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Although lutein is a normal part of the diet, there has not been much evaluation of lutein's safety when taken as a concentrated supplement. One study found evidence that lutein is safe in doses up to the highest tested dose of 10 mg daily. 1 A review of other evidence concluded that long term use of lutein should be safe when taken at a dose of up to 20 mg per day. 2 A 2009 study following 77,126 adults (over age 50), however, suggests that there may be some harm in long-term supplementation with lutein. This study found that long-term use of beta-carotene, lutein or retinol supplements may increase lung cancer risk. Long-term supplement use was determined by subjects' memory of the previous 10 years, so the results of this large study should be interpreted with some caution. 3 Maximum safe dosages for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease have not been established.
- Rosenthal JM, Kim J, de Monastario F, et al. Dose-ranging study of lutein supplementation in persons aged 60 years or older. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2006;47:5227-5233.
- Bahrami H, Melia M, Dagnelie G, et al. Lutein supplementation in retinitis pigmentosa: PC-based vision assessment in a randomized double-masked placebo-controlled clinical trial [NCT00029289]. BMC Ophthalmol. 2006 Jun 7. [Epub ahead of print]
- Satia JA, Littman A, Slatore CG, Galanko JA, White E. Long-term use of beta-carotene, retinol, lycopene, and lutein supplements and lung cancer risk: results from the VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) study. Am J Epidemiol. 169(7):815-28.