What Does Lutein Do? Lutein is an antioxidant carotenoid that occurs in nature with zeaxanthin, a closely related carotenoid. Lutein and zeaxanthin concentrate in the eye’s macula and lens, as well as in the brain, skin, breast and cervical tissues. Both lutein and zeaxanthin protect the macula from degradation normally associated with aging and oxidative stress. The macula is responsible for focus and color differentiation. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in dark green, leafy vegetables. While the average American intake of lutein is only 2 mg per day, other population groups consume up to 20 to 25 mg per day. Jarrow Formulas Lutein is extracted from marigold petals. Each softgel contains 20 mg lutein (net yield) as free lutein, the form found in the macula.