Protect your Eyes Today to Help Defeat Vision
By Kaori Dadgostar, Ph.D
The incidence of eye diseases among the aging population is on the rise, but a growing number of research studies have reported that many causes of vision impairment are preventable via proper diet and eye care.
The market for vision health supplements is on the rise. In 2008, US consumer sales for vision health supplements reached $331 million according to Nutrition Business Journal, and it continues to grow each year. This is probably due to our aging population and increasing understanding of ocular disease development and nutrition. Also, an increase in the use of computers and video games contributes significantly to public interest in vision health supplements.
Although the growing popularity of vision health supplements is probably a multi-factorial event, a recent economic downturn has played a significant role in increasing public interest in vision health supplements. More consumers are taking supplements as preventative care to minimize visits to health care professionals and cut medical costs. Many people have lost their healthcare benefits and access to conventional medical treatments due to employer budget cuts or loss of employment. Dietary supplements, including those for vision health, may help those people who already have compromised health to cope with their conditions while others may take them to avoid future complications. New developments in the national healthcare system have brought many doubts and uncertainties to consumers, and these have also led to a gain in the popularity of vision health as well as other dietary supplements.
Recent studies have shown the benefits of taking lutein and zeaxanthin for the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), one of the leading causes of blindness in America. People who consume high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, either through diet or dietary supplements, have a reduced risk of developing ARMD by as much as 43%, while their macular pigment density, a critical factor in visual acuity, is significantly increased. Similarly, lutein and vitamin A supplementation can dramatically reduce the risk of retinitis pigmentosa, another cause of blindness. Further, lutein supplementation has been reported to enhance visual function during and after prolonged exposure to computers.
Look for an eye formula which provides a comprehensive combination of nutrients that support various aspects of eye health, including protection from UV radiation and free radicals, support for critical eye components like the lens and photoreceptors and the promotion of healthy eye circulation. Below are the recommended ingredients for vision support and their reported health benefits.
1. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are critical antioxidant carotenoids for the macula of the eyes. Dark green, leafy vegetables are good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin reduce age-related increase in the lens' density.
2. Black Currant Extract (Ribes nigrum) contains powerful polyphenol antioxidants that reduce eye fatigue and promote eye comfort.
3. Grape Seed Extract (Vitis vinifera) supports the strength of capillaries and other blood vessels in the eyes.
4. Alpha Lipoic Acid, Selenium, and Vitamin B2 support the antioxidants glutathione and glutathione peroxidase, which protect the eyes' lenses.
5. Ginkgo Biloba Extract promotes circulation and contains potent free radical scavenging flavonoids known as ginkgo flavonglycosides.
6. Quercetin is an antioxidant that protects lens architecture.
Additional products that use unique technologies and formulation methods to support eye health are Bilberry and Carotene.
Bilberry offers standardized flavonoid antioxidants. Swedish bilberries contain 25% polyphenols as anthocyanosides. Red Grapeskin extract contains 30% polyphenols including 4% anthocyanins. These flavonoids support and protect vision by enhancing antioxidant status in the eye and reducing capillary permeability and fragility.
Beta carotene provides a source of vitamin A with no risk of toxicity. Lycopene is an antioxidant carotenoid extracted from tomatoes. Lycopene supports healthy prostate function and protects against damage from free radical singlet oxygen. Lutein is an antioxidant carotenoid that occurs in nature with zeaxanthin. Dietary lutein and zeaxanthin concentrate in the eye's macula and lens and protect these tissues from oxidative stress.
Best to protect your eyes today to help defeat vision loss tomorrow!