. You may already get sufficient lutein from the foods you eat, but many people do not. If you are among those who don't, taking a supplement with the right amount of lutein has been shown to improve vision in people with atrophic age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Preliminary studies suggest lutein may also help in retinitis pigmentosa and other conditions.
ConsumerLab.com's tests showed that most, but not all, lutein and zeaxanthin supplements contain what they claim and meet other important quality parameters. The problem is knowing which product, if any, to choose. For example, we discovered that one product contained only 9% of its listed lutein. In addition, formulations vary widely -- the daily dose of lutein in products ranged from 6 to 40 mg, and the amounts of zeaxanthin range from 0.24 to 5 mg. The cost of the pills also ranged from just 14 cents to over $2 per day. Several "eye health" supplements also contained zinc and other ingredients similar to those in the AREDS formulation shown to prevent age-related macular degeneration in a major study funded by the National Institutes of Health -- although many did not provide the correct dose of these ingredients.
You must be a ConsumerLab.com member to get the full test results for lutein and zeaxanthin-containing supplements along with ConsumerLab.com's recommendations and quality ratings. You will get results for ten supplements selected by ConsumerLab.com and for nine others that passed voluntary certification testing, as well as information about two supplements similar to another that passed testing.
This comprehensive review will guide you through the maze of "vision" and "eye health" supplements. In the report, you'll discover:
- The actual amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin in the supplements
- High-quality supplements which provide lutein at lowest cost
- Comparisons of vision formulas in eye health supplements to the clinically studied AREDS and AREDS2 formulations
- Dosages of lutein and zeaxanthin known be effective and how to take them to maximize absorption
- Foods that provide lutein and zeaxanthin (as well as another carotenoid, astaxanthin)
- What meso-zeaxanthin (as in the product MacuShield) is and whether you need to get it from a supplement
- Concerns, cautions, and potential side effects for lutein and zeaxanthin supplements