- Eyes are an extension of the brain (1)
- Eye health is highly connected to overall health
- Conditions that affect the eye include eye strain, glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration
The eyes are functional organs that maintain the sleep-wake cycle, facilitate safety and make life much more enjoyable.
Those little passageways into the world of visible electromagnetic radiation (light waves that influence vision) are highly complex, extremely evolved parts of the brain.
Though their full complexity is not completely understood, it can be appreciated and respected.
Our eyes can suffer from many conditions including eye strain, glaucome, cataracts and macular degeneration (2).
Additionally, some chronic conditions can affect eye health significantly. Conditions that affect vascular health including hypertension (increase in blood pressure) and diabetes (increase in blood sugar) can significantly impact vision (3,4).
Ensuring overall health may be the best way to insure optimal eye health, however, there are some natural compounds that can ensure optimal eye health and delay degeneration.
- There are three neurological structures in the brain with photoreceptors (5,6)
- Build up of toxic metabolites directly impacts eye health and functionality (7)
- Detoxifies the fluid of the inner eyes
- Maintains fluid outflow in glaucoma
- Insures lens transparency (8)
The eyes are a very active component of the brain. They are always active and responding to the visual stimuli (5). Any organ that is very active is in danger of a buildup of toxic metabolites.
The buildup of toxic metabolites can impede healthy function and make the organ less effective at carrying duty.
One of the best natural detoxifying agents in the body is glutathione (7),
Glutathione is a chemical that breaks down the metabolites. It is produced by all living cells, though glutathione is usually associated with liver detoxes.
The problem with glutathione is that it has very poor bioavailability which means that even if it is introduced in the body, it is poorly absorbed (9).
Studies show that glutathione plays a positive role in conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal disease and diabetic blindness (10, 11).
Glutatione’s poor absorption is mitigated by giving the body its precursor n-acetyl cysteine (NAC).
NAC is a sulfur rich amino acid that can boost the natural production of glutathione (13).
Practice Prevention, Now!
- Seniors with optimal eye health were demonstrated to have higher lutein levels (20)
- Retinal pigments are also antioxidants and have overall health benefits independent of their benefits to the eye (19, 20, 21, 22)
Macular degeneration is a diagnosis no one wants to hear. The prognosis of macular degeneration is always viewed poorly.
The failure in central vision, those holes that progress at an unexpected rate can make life a long journey of loss anticipation.
Often patients ask heartbreaking questions like: “will I be able to see my grandchildren? Or will I be completely blind by then”.
Visual changes can be harsh realities that seem almost impossible to escape.
Surprisingly there is some evidence that supplementing with pigments like lutins, zeaxanthin and astaxanthin can significantly delay the progression of macular degeneration.
Even more shockingly, there are studies that show an improvement of visual acuity upon a simple increase in the intake of dark leafy greens (19, 20, 21, 22).
Older adults with normal lutein and zeaxanthin levels tend to have the visual acuity of 20 year old's (20).
Important Note: The pigments that are responsible for maintaining the dark velvety backdrop of the eye are functional anti-oxidants which means that they play a role in protecting many other components of vision including cataract prevention, preventing lense clouding, assisting with eye pressure maintenance and helping with optic nerve problems.
Other Natural Eye Health Components Worth Mentioning
Evidence shows that Vitamin C is protective against cataracts (45% protection) (23)
Bioflavonoids increase the strength of eye blood vessels (24)
How to Choose The Best Eye Support Supplement?
Eye supplements are only as potent as their protective pill casing allows them to be.
As most eye support supplements are made with high amounts of antioxidant pigments, it is important to make sure that the encapsulation method preserves the antioxidant capacity of the formula.
Many eye health supplements are found to be less potent after just months of sitting on the shelf.
The best eye health supplements have the following features:
- Dissolved in oil for best absorbability
- Oil encapsulations also protect anti-oxidants from air and moisture reactability
- A supplement with significant amounts of all 3 major antioxidant pigments
Anyone with a chronic disease that may affect blood vessels (high blood pressure, high blood sugar or high cholesterol) would do best with an eye supplement that contains vascular support like bilberry
Who Needs an Eye Supplement?
- High screen exposure
- Protect eye from light
- Protect sleep-wake cycle
- Age related eye diseases
- Macular degeneration
- High light exposure
- Protect eye from fatigue
- Maintain optimal vision
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