Lutein as an Ingredient in Pediatric Nutritionals

J AOAC Int. 2019 Jul 1;102(4):1034-1043. doi: 10.5740/jaoacint.19-0014. Epub 2019 Feb 22.


Lutein is a xanthophyll carotenoid that can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables that may be limiting in the pediatric diet, which makes it an attractive nutrient for addition to supplemental nutritional products. Including lutein in the diet from a young age may provide protective benefits during a critical time of ocular and cognitive development. Lutein accumulation in eye and brain has led to research to better define the physiological role of this nutrient. Infants are exposed to lutein primarily through the consumption of breast milk or infant formulas containing lutein. The ingredient has been evaluated to be safe by many scientific and regulatory authorities for the addition to food, including formulated nutritional products. Nonhuman primates have been important in the investigation of the role dietary lutein in eye and brain function. Studies examining diets low or absent in lutein have revealed the impact on brain and eye function. Diets low in lutein may compromise neural tissues such as those found in the eye, which are susceptible to oxidation from blue wavelength light. No dietary recommendations have been established for lutein; however, several publications have highlighted the accumulating evidence that lutein provides long-term benefits when incorporated in adequate amounts in the diet.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula / chemistry
  • Lutein / metabolism*
  • Macula Lutea / metabolism
  • Milk, Human / chemistry


  • Lutein