I find it interesting that we quite often spend money on supplements to treat or prevent disease to various parts of our body, however our eye health seems to not necessarily be a priority. Quite often we wait until we have health issues before we take supplements, instead of getting in early and taking preventative measures.
We all know macular degeneration (AMD) is a huge health problem, with more and more people being diagnosed each year. There is compelling evidence showing this disease is linked to free radical damage which damages the photo receptors in the macula. This can be similar to the type of damage which causes cataracts. The major risks factors have found to be high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, aging and smoking.
There are two forms of Macular Degeneration – the ‘dry’ form which is the most common is primarily caused by free radical damage. The other is known as the ‘wet’ form which is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels.
As we know, free radicals are often responsible for many health issues and to overcome or prevent this damage, we often suggest supplementing with antioxidants. It is no different with Macular Degeneration. There have been supplements available specifically for the treatment and prevention of Macular Degeneration for quite some time. Interestingly these generally contain quite low amounts of antioxidant nutrients.
There is a formula on the market which I really like as it not only contains similar antioxidant nutrients, but also Grapeseed Extract which is an extremely potent antioxidant and therefore hugely beneficial when treating Macular Degeneration. The bonus is Grapeseed Extract also stabilises capillary walls in the eyes and offers protection to the structure of the eyes.
Grapeseed Extract not only helps with treatment of Macular Degeneration but also eye strain. Focusing on a computer screen for a long time, reading or even driving can contribute to symptoms such as sore, tired, inflamed irritated or red eyes. Taking an eye formula containing Grapeseed Extract can be helpful in reducing these symptoms.
The inclusion of Lutein, also a strong antioxidant is extremely worthwhile. Lutein helps prevent the eye from absorbing the damaging high energy blue light emitted from computers, by serving as an optical filter.
One of the other important ingredients is Bilberry which improves visual function, particularly night vision. In fact, during WW II, British pilots believed that eating Bilberry jam helped improve their night vision when flying. Bilberry is helpful for sensitivity to glare, plus short sightedness. It can also help prevent cataracts through its antioxidant activity. These potent antioxidants also help strengthen blood vessels and capillary walls.
Another interesting addition to this formula is copper which helps maintain colour in the iris as we age.
A diet high in fruits and vegetables can help lower the risk of Macular Degeneration - obviously fruit and vegetables are high in antioxidants. It is believed the centre of the macula owes its yellow colour to the concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin. These yellow carotenes can prevent oxidative damage to the retina and assist with protection against macular degeneration. It is therefore extremely important to also include in your diet, foods containing these carotenes. Green leafy vegetables and vibrant coloured vegetables have also been found to be helpful in prevention and stabilisation of Macular Degeneration. These vegetables would include broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, spinach, red capsicum, tomatoes, sweet potato and carrots.
As you know, I’m always keen to promote the health benefits of a ‘green’ drink every day and this is a prime example of how such a drink can be extremely beneficial for your health. A great tasting juice containing carrots, kale and topped up with 2 teaspoons of barley grass, spirulina, wheat grass or chlorella powder can be extremely beneficial for the prevention or treatment of Macular Degeneration.
If you wish to know more about eye health or any other health issue, call to see Bev and the team at Go Vita, your health shop at 5 North St, Batemans Bay or phone on 44729737. Don’t forget to tune into to Bev and Marianne on Go Get Healthy on 2EC every Wednesday at 12.15pm.