Three Nutrients That Protect Against Vision Loss

Three Nutrients That Protect Against Vision Loss

Cebu : Philippines | Mar 29, 2012 at 12:32 AM PDT
Views: Pending
Lucentis, a drug against the eye disease macular degeneration, was approved in China

Skooter reporting 03/29/12

Over 10 million Americans has been affected by this serious disease we call Macular degeneration and most of whom are 55 and older. In reality this eye disease affects more people than glaucoma and cataracts combined. From the moment we wake up to the time we sleep, sight is with us. Sight is something people depend on in their daily lives. We can’t deny the fact that as we get older, our eyesight begins to wane. In recent years, researchers have made efforts to slow down this loss of sight and are continually seeking for other cures that could overcome macular degeneration.

Researchers are looking for a simple, safe cure and without side effects for this eye disease. We’re happy to learn then that there’s a new study that has been found. Based on the study of a team of scientists from the Netherlands, people with a genetic vulnerability to macular degeneration could reduce their risk of acquiring the disease by as much as one-third.

In the developed countries, it was noted that age-related macular degeneration accounts for half of all cases of blindness. In the United States for example, for every 100 adults over age 40, the condition is prevalence in more than six. Despite treating patients with medications and surgery, none of these remedies can cure the disease.

I know you are eager to ask this question. Who is liable to get macular degeneration? As Dr. Victor Marchione told me, there are at least two gene distinctions known to increase a person's risk for developing the condition compared to the general population. One of the variants (called "CFH") boosts a person's odds of macular degeneration up to 11-fold and another (called "LOC387715S") inflates them by up to 15-fold.

For their study, the researchers get started to find out whether these especially vulnerable people might reduce their risk. They looked into the eating habits of more than 2,000 participants over the age of 55. All were evaluated for the macular degeneration susceptibility genes. For the next 10 years, they performed eye exams every three years to all participants to determine who experienced vision loss.

The result of the study shows that among people with the CFH variation, greater amounts of zinc, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids and/or lutein/zeaxanthin in the diet were associated to a smaller risk of macular degeneration. How much smaller was the risk? Dr. Marchione provides us these statistics: 39 out of every 100 people who ate the lowest amounts of omega-3 fats (about 22 milligrams per day) developed vision loss. Contrast this with only 28 out of every 100 people who ate the largest amounts of omega-3s 268 mg per day) who ended up experiencing vision loss. For those who had the genetic variation, reduced risk of vision loss was seen among 25% of people who ate 11.85 mg per day of zinc, compared to 33% of people who ate just 7.5 mg per day.

Finally, Dr. Marchione is kind enough to give us some health advice: boost your diet with zinc, omega-3s and lutein and zeaxanthin. Good sources for zinc include these healing foods: oysters; red meat; nuts; and beans. Oily fish are some of the best food sources for omega-3 fats. Lutein and zeaxanthin are abundant in eggs and green leafy vegetables.

One thing sure you can depend on Dr. Marchione’s health advice. I have these healing foods mentioned above in my daily diet. Although my eye-sight is not anymore 20/20, but at least I’m free from this deadly eye disease called macular degeneration. What I mean is, keep yourself protected.

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eye disease
Picture of the fundus showing intermediate age-related macular degeneration.
skooter is based in Cebu, Central Visayas, Philippines, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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