Both Lutein and Luteolin are types of colorful compounds that have significant medical uses. They both have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties found naturally in plant leaves and have a yellow pigment. Let’s look into Luteolin and Lutein’s health benefits and how they differ.

Is Luteolin and Lutein the Same?

Although they have a similar name, Lutein and Luteolin are not the same. Lutein is an organic pigment called “the eye vitamin,” whereas Luteolin is a plant flavonoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Lutein vs. Luteolin: Difference

The primary distinction between Lutein and Luteolin is that Lutein is a carotenoid essential for eye health. Lutein-rich foods include egg yolks, spinach, kale, maize, orange pepper, kiwi fruit, grapes, zucchini, and squash.

Many people use lutein supplements to reduce their risk of developing cataracts or age-related macular degeneration, two of the leading causes of blindness in the elderly. Many additional medical disorders are treated with Lutein. However, these applications lack sufficient scientific support. [1]

On the other hand, the plant flavonoid Luteolin is an antioxidant used for centuries in alternative medicine to treat hypertension, inflammatory illness, and cancer. Luteolin is found in various plant leaves, including parsley and celery, dandelion, onion, citrus fruits, spices, and different vegetables.

It’s also believed to have several health benefits, including protection against illness. In addition to possibly possessing antibacterial and antioxidant qualities, it may also have testosterone-boosting characteristics.

Luteolin vs. Lutein Benefits

Because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, both Lutein and Luteolin are used as dietary supplements. Both also offer similar benefits, which are the following.

Improves Cognitive Function

Luteolin helps protect the brain and nerves from damage. It can help reduce symptoms related to brain injuries and diseases. [2] Its anti-inflammatory properties may also help improve mental capabilities, protect the brain cells from damage, and help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. [3]

Lutein and its isomer, zeaxanthin, are the only carotenoids that can pass the blood-retina barrier to create macular pigment. Furthermore, Lutein preferentially accumulates in the human brain during all developmental stages. Lutein has been linked to improvements in vision and brainpower that last throughout one’s life. [4]

Prevents Cancer

Some types of cancer may be avoided by eating a diet high in lutein-rich vegetables and fruits. As an antioxidant, it may help reduce the risk of cancer. Recent studies have shown that Lutein can suppress the proliferation of breast cancer cells, which suggests that it could be a viable alternative or supplementary therapy choice in the fight against breast cancer. [5]

Luteolin may also help inhibit the growth of cancer cells, thanks to its anti-inflammatory property. Several animal studies have shown its ability to help prevent the growth of different cancer conditions, such as prostate, breast, lung, stomach, colon, ovarian, pancreatic, and liver cancer. [6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]

Improve Cardiovascular Indicators

Many studies have found that carotenoids, such as Lutein, have antioxidant biological effects due to their chemical structure and connection with biological membranes. Because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Lutein may help combat conditions that increase the risk of heart disease. [13]

Additionally, increased dietary consumption of Lutein and higher blood concentrations of Lutein have been linked, in general, to improved cardiometabolic health. It can reduce inflammation and fat buildup in blood vessels. However, the data is primarily based on observational research in adults, whereas large-scale intervention studies and studies of Lutein during pregnancy and youth are limited. [14]

Lutein: Helps Treat Eye Diseases

Lutein is a supplementary treatment for eye diseases such as cataracts and vision loss. Many studies have found that Lutein can improve cognitive performance, lower cancer risk, and improve cardiovascular health indicators. [15] Here are more of its benefits for the eyes:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Protect eyes from damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress
  • Decrease cell death and loss caused by eye diseases
  • Improve your visual acuity and contrast sensitivity
  • Protect your eyes from the sun’s rays and blue light
  • Help the retina turn light into electrical impulses and send those signals on to the visual cortex in your brain
  • Prevent nearsightedness (myopia) and save premature babies’ eyes from damage

Luteolin: Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant

Luteolin is primarily known for its anti-inflammatory and ability to help fight cancer. Other benefits of Luteolin are the following:

  • Maintains healthy muscle and nerve function
  • Aids in reducing inflammation, the underlying cause of joint pain and stiffness
  • Speeds up the body’s natural metabolic processes and improves the way it uses carbs
  • Reduces blood sugar by increasing insulin secretion and decreasing insulin resistance and Syndrome X, helping in treating type II Diabetes
  • Maintains a healthy colon
  • Suppresses the growth of cancer cells
  • Inhibits the release of histamine and prevents allergic reactions by stabilizing mast cells (a type of immune cell)
  • Boosts glutathione, reduces uric acid, and protects against oxidative brain damage

Luteolin vs. Lutein Side Effects

When taken orally, Luteolin and Lutein pose no risk and have no known side effects. However, regulatory organizations cannot ensure the safety of supplements, particularly when taken in larger quantities than recommended. Lutein’s only known side effect was a slight yellowing of the skin, which is not harmful. 

Though there have been few known adverse effects of Lutein and Luteolin supplements, additional study is needed to investigate the potential side effects, especially at very high doses.

Luteolin vs. Lutein: Which is Better?

Since these two compounds offer different benefits, one is not better than the other. Lutein is the supplement to take if improved eye health is a priority. On the other hand, Luteolin is an excellent choice if antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects are desired.

Luteolin vs. Lutein Dosage

Taking 10 milligrams of Lutein once daily has been shown to slow the development of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts and enhance skin tone and protection from sun damage. Taking up to 20 mg of Lutein daily as a supplement or in food is safe.

On the other hand, the recommended daily amount of Luteolin is 100 mg. It is commonly mixed with Rutin, another flavonoid generated from Quercetin, to boost its effects.

Bottomline: Lutein vs Luteolin

Lutein and Luteolin are both used as supplements and in medicine. Lutein is a carotenoid that helps maintain healthy eyes, while Luteolin is a flavonoid with anti-inflammatory properties. The main difference between the two is their composition and health benefits. Although research suggests they may help alleviate symptoms of some diseases, they shouldn’t be used clinically because their potential benefits and side effects are still unclear.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

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Shaira is a licensed pharmacist (Bachelor of Pharmacy) and an experienced content writer. She enjoys inspiring and informing her readers through research-backed, comprehensive health content. Shaira draws from her personal experience working with real-life patients in a hospital setting and is currently pursuing her passion in writing.