Most people have a brief understanding that what you eat can have an impact on vision. It is common knowledge that carrots are good for your eyes. But can taking minerals and vitamins help to improve vision and overall eye health?
What do scientists say?
Although many claims have been made, there is actually very little evidence that shows the positive effects that supplements can have on either vision or general eye health.
However, an Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), which was carried out by the National Eye Institute, found that there are some supplement formulations that are able to lower the requirement for cataract surgery. What the study did conclude was that, although there are some benefits to using eye drop supplements, they do not work on everyone.
Further research is therefore needed into this subject matter so that scientists can better understand the link between eye health and supplement use.
The best supplements for eye health
It is commonly believed that the following supplements are most beneficial for improving the eye health of some individuals. These are the ones that were highlighted in AREDS.
· Vitamin C – As well as the AREDS, several other large scale medical studies have shown that vitamin C consumption can reduce the risk of certain types of cataracts from forming. The same studies also found that taking vitamin C as a combination with vitamin E helps to lower the threat of cataracts, whilst also slowing their progression. One of our favorite products is NOW’s Vitamin C Crystals.
· Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – This vitamin is vital in keeping eyes in good health. Evidence shows that vitamin B1, when taken with other vitamins, can reduce the risk of cataracts developing. It also works to reduce inflammation. There is also some evidence to suggest that it may be effective in treating an inflammatory condition in the eye called uveitis, which can lead to blindness. One of our favorite products that contains vitamin B1 is Montiff’s Vita- Minz Plus capsules.
· Zinc – This nutrient is naturally occurring within the eye and is a highly powerful antioxidant that is able to protect cells from damage. It was one of the most effective supplements from the AREDS. When it is taken the absorption of copper is lessened so it is advisable to take Zinc in combination with a copper supplement. One of our favorite products is Carlson Labs’ Chelated Zinc tablets.
· Omega 3 fatty acids – Most American diets are lacking in Omega 3 fatty acids. The photoreceptor cells within the retina contain large amounts of this substance. It is believed that Omega 3 fatty acids can contribute to the development of cells in the retina. Further to this, it also plays a role in the reduction of inflammation. One of our favorite products is Barlean’s Total Omega 3-6-9 Orange Cream.
· Lutein and Zeaxanthin – These are both carotenoids, which are pigments found inside the retina. Supplementing them can increase their abundance within the retina. They also absorb harmful VU light.