Top 6 Supplements for Improving Your Eyesight
For everything from boosting brain power to weight loss, dietary supplements are popularly consumed as a remedy for a number of health issues. While not all have been adequately studied, there is a good deal of research to back up taking certain supplements to protect eye health.
A number of conditions can affect eye health and vision, including astigmatism, near-sightedness, far-sightedness, cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Since oxidative stress is implicated in many of these conditions, antioxidants are often the common denominator in many eye supplements. Take a look at six antioxidant-rich supplements for superior sight.
This member of the Vaccinium family of herbs is native to North America and Europe. A rich source of antioxidants, bilberry is said to be helpful for diabetes and improvement of vision. It is a rich source of anthocyanin which is said to protect blood vessels from damage due to an overabundance of blood sugar.
Bilberry also contains a particular bioflavonoid that helps to restore rhodopsin, a purple pigment important to rods in the eyes. During World War II, British pilots consumed bilberry jam to enhance night vision during evening maneuvers.
Vitally important to healthy vision, lutein and another carotenoid, zeaxanthin, form a protective yellow pigment in the retina of the eye. This protection lowers risks for cataracts and macular degeneration. In fact, low lutein consumption has been found to be a risk factor for age-related macular degeneration. Lutein can be found in spinach, tomatoes, squash, carrots, and it is also available as a supplement.
It has been suggested that certain types of disease, including some types of eye disease, can be prevented with a mixture of dietary carotenoids, one of which is lutein. The other carotenoids are astaxanthin, beta-carotene, lycopene and zeaxanthin. The benefits to the eyes and other parts of the body are derived from the potent antioxidants found in this healthful mixture. Because it has the ability to convert to vitamin A, beta-carotene may add even further health benefits to the group.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
It has been recently found that riboflavin or vitamin B2 can be helpful in the treatment of a certain eye disease, but not in the way that one might think. Keratoconus is a degenerative eye disease that can distort vision by causing structural changes within the cornea, making it cone-shaped.
Collagen crosslinking is a process in which riboflavin is directly applied to the cornea and then exposed to a type of ultraviolet light. This causes the collagen fibers to regenerate, boosting the strength of the cornea. The treatment has been found to restore vision and reduce chances for recurrence of the disease.
Because vitamin C aids in building collagen and bolstering capillaries, it is currently used to preserve collagen levels in the eyes and in the prevention and treatment of glaucoma. It has also been shown to help retain shape in the cornea, fight infection in the eye and prevent cataracts caused by oxidative stress and UV radiation. Good sources of vitamin C are fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits and bell peppers, and it can be taken as a supplement in chewable and non-chewable forms.
Potent antioxidants found in vitamin E help protect the eyes from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. In fact, one study found that vitamin E can reduce chances for developing cataracts by 50 percent. Another study showed that paired together, vitamins E and C can help protect eyes from ultra-violet radiation. Vitamin E can be found in wheat germ, asparagus, avocados, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes and yams. It can also be taken as a supplement.
To ensure healthy eyes, superior sight and overall good health, start with a nutritious diet. For added measure, control your blood pressure and get your eyes checked on a regular basis. Also, incorporate the six supplements listed above when a healthy diet is not enough.