A good diet and active lifestyle are essential to the health of your eyes, but a number of important nutrients can help too.
Our vision is often something that we take for granted, which is why it is so important to take care of our eyes through good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Various studies and clinical trials have discovered links between certain antioxidants and eye health, particularly in terms of reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The main focus has been on the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E which can be found in a range of fruits and vegetables. However, other nutrients can also help to maintain healthy cells and tissues in the eye.
LUTEIN AND ZEAXANTHIN
Research has found that two particular types of antioxidants, known as ‘carotenoids’, called lutein and zeaxanthin may help with eye health and, more specifically, may lower the risk of developing AMD.1 Both lutein and zeaxanthin can be found naturally in fruits and vegetables. Lutein is found in yellow peppers, mango, bilberries, and green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, chard and broccoli. Zeaxanthin can be found in orange sweet peppers, broccoli, corn, lettuce, spinach, tangerines, oranges and eggs.
Lutein is thought to play a major role in the health of the eye by helping to prevent damage to the macula, the central point of the retina needed for close work like reading and driving. Evidence also seems to suggest that lutein may have an antioxidant and anti- inflammatory effect to protect retinal cells. Additionally, a study in the Archives of Ophthalmology found that diets rich in lutein and zeaxanthin were associated with a lower risk and prevalence of cataracts in women.
Taurine is an amino acid which is involved in retinal health. Taurine controls the electric charge across cell membranes and is essential for the function of nerve impulses. This nerve transmission is particularly important in the eye, which is why the retina has a higher concentration of taurine than any other organ in the body. Deficiencies of taurine are said to cause retinal lesions and visual deterioration – and this doesn’t just apply to humans. Interestingly, a 1975 study found that a diet deficient in taurine was associated with retinal degeneration in cats.
Research shows that astaxanthin may help with problems such as tired eyes, eye strain and eye irritation. Astaxanthin is a carotenoid found naturally in algae consumed by marine life such as lobster, shrimp, and salmon – indeed it gives them their reddish colour. It seems to work by improving blood flow to the muscles of the eye, as well as to the small blood vessels in the retina. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Several clinical trials have been carried out into the effectiveness of astaxanthin, including one randomized, placebo- controlled study conducted in Japan, where researchers found that people who work on computer monitors had a 54% reduction in eye fatigue when they took 6mg astaxanthin per day for four weeks compared with individuals who took a placebo.
Acupuncture is said to bring relief to strained, tired or irritated eyes by bringing better, localised blood flow to the entire eye region. It has also been used traditionally to help blurred vision, eyestrain and eye injuries for thousands of years. One study examined the effectiveness of acupuncture on AMD and found that 69% of patients improved in distant vision and 69% improved in near vision, leading the researchers to state that “visual acuity in AMD may be improved by acupuncture”.
MaxiFocusTM is a sublingual formula which contains 24 super nutrients and antioxidants, providing total nutritional support for the eyes and body
and promoting overall health. Includes a highly absorbable amount of Lutein, Zeaxanthin & Taurine.
Other recommended products include AstaXanthin, a naturally occurring carotenoid pigment which is a powerful antioxidant. Taurine Spray, an amino acid from protein, found in high levels in the retina and HealthPoint, the easy to use home electronic acupressure kit.