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Lutein is a natural substance that research suggests can provide health benefits for the eyes and the skin. As a dietary supplement, it is available in several forms, including softgels, which contain liquid in a gelatin-based shell. To choose the best lutein softgels, you should consider the dosage of lutein and the specific type of coating. As is the case with any supplement, before adding lutein softgels to your diet, you should consult your physician to make sure that taking them will be safe and effective.
The first step in determining the best lutein softgels is to determine how much lutein you need in your diet. Though research varies, most research suggests that 10 milligrams or more per day provides a health benefit. Some lutein softgels list their lutein content in micrograms (mcg), which are one thousandth of a milligram, so 10 milligrams is equal to 10,000 micrograms. Keep that in mind when you are making your choice.
Another consideration in taking any supplement is the coating on the softgels. Even if it will cost a bit more, make sure the lutein softgel has an enteric coating, which ensures that the lutein will be released in the small intestine and not destroyed by the stomach’s acid. Even highly concentrated doses of lutein will be rendered useless to your body if the substance is not released in your intestine, where nutrients are much more readily absorbed.
Though most people consume fewer than 10 milligrams of lutein per day, your diet might contain more lutein than you would think. If you regularly eat foods high in lutein, such as kale, spinach, collards or turnip greens, then you might not need such a high dose in your lutein softgels. All of those foods contain more than 10 milligrams of lutein per cup after cooking.
Research suggests that the benefits of lutein extend to both the eyes and the skin. Some research indicates that the daily consumption of lutein softgels containing 10 or more milligrams can help prevent macular degeneration, which is one of the leading causes of the loss of vision in older adults. In addition, some research shows that the daily consumption of lutein softgels could help maintain healthy skin through increased hydration, elasticity and skin lipid content. Studies have also shown that carotenoids such as lutein act as powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. This could result in lowering your risk of cancer.