What is the Difference Between Lutein and Luteolin

The main difference between lutein and luteolin is that lutein is an organic pigment known as “eye vitamin” whereas luteolin is a plant flavonoid used in traditional medicine to prevent hypertension, inflammatory disease, and cancer.

Lutein and luteolin are two types of colored compounds important in medicine. Both have a plant origin. Moreover, lutein and luteolin are both yellow color pigments that occur in the leaves of plants. Generally, lutein is a carotenoid important in eye health while luteolin is a flavonoid, important in fighting against inflammation and cancer. 

Key Areas Covered

  1. What is Lutein
    • Definition, Characteristics, Importance
  2. What is Luteolin
    • Definition, Characteristics, Importance
  3. Similarities Between Lutein and Luteolin
    • Outline of Common Features
  4. Difference Between Lutein and Luteolin
    • Comparison with Key Differences

Key Terms

Lutein, Luteolin, FucoxanthinLutein vs Luteolin

What is Lutein

Lutein is a type of carotenoid called xanthophyll, which is an organic pigment. It also occurs in high quantities in green, leafy vegetables including kale, yellow carrots, and spinach. In high light conditions, xanthophyll production in vegetables is high. Furthermore, lutein is one of the two major carotenoids in the eye, filtering light to protect from sunlight damage. Moreover, lutein has lots of health benefits, which makes it a food supplement.

Compare Lutein and Luteolin - What's the difference?

Figure 1: Leafy Green Vegetables

Furthermore, lutein is a key nutrient for eye health, and it also has other impressive health benefits. Some of these benefits include enhancing the sharpness of vision, improving visual contrast sensitivity, protecting against free radicals and oxidative stress, suppressing inflammation, etc. In addition, lutein is important in treating age-related muscular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and dry eye disease.

What is Luteolin

Luteolin is a flavone, a type of flavonoid that is also the principal yellow dye compound obtained from the plant Reseda luteola. In addition, it is more commonly found in leaves. The dietary sources of luteolin include celery, broccoli, artichoke, green pepper, parsley, thyme, dandelion, perilla, chamomile tea, carrots, olive oil, peppermint, rosemary, navel oranges, and oregano.

Lutein vs Luteolin

Figure 2: Luteolin

Moreover, the main importance of luteolin in plants is to protect the plant from microbes and other threats. Besides, humans also have many health benefits from the compound. Importantly, luteolin-rich plants strengthen the immune system, relieving inflammation and fighting against cancer.

Similarities Between Lutein and Luteolin

  • Lutein and luteolin are two important compounds that occur in plants.
  • They are important in medicine and have lots of other health benefits.

Difference Between Lutein and Luteolin


Lutein refers to a deep yellow pigment of the xanthophyll class, found in the leaves of plants, in egg yolk, and in the corpus luteum, while luteolin refers to a yellow crystalline pigment C15H10O6 occurring usually as a glycoside in many plants.

Type of Molecule

Generally, lutein is a carotenoid while luteolin is a flavonoid.  


Lutein is important in eye health while luteolin fight against inflammation and cancer.


In brief, both, lutein and luteolin, are used as food supplements as well as in medicine. Also, they both readily occur in green leafy vegetables. However, lutein is a carotenoid that is important in photosynthesis. And it is also beneficial for eye health. On the other hand, luteolin is a flavonoid that has anti-inflammatory effects. In conclusion, the main difference between lutein and luteolin is their structure and health benefits. 

  1. (n.d.). Lutein: Overview, uses, side effects, precautions, interactions, dosing and reviews. WebMD. Retrieved August 6, 2022.
  2. Lin Y, Shi R, Wang X, Shen HM. Luteolin, a flavonoid with potential for cancer prevention and therapy. Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2008 Nov;8(7):634-46. doi: 10.2174/156800908786241050. PMID: 18991571; PMCID: PMC2615542.
Image Courtesy:
  1. Green leafy vegetables ” By Mark Stebnicki (CC0) Own Work via Pexels
  2. Luteolin” By Piccfa – Own Work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things. She has a keen interest in writing articles regarding science.

Leave a Reply