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Hearing and vision health Q&As

What are the best supplements for preserving vision?

What are the best natural supplements for preserving your eyesight? Can plant substances really improve your vision?
Rédaction Supersmart.
2019-09-13Commentaires (0)

The two natural ingredients best-known for supporting eye health belong to the carotenoid family: lutein and zeaxanthin. Sharing a very similar molecular structure, these natural pigments are abundantly present in the macular part of the eye and in retinal tissue. They protect the eye by absorbing the most energy-dense oxidising light rays and by preventing photo-oxidation of the pigment lipofuscin, which over time accumulates in retinal pigment epithelial cells.

Most adults in the West have do not consume enough lutein and zeaxanthin (primarily found in leafy vegetables) to reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Dietary supplements are thus particularly helpful for increasing levels of these two carotenoids in the eye.

Their efficacy is also supported by scientific studies. One large-scale, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that daily supplementation with 10mg of lutein for one year resulted in a higher concentration of lutein in the eye with potential improvements in vision (1). Epidemiological studies have also shown that individuals with the highest retinal levels of lutein and zeaxanthin have the lowest risk of developing AMD, the leading cause of blindness in Western countries, affecting almost 30% of over-65s.

What you need to know about taking lutein and zeaxanthin supplements:

Several studies suggest that another carotenoid, astaxanthin, may help minimise visual fatigue and reduce the risk of AMD. This is the compound responsible for the pink colour of salmon, trout, shrimps and some other shellfish.

Which supplement should you choose?

Lutein 20 mg contains 20 mg of free lutein per capsule, the ideal form and dose. If you’d prefer a formulation that contains lutein, astaxanthin and zeaxanthin, combined with fats for maximum bioavailability, then opt for Macula Plus.

Research has also demonstrated the benefits of saffron extracted from the species Crocus sativus, which also contains antioxidant carotenoids such as crocin and crocetin. Several studies have shown that regular supplementation with 20mg of saffron for 3-12 months can have a moderate effect on improving retinal sensitivity to light and visual acuity in those with recently-diagnosed AMD (2-4). In this case, it’s important that supplements contain extracts of Crocus sativus standardised in crocin, such as Affron Eye. Vitamins C and E and zinc may also delay the progress of AMD (5).

Antioxidants appear to support eye health in general. While flavonols, anthocyanins (found in fresh blueberries, for example) and oligo-proanthocyanidins (found in pine bark) do not accumulate in the eye, they encourage dilation of the blood vessels that supply the optic nerve and help deliver sufficient nutrients to photoreceptors. Many eye problems, including glaucoma, are associated with poor blood supply and deterioration of blood vessels. Antioxidants, such as those provided by Eye Pressure Control, are generally useful for reducing the risk of sight problems associated with diabetes and hypertension.

If you’re looking for a really comprehensive formulation that contains all these ingredients and helps reduce the risk of both AMD and vision problems related to diabetes and hypertension, your best bet is OptiVision.

Whichever you choose, it’s important to continue supplementing for at least three months in order to both experience improvements in visual acuity, and even more so, significantly reduce your risk of developing vision problems.

References

  1. Widomska J, Subczynski WK. 2014. Why has Nature Chosen Lutein and Zeaxanthin to Protect the Retina? J. Clin. Exp. Ophthalmol. 5: 326.
  2. Bhosale, P.; Serban, B.; Zhao, da Y.; Bernstein, P.S. Identification and metabolic transformations of carotenoids in ocular tissues of the Japanese quail Coturnix japonica. Biochemistry 2007, 46, 9050–9057.
  3. Bhosale, P.; Bernstein, P.S. Quantitative measurement of 3'-oxolutein from human retina by normal-phase high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry. Anal. Biochem. 2005, 345, 296–301.
  4. Khachik, F.; Carvalho, L.; Bernstein, P.S.; Muir, G.J.; Zhao, D.Y.; Katz, N.B. Chemistry, distribution, and metabolism of tomato carotenoids and their impact on human health. Exp. Biol. Med. (Maywood) 2002, 227, 845–851.
  5. Panfoli, I.; Calzia, D.; Ravera, S.; Morelli, A.M.; Traverso, C.E. Extra-mitochondrial aerobic metabolism in retinal rod outer segments: New perspectives in retinopathies. Med. Hypotheses 2012, 78, 423–427.
  6. Gehrs KM, Anderson DH, Johnson LV, Hageman GS. 2006. Agerelated macular degeneration-emerging pathogenetic and therapeutic concepts. Ann. Med. 38: 450–471.
  7. Connor WE, Duell PB, Kean R, Wang Y. 2007. The prime role of HDL to transport lutein into the retina: evidence from HDLdeficient WHAM chicks having a mutant ABCA1 transporter. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 48: 4226–4231
  8. Liu R, Wang T, Zhang B, Qin L, Wu C, Li Q, Ma L. 2015. Lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation and association with visual function in age-related macular degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 56: 252–258.
  9. Renzi LM, Hammond BR. 2010a. The effect of macular pigment on heterochromatic luminance contrast. Exp. Eye Res. 91: 896–900.
  10. Ramirez M. Why lutein is important for the eye and the brain, OCL 2016, 23(1) D107, DOI: 10.1051/ocl/2015027
  11. Bone RA, Landrum JT. 2010. Dose-dependent response of serum lutein and macular pigment optical density to supplementation with lutein esters. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 504: 50–55.
  12. Richer S, Stiles W, Statkute L, Pulido J, Frankowski J, Rudy D, Pei K, Tsipursky M, Nyland J. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 2004 Apr;75(4):216-30.
  13. Liu R, Wang T, Zhang B, Qin L, Wu C, Li Q, Ma L. 2015. Lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation and association with visual function in age-related macular degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 56: 252–258.
  14. Falsini B, Piccardi M, Minnella A, Savastano C, Capoluongo E, Fadda A, Balestrazzi E, Maccarone R, Bisti S. Influence of saffron supplementation on retinal flicker sensitivity in early age-related macular degeneration. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Dec;51(12):6118-24. doi: 10.1167/iovs.09-4995. Epub 2010 Aug 4.
  15. M. Piccardi, D. Marangoni, A. M. Minnella, M. C. Savastano, P. Valentini, L. Ambrosio, E. Capoluongo, R. Maccarone, S. Bisti, and B. Falsini , A Longitudinal Follow-Up Study of Saffron Supplementation in Early Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Sustained Benefits to Central Retinal Function, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 429124.
  16. Dario Marangoni, Benedetto Falsini, Marco Piccardi, Lucia Ambrosio, Angelo Maria Minnella, Maria Cristina Savastano, Silvia Bisti, Rita Maccarone, Antonello Fadda, Enrica Mello, Paola Concolino, and Ettore Capoluongo. Functional effect of Saffron supplementation and risk genotypes in early age-related macular degeneration: a preliminary report, J Transl Med. 2013; 11: 228. Published online 2013 Sep 25. doi: 10.1186/1479-5876-11-228
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