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Antioxidants and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

How you take care of your body—what you put into it and how much
exercise you get—plays a key role in how well it is able to fight
off diseases and infections. The same goes for eye diseases.

Nutrition is especially important when it comes to preventing or delaying
the progression of eye diseases, especially
age-related macular degeneration. A 2012 study by the National Eye Institute (NEI) confirmed the disease
is a “nutrition-responsive disorder.” Changing your diet and
taking supplements with antioxidants and vitamins can prevent the disease
or slow vision loss due to age-related macular degeneration.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study from the NEI is the first large clinical
trial to test the effect of antioxidants and zinc on the prevention or
delayed progression of age-related macular degeneration and its associated
vision loss.

In the clinical trial, a high dose of antioxidant vitamins and zinc supplements
reduced the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration
by about 25 percent and reduced vision loss by 19 percent in the study
subjects who were at high risk for developing the advanced stage of this
disease. Results of the study were published in December 2012.

The specific doses of supplements used in the study were:

• 500 milligrams (mg) vitamin C

• 400 IU vitamin E

• 15 mg beta-carotene

• 80 mg zinc

• 2 mg copper (to prevent anemia from high dose zinc)

According to researchers, the combination of supplements used in the trial
is the first effective treatment to slow the progression of age-related
macular degeneration. The NEI recommends adults over age 55 with signs
of intermediate to late-stage vision loss should consider taking an antioxidant
vitamin and zinc supplement to slow it down.

While the NEI study examined the benefits of a vitamin supplement regimen,
you can increase your doses of each of these vital vitamins and antioxidants
simply by changing what you eat. By adding antioxidants and vitamins to
your nutrition protocol, you can help prevent age-related macular degeneration
all together or slow its progress.

Here’s a helpful list of foods to help you get more vitamins C and
E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper in your diet.

Vitamin C: cantaloupe, citrus fruits, kiwi, mango, papaya, pineapple, berries, watermelon,
broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green and red peppers, leafy
greens, potatoes, tomatoes, winter squash

Vitamin E: nuts and seeds, leafy greens

Beta-carotene: lettuce and leafy greens, carrots, pumpkin, cabbage, winter squash, sweet potatoes

Zinc: oysters, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, spinach, pumpkin and squash seeds,
nuts, cocoa and chocolate, mushrooms

Copper: liver, oysters, sesame seeds, cocoa powder and chocolate, nuts, calamari,
lobster, sunflower seeds, sundried tomatoes, pumpkin and squash seeds,
dried herbs

If you have experienced changes in your vision, schedule an appointment
with your eye doctor immediately. Though nutrition can help prevent or
delay progression of eye diseases such as macular degeneration, it is
still important to maintain regular eye exams. You have the best chance
of maintaining your vision and preventing vision loss if eye conditions
are detected and treated in the early stages.

For more information,
contact Key-Whitman today.

Posted in: Eye Health, Macular Degeneration

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