What Nutrients Protect Your Vision as You Age?
Your eyes are the most important sensory organ of your body, and one of the most vulnerable parts. Damaging UV rays from the sun and prolonged use of bright screens can tire and weaken your eyes. Other factors, such as pollution, inflammation, oxidation, and aging, can also influence the health of your eyes. But getting the right nutrition can help keep your eyes healthy and protect them against stress as you age.
Nutrients That Help Protect Healthy Vision
Research indicates that dietary antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients may provide benefit in decreasing the risk of age-related vision problems1. The most vital nutrients for eye health are vitamins C and E, β-carotene, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Vitamin C: This water-soluble vitamin is vital for making collagen, the structural component of tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. It is also a potent antioxidant that protects the protein, lipid molecules, and the genetic material in your body. It helps neutralize damaging free radicals generated during the normal metabolism as well as through toxins/pollution. Because your eyes have a high metabolic rate, they need antioxidant protection. Studies show that improved vitamin C levels help offer this protection, as well as help, regenerate other antioxidants, such as vitamin E2.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant. α-Tocopherol is the form of vitamin E that is actively maintained in the human body (blood and tissues). The primary role of Vitamin E is to protect the fats in the cell membranes through antioxidant activity. The α-Tocopherol form targets free radicals and breaks the chain reaction that damages the fats in the retina of the eye3.
Beta carotene: Beta carotene is an orange pigment that gives a bright yellow-orange hue to vegetables like carrots and bell peppers, as well as fruits like mangos and tomatoes. It belongs to a class of fat-soluble compounds called carotenoids, which are potent antioxidants. Among them, Beta carotene is the most efficient scavenger of singlet oxygen4. Singlet oxygen is a free radical that rapidly reacts with protein, fats, and DNA material in our body, resulting in oxidative damage. The AREDS trial showed that Beta carotene supplementation along with other nutrients like Vitamin C, E, zinc, and copper reduced the risk of developing advanced AMD (macular degeneration)5 in patients.
Zinc: Zinc is a vital micronutrient for maintaining optimal eye metabolism. Zinc is part of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), a powerful free radical scavenger. Low levels of zinc in biological membranes such as eye tissue and retina increases their vulnerability to oxidative damage and impairs eye function6.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Lutein and zeaxanthin belong to the carotenoid family. These two carotenoids are present in high concentration in the macula or central region of the retina and are often referred to as macula pigment7. These two carotenoids are known for their antioxidant action. Research suggests that they also help absorb damaging blue light and limit retinal damage8.
Omega-3 Fats: Omega-3 fats help limit oxidative stress and inflammation in the eyes. DHA, an important omega-3 fatty acid, is present in large amounts in the retinal tissue9. DHA affects the photo-receptor membrane function of your eye, which helps convert light (visible electromagnetic radiation) into electrical signals that are sent to the brain. This allows us to see an enormous range of light: from bright sun to scanty lighting to darkness.
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), sponsored by the federal government’s National Eye Institute, found that supplementation with vitamins C and E, β-carotene, and zinc, at levels well above the recommended daily allowances, reduced the risk of developing advanced AMD by about 25%10.
NATURELO’s Eye Health Formula includes the recommended ingredients used in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS 2).