Alzheimer’s Disease, Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration: New Research

lifestyle choices such as exercise have an influence on senior healthNew research studies have found strong relationships between lifestyle and the aging brain. How can you help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia? The eye’s retina is brain tissue. Not surprisingly, researchers have found connections between Alzheimer’s Disease, glaucoma, and lifestyle. What does the new research show? Are nutrition, supplements, exercise, and smoking avoidance shown to help?

What Are The Chances?

By the age of 65, 10% of seniors have Alzheimer’s Disease. Every five years, the risk doubles. Instead of waiting for any type of dementia to strike, you can take steps right now!

Alzheimer’s Disease is a complex brain disease. Amyloid-beta plaque builds up in the brain. Early symptoms include memory loss, impaired judgment, disorientation, losing items, and personality changes. Later, the brain is fully impaired, resulting in the need for caregivers. Multiple systems in the brain break down, including:

  • Brain cells die as a result of oxidative stress and poor functioning of the mitochondria
  • Brain toxins are not eliminated properly
  • Lack of antioxidants
  • A compromised blood-brain barrier allows unwanted substances to leak into the brain.

However, you can repair and rebuild brain cells naturally. The research shows that lifestyle can either help or harm the brain. Likewise, scientists have found ways to reduce the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque.

Link Between Alzheimer’s Disease, Glaucoma and Vision Loss and Dementia

Recent research has linked dementia to three eye diseases. Scientists examined macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetes-related eye disease. One study followed nearly half a million seniors over 10 years. Having cataracts is associated with a significantly increased risk of developing dementia.1 The study’s authors concluded that cataracts are associated with the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. This includes Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.2

Another study looked at seniors over eight years. It found that, as older adults’ vision worsened, their risk of dementia increased.3

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is driven by oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction. These problems can be caused by a lack of available essential nutrients getting to the retina. Macular drusen is a damaging substance that builds up in the retina of macular degeneration patients. Made from lipids and calcium, drusen is similar to amyloid-beta plaque. Drusen is the build-up of normally-occurring waste. A healthy eye fully reabsorbs drusen. However, in dry AMD, the drusen does not get reabsorbed entirely. The waste products settle on the retina, causing gradual loss of vision. If the disease progresses, the eyes desperately try to get more nutrients by growing new blood vessels in the retina. The blood vessels obscure vision even faster, potentially causing significant vision loss if left untreated.

Lifestyle Underlies Eye and Brain Disease

In the research, certain lifestyle factors are often linked to age-related eye diseases and dementia. These factors include:

  • bad nutrition
  • poor absorption of nutrients
  • lack of nutrients that target the eyes
  • smoking
  • poor circulation
  • lack of exercise
  • environmental toxins
  • chronic stress

Essential Nutrients for AMD and Retinal Support: Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Meso-Zeaxanthin, Astaxanthin, Taurine, Bilberry, Gingko Biloba, Melatonin, Saffron, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, whole food multivitamin.

Dementia and Smoking

Smokers have a higher risk of getting dementia. Their risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease is 79% higher than non-smokers.4 Smoking is associated with higher levels of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction.5

Nutrition and Diet

The brains of Alzheimer’s patients are deficient in lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and vitamin E. They have half the amount of these nutrients compared to healthy brains.6 More lutein and zeaxanthinin the diet are strongly linked to better cognitive functioning and a lower risk for dementia.

Alzheimer brains were also lacking in glutathione. Glutathione is a key antioxidant. The brain has more glutathione than any other type of antioxidant. Studies have found glutathione to be significantly deficient in the brains of Alzheimer’s Disease patients.7

Cognitive Interventions

Lifelong learning is associated with better cognitive health. Keeping your mind active during mid- or late-life can delay the onset of cognitive impairment. 8

Social Activity and Health

Social isolation is a risk factor not only for dementia but also for hypertension, coronary heart disease, and depression.9 Low social participation, fewer social contacts, and more loneliness have all been associated with increased dementia risk.10


Glaucoma is a multi-faceted disease. Many systems malfunction, leading to optic nerve damage. The damage is often caused by oxidative stress, inflammation, reactive gliosis, and apoptosis (cell death). 11 12 Of all the factors affecting age-related eye disease, nutrition is one of the largest influences on oxidative stress and inflammation. Low levels of antioxidants in the body and eye are associated with glaucoma, plus more serious visual field loss.13 Clinical studies have shown a strong relationship between low levels of antioxidants in the blood and open-angle glaucoma. 14

Essential nutrients for optic nerve support: Taurine, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, CoQ10, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Ginkgo Biloba, Bilberry, Magnesium, Saffron (helps prevent ganglion death 15)

Nutrients for a Healthy Brain

The brain is nutrient-hungry.16 Keeping the brain healthy as you age requires good nutrition, starting with food. We recommend the Vision Diet, which is based on the Mediterranean Diet. However, you absorb nutrients less efficiently as you age. Therefore, supplements may help boost brain power.

