Macular Degeneration Supplements help reduce the deterioration of eye health with age.
What is macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration (AMD) is an age-related degenerative disease of the retina, specifically of the light-sensitive tissue located at the bottom of the eye.
The progressive death of retinal cells located in the macula (part of the retina that provides clear central vision) eventually leads to blindness, with age-related macular degeneration being the main cause of vision loss currently developed in modern society.
Latest research and studies on macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is a condition that has been studied for decades, and it’s impossible to discuss it without mentioning the “Age-Related Eye Disease Studies” (AREDS and AREDS2), which is the main group of clinical trials conducted worldwide, supported by the National Eye Institute.
Vitamins for the reduction of macular degeneration
According to studies carried out by AREDS 2 researchers for more than 10 years, the main vitamins associated with the reduction of age-related macular degeneration are:
Key nutrients to prevent macular degeneration
The nutrients that can be used to prevent or cope with macular degeneration, which, once it has started, cannot be cured, with treatment only slowing down degeneration, are:
- Vitamins: Present in fruits and vegetables, as well as in nuts, meats, fish and cereals; the less processed, better.
- Carotenoids: Present in vegetables such as carrots or tomatoes.
- Minerals: Provided by whole foods, similar to vitamins. You can also find them, like vitamins, in fortified food preparations (mainly dairy and commercial breakfast cereals).
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Fundamentally present, and in significant quantities, in oily fish and some species of algae such as Schizochytrium.
- Anthocyanins: Natural compounds of a phenolic nature, mainly present in berries (such as blueberries, cranberries or blackberries).
In general, nutrients that possess antioxidant activity, especially when this activity is catching reactive oxygen species, have the potential to contribute to slowing the development of AMD.
This is because stressors such as pollutants, tobacco, alcohol consumption or the systematic performance of intense physical exercise contribute to generate highly reactive compounds that can oxidise the constituents of the membranes of our retinas, leading to their death, and therefore to the beginning of macular degeneration.
When these negative habits are maintained uncontrolled over extended periods of time, symptoms associated with damage to the structures of the eye appear, and alterations of the retina can be seen in the clinic.
Eye care tips
The diet should be balanced and adequate: prioritising whole foods over those with a higher degree of processing (Yuka is a tool, available on most mobile devices, useful for assessing the degree of processing of a food).
And this should include daily fruits and vegetables, dairy products and enough liquid, avoiding excessive intake of sugars and fats that can contribute to excessive weight gain, which is also a stressor.
Adequate ocular lubrication: spending several hours in front of screens reduces the amount you blink, leading to dry eyes (and therefore redness, pain and reflex tearing). We recommend using eye drops as a lubricant.
Appropriate glasses for physical activity: use sunglasses with approved sun protection to protect you from potential trauma and/or damage caused by environmental factors (wind, chlorine in the water, dust or sand).
Relax your eyes: it’s a good idea to take your eyes off the object in focus every 15-20 minutes, for about 10-15 seconds.
Supplements for macular degeneration
There are many formulas for macular degeneration supplements on the market, all of which are composed of the nutrients listed above, based on compounds with high antioxidant capacities that may contribute to the management of age-related oxidative damage.
The formula of the AREDS 2 study product, which has demonstrated the ability to reduce the risk of progression in age-related macular degeneration by up to 26%, is:
- Vitamin C: 500 mg
- Vitamin E: 400 IU.
- Copper (copper oxide): 2 mg.
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin: 10 and 2 mg.
- Zinc: 80 mg.
The dose of zinc exceeds the daily intake limit for use as a dietary supplement in the European Union, so before using zinc at these doses, you should consult a doctor who can validate the safe use of such amounts of zinc.
Copper is not used because it has direct mechanisms to attenuate age-related macular degeneration, but to prevent copper depletion induced by the consumption of high amounts of supplemental zinc.
The initial AREDS study used 15 mg of Beta-Carotene, but didn’t use lutein or zeaxanthin, which are also shown to be effective supplements for macular degeneration. In AREDS 2, they were included instead of Beta-Carotene, after verifying that they were more effective and safe in the long term.
- Chew EY, Clemons TE, Agrón E, et al. Long-term Outcomes of Adding Lutein/Zeaxanthin and ω-3 Fatty Acids to the AREDS Supplements on Age-Related Macular Degeneration Progression: AREDS2 Report 28. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online June 02, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2022.1640
- More tips on how to take care of your eye health.
- Do you know about these benefits of Lutein?
- 6 Betacarotene Properties that you might want to know: go to Post.