Lutein Supplements Linked to Crystal Deposits in Eyes
Thursday, November 17 2016 | 00 h 00 min | Vision Science
Ophthalmologists frequently prescribe lutein supplements in order to slow vision loss due to macular degeneration, but new research suggests that taking more lutein than the body needs can result in crystal deposits within the macula region of the retina.
The case report, from the Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah, and published in October at JAMA Ophthalmology, describes a patient, an Asian woman in her 60s without AMD or other vision problems, referred for bilateral “foveal sparkles.” In addition to a diet already rich in lutein, the patient had also been taking a 20mg daily lutein supplement for the past eight years, resulting in a daily dose of lutein more than twice the recommended amount for an AMD patient.
“When we looked at the patient’s carotenoid levels in serum, skin, and the retina, all measurements were at least two times greater than carotenoid levels in patients not taking nutritional supplements,” said principal investigator Paul Bernstein, MD, PhD. “The patient quit taking the lutein supplement, but maintained her diet rich in lutein, and, after seven months, the crystals in the right eye disappeared.”
Being just one case, these results cannot be considered conclusive, but it does indicate that there may be negative effects associated with consuming higher than the recommended amount of lutein, and is a reminder to exercise caution when taking supplements not specifically recommended by a qualified health care provider.
Full article: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/article-abstract/2569672