Most nutrients supporting the retina and optic nerves can pass through the blood-brain barrier. They are needed in the brain to support brain function and overall health.

Essential Nutrients for Brain Health include: Glutathione, Ashwagandha (root), Taurine, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, COQ10, Gingko Biloba, Phosphatidylserine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Blueberry Extract (fruit) or Bilbery, (as choline bitartrate), Tumeric, Huperzine-A, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Lion’s Mane Mushroom Extract (fruit), Bacopa Extract (whole herb), Rhodiola rosea Extract (root), N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, Pomegranate Extract (fruit), PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone), Pine Bark Extract (bark).


The new research on the aging brain supports past studies. Age-related eye disease and brain disease have common underlying factors. You can fight age-related diseases with a healthy diet, exercise, smoking avoidance, and targeted supplements.

Suggested Supplements

Advanced Eye & Vision Support Formula (whole food) 60 vcaps

Dr. Grossman’s Meso Plus Retinal Support and Computer Eye Strain Formula with Astaxanthin 90 vcaps

Dr. Grossman’s Advanced Eye and Dr. G’s Whole Food Superfood Multi1 20 Vcap Combo – 2 months supply

OmegaGenics™ EPA-DHA 720 Lemon 120 gels

Dr. Grossman’s Premium Turmeric Vcaps (Organic)

Brain and Memory Power Boost 120 caps

Cognirev Extra Strength 2 oz Oral Spray


Brain and Memory Support Package 1

AMD Package 1 (3-month supply)

Recommended Books

Natural Eye Care: Your Guide to Healthy Vision and Healing

Natural Brain Support: Your Guide to Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Other Related Diseases Naturally

Natural Parkinson’s Support: Your Guide to Preventing and Managing Parkinson’s

  1. Shang X, Zhu Z, Huang Y, et al. Associations of ophthalmic and systemic conditions with incident dementia in the UK Biobank. Br J Ophthalmol 2021 Sep13
  2. Luping W, Bowen S, Zheng Z. (2023) The risk of dementia or cognitive impairment in patients with cataracts: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Aging and Mental Health, DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2023.2226616.
  3. Huang AR, Jiang K, Lin F, et al. Hearing loss and dementia prevalence in older adults in the US. JAMA. 2023;329(2):171-173.
  4. Barnes DE, Yaffe K (2011) The projected effect of risk factor reduction on Alzheimer’s disease prevalence. Lancet Neurol 10, 819-828.
  5. Anstey KJ, von Sanden C, Salim A et al. (2007) Smoking as a risk factor for dementia and cognitive decline: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. AM J Epidemiol 166, 367-378.
  6. Dorey CK, Gierhart D, Fitch KA et al. Low xanthophylls, retinol, lycopene, and tocopherols in grey and white matter of brains with Alzheimer’s disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2023;94(1):1-17.
  7. Pocernich CB, Butterfield DA. Elevation of glutathione as a therapeutic strategy in Alzheimer disease. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 May;1822(5):625-30. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2011.10.003. Epub 2011 Oct 12. PMID: 22015471; PMCID: PMC3277671.
  8. Langballe EM, Ask H, Holmen J et al. (2015) Alcohol consumption and risk of dementia up to 27 years later in a large, population-based sample: the HUNT study, Norway, Eur J Epidemiol 30, 1049-1056.
  9. Willis SL et al. (2006) Long-term effects of cognitive training on everyday functional outcomes in older adults: The ACTIVE Study. Journal of the American Medical Association, 296:2805-2814.
  10. Livingston G, Sommerlad A, Ortega V et al. (2017) Dementia prevention, intervention, and care. Lancet.
  11. Mazaffarieh M, Grieshaber MC, Orgul S et al. The potential value of natural antioxidant treatment in glaucoma. Surv Ophthalmol 2008; 53:479-505.
  12. Wax MB, Tezel G. Immunoregulation of retinal ganglion cell fate in glaucoma. Exp Eye Res 2009; 88: 825-830.
  13. Tanito M, Kaidzu S, Takai Y et al. Association between systemic oxidative stress and visual field damage in open-angle glaucoma. Sci Rep 2016; 6: 25792.
  14. Yoo TK, Oh E, Hong S. Is vitamin D status associated with open-angle glaucoma? A cross-sectional study from South Korea. Public Health Nutr 2014; 17: 833-843.
  15. Fernandez-Albarral J. Saffron benefits for eye diseases. Acta Ophthalmologica 20 December 2022. Volume 10, issue S275.
  16. Gómez-Pinilla F. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 Jul;9(7):568-78. doi: 10.1038/nrn2421. PMID: 18568016; PMCID: PMC2805706.