Eye Nutrition you ask.
On the basis of a large Age Related Eye Disease Study, AREDS, involving 3640 participants which evaluated the role of dietetary supplementation in ARM (Age Related Maculopathy), certain recommendations were reached. Individuals with early to intermediate stages of the condition had showed in absolute terms an 8% reduced risk of progression to more advanced form of the disease at 5 years from commencement.
The supplementation involved ( not adjusted to body weight)
- – 80mg zinc
- – 2mg copper
- – 500mg vit C
- – 400iu vit E
- – 2500 IU vit A beta-carotene
As the benefits are marginal these need to be weighed against the following side effects. Be mindful not to take them in excess.
Zinc, the exact mechanism of action is not understood, high dosing can cause copper deficient anemia. Zinc has also been associated with genitourinary problems, most commonly prostate enlargement, it also lowers high density lipoprotein levels (good cholesterol) which normally has vaso-protective benefits
Vitamin E-higher dosing with vitamin E has an associated increased risk of death, 400IU is believed to be safe.
Vitamin C used in higher doses has a raised risk of atherosclerosis, and kidney stones, we need vit C in lower doses however. Specific GABA receptors in the retinal cells do not function well in absence of Vit C.
Beta Carotene or vitamin A intake in smokers raises their risk for lung cancer, alternatives recommended for smokers are Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
Vitamin E and omega3 oils (taken by some as supplement) can interact with Warfrin and increase the clotting time. Hence any individual on anti-coagulants should inform their doctor.
Alternative approach is to have a diet rich in green leafy vegetables
(ie spinach, kale, collards, capsicum, corn, broccoli), fish,(twice weekly),nuts, fruits, maintain cardiovascular fitness, and don’t smoke.
If you need to discuss these supplementations with our Optometrists, we are here to help. The risks and benefits of taking these supplements need careful consideration.
Products currently available in tablet form are;
1/ Ocuvite Preservision (formulation listed above from the ARED study)
If this information is of interest to you see the article on Macular Pigment.