How much Lutein to take ?
Hello Dr. Pessaro
I recently had a posterior vitreous detachment followed by a large retinal tear and small detachment. Had laser and am being watched for retinal detachment.I am 61 yrs old.
My husband is also starting a cataract.My husband is 64 and still works full time on a computer.
I am interested in your product Lutein Plus as I am already on a Multivitamin and dont want to overdo.
I came across this website that does not seem to recommend 20 mg. daily. Most of the Lutein supplements I have come across do have that much in it.
one comment on this site was.. too much lutein may displace the other carotanoids in the retina and cause an imbalance in the retina.I think it is a theory but my understanding is they are looking at long term use.
Thank you for taking time to answer my question
Thank you for your question. It is true that in some instances taking too much of a singular nutrient can create deficiencies in other areas. For example, taking too much zinc over extended periods of time can deplete copper stores.
In the case of lutein and specifically in relation to the 20mg daily dose in your question, I do not believe this is the case. The theory that too much lutein may displace other nutrients in the retina is just a theory. So while there is no evidence at this time to prove that 20mg daily is safe, there is also no evidence to suggest that it is not. In addition, the Vitabase lutein product is also formulated with zeaxanthin which creates a more balanced approach.
The website you referred to suggests that someone should not exceed 60mg of supplemental lutein per week which is based primarily on an educated guess. Even if it is a good educated guess let’s look at some actual science.
In 2004 a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, multi-centered study was conducted on 90 patients with atrophic age related macular degeneration to evaluate the effect of lutein and lutein plus antioxidants on eye health. The results of the study concluded that vision significantly improved in the groups given the lutein by itself and given the lutein plus antioxidants. In fact, the group given just lutein had more improvement than the group given the combination formula further suggesting that lutein might not significantly displace other vital nutrients. The placebo group showed no improvements in vision.
Now we can really answer your question by looking at the dose of lutein used in the study. Patients in the treatment groups were given 10mg of lutein daily which results in weekly intake of 70mg which exceeds the recommendations theorized in website you referred to.
Based on this information I believe there is strong safety data to suggest that anywhere from 10mg-20mg of daily lutein supplementation would be safe. Consider that 1/2 cup of cooked kale contains 15mg of lutein so we likely get a significant amount from diet if we eat foods rich in this nutrient.
If you want to go based on the research as it relates to macular health (the area of the eye most supported by lutein) than make sure to get 70mg of supplemental lutein per week either by itself or combined with other antioxidants. If you have a diet that is very low in dietary sources of lutein than you will likely benefit from a higher dose of supplemental lutein.
I think it would be very safe for you to take 20mg of lutein daily for at least 3 months to support the recovery of your eyes and you could safely continue at that dose or slightly lower for ongoing support.
I hope that information was helpful.
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Lead Medical Director
As a certified and fully trained Naturopathic Doctor, Passero has trained and preceptored with some of the nation's leading doctors in the field of natural medicine, working under the guidance of MD’s, Chiropractors, Naturopaths and Acupuncturists. Furthermore, he is currently the Vice President of the Maryland Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
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