November 14, 2016
395 Macular Degeneration [14 Nov 2016]
I have written about this topic a few times over the years. In May 2009 [#010] I discussed age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. In July 2013 [#224] I listed 12 nutrients known to protect the eyes and improve vision. Then in May 2015 [#319] I added glutathione to that list. I am reprising this topic because last week I was diagnosed with early macular degeneration.
In the 2009 article I reported that the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) completed in 2001 found that a program of vitamin C (500mg), vitamin E (400iu), beta-carotene (25,000IU) and zinc (80mg) slowed the progression from intermediate to severe macular degeneration by 25%, but did not help those in the early stage of the disease. A second trial was then underway to test a lower level of zinc, eliminating beta-carotene, and adding lutein, zeaxanthin and omega 3s.
The second study, called AREDS-2, came out in May 2013. It found that omega-3, beta-carotene and extra zinc made no difference with macular degeneration (and beta-carotene increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers!), but adding lutein and zeaxanthin slowed the progression of AMD by a further 20% beyond that of the original formula. None of the supplements affected the progression rate of cataracts in this study.
The retina specialist that diagnosed my condition recommended two brands of eye supplements that follow the AREDS-2 formula – Vitalux and PreserVision. Two of the eye supplement formulas in my store have most of these ingredients, plus a lot more like blueberry & bilberry extracts, selenium, and certain B vitamins. I also have lutein, beta-carotene and another carotenoid antioxidant astaxanthin as separate supplements (note that beta-carotene should not be taken at the same time as lutein and zeaxanthin as they compete for absorption). A special high-absorption form of thiamin or B1 called Benfotiamine shows promise in protecting eye health and is also available as a separate supplement.
I’m already taking most of the nutrients on the list, but will now add Benfotiamine B1 and more lutein and zeaxanthin to the mix. I also plan to start using the special whey for increasing glutathione again. I’ll let you know the results of my follow-up examination next year.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.