Cataracts – what’s new?

Cataracts can not only be prevented, but can even be reversed through nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle changes. Read what folks who’ve tried these methods say about products that help cataracts and learn about products to support lens health.

Cataracts – once considered an inevitability for the elderly and sometimes not-so-elderly, redeemable only by surgery. There’s been quite a bit of interesting new research in the last several years pointing to the alternatives and effects of different modes of living that have an impact.

1. 2008 – An observational 10-year study of more than 35,000 middle-aged U.S. women observed the women’s use of dietary supplements and occurrence of cataracts – further verifying that lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin E were significantly helpful. 

2. 2006 – Two studies show significant reductions in cataracts for those in the highest percentage of vitamin C & bioflavanoids intake.

3. 2007 – Dietary linolenic acid (think flaxseed oil, fish oil) intake is positively associated with five-year change in eye lens nuclear density (think cataracts!). 

Causes?

 

  • Free radicals are responsible for most cataracts. They are natural byproducts of metabolism. These highly reactive chemicals cause oxidation, which in turn causes aging. As the lens of the eye ages, it hardens and loses its ability to focus. This process is similar to hardening of the arteries, and is often associated with changes in the joints.
  • Chronic physical stress such as dental problems, physical injury to the vertebrae or neck, or any stress that reduces eye movement and increases muscle tension.
  • Food Allergies or sensitivities, particularly involving dairy products, wheat and/or soy can congest the sinuses, impairing lymphatic and veinous drainage, resulting in decreased nutrition to the eyes.
  • Toxins, pharmaceutical drug side effects, such as steroid drugs, or photosensitizing drugs such as gout medications, cholesterol lowering drugs, antibiotics and diuretics.
  • Smoking – the risk in ex-smokers is 50 percent higher compared to non smokers. Each cigarette also robs the body of 25 mg of vitamin C. Smokers have an increase in lipids (both fat and cholesterol) which increase the risk of severe cardiovascular disease. These factors produce narrowing of the retina blood vessels that carry valuable nutrients to the eye.
  • Diabetes and other diseases that affect multiple areas of the body such as hypertension, arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. Diabetics develop cataracts at an earlier age than non- diabetics. An accumulation of sorbitol and fructose in the lens can induce osmotic swelling of the lens, which will lead to the development of a cataract.
  • Poor nutrition and digestion. Nutritional deficiencies, such as in poor areas of Third World countries, can cause cataracts to develop early and progress faster. In every part of the world, people with poor digestion and chronic bowel problems have a fourfold higher incidence of cataracts.
  • Heredity
  • Aging of the Eyes – hardening of the lens occurs as we age.
  • Sunlight – invisible ultraviolet light (UV light) which is one of the light frequencies of sunlight promotes free-radical damage to the lens. The effects of UV light are cumulative over time.
  • Alcoholic Consumption – High intake of alcohol more than doubles the risk of developing cataracts. More than 7 drinks per week will increase the risk, while moderate use does not seem to increase the risk.
  • Too much Vitamin B2 aggrevates – Those with Cataracts should not use supplemental Vitamin B2. Vitamin B2 is a photosensitizing substance – experimental studies have shown that when Vitamin B2 is exposed to Visible Light, Cataracts can occur (or be exacerbated) as a result of the generation of Free Radicals from the interaction of Visible Light, Oxygen and Vitamin B2. This indicates that in persons afflicted with Cataracts, excessive Vitamin B2 is more harmful than beneficial. .