Lutein Benefits

Kale Salad

ModernPracticality/iStock/Getty Images

Lutein, an antioxidant that may play an important role in eye and skin health is found in foods such as dark green vegetables and eggs. Antioxidants are chemicals in your body that defend healthy cells from damage caused by destructive free radicals. Lutein supplements are also available, and these have no known dangerous side effects. Talk to your doctor to learn more about the healthy benefits of lutein and other antioxidants.

Skin Health

According to Medical News Today, lutein can help to improve the hydration and elasticity of skin. Lutein antioxidant activity can potentially help prevent oxidative damage to your skin. Lutein also helps protect the lipids, oils and fats in your skin from peroxidation. While many people take lutein supplements to benefit their skin health, lutein may also be good for your skin when applied as a topical cream or ointment. Lutein may also help to protect skin from damage caused by the sun's UV rays and pollutants found in the air.

Prevent Macular Degeneration

Lutein is found in relatively high quantities in your eyes, where it may play an important role in maintaining eye health. As we age, lutein levels tend to decline in the eye, specifically in a part of the eye that helps to focus light known as the macula. Lower macular levels of lutein are associated with macular degeneration, an age-associated eye disease that commonly causes loss of vision. According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, increasing dietary levels of lutein, or taking lutein supplements, may help to prevent and treat macular degeneration.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Lutein is present in the blood serum, where it may have antioxidant effects to promote cardiovascular health. Antioxidants like lutein may help to prevent the peroxidation of fats and cholesterol in the blood, thereby reducing plaque buildup in arteries. A study in the 2001 issue of "Circulation" demonstrates lutein's potential role in helping to prevent the thickening of artery walls that forms the basis for atherosclerosis. Lutein may also help slow the progression of atherosclerosis.