Vision Improved in Macular Degeneration Patients with Nutrition

peas contain important nutrientsA new study published in the November 2011 Journal of Optometry confirms improved vision in elderly patients with early Macular Degeneration through nutritional supplementation with Zeaxanthin (a carotenoid in the family of lutein).

The Zeaxanthin and Visual Function Study (ZVF), conducted by eye nutrition pioneer Stuart Richer, PhD, OD at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Chicago, shows scientific evidence that dietary Zeaxanthin improved vision in night driving and fine detail, among others.

The study was conducted over a 12 month period with elderly veterans with macular degeneration. The daily dosage given was 8 mg of Zeaxanthin. The results included showed improvement in the ability to drive at night, recognition of fine detail – an average improvement of 1.5 lines or 8.5 letters on an eye chart, and the disappearance of blind spots. Some of the people were given 9 mg of lutein per day as well.

Zeaxanthin and lutein are two carotenoids (part of a family of antioxidants that give fruits and vegetables their color) found in the retina in a 2:1 ration (and lens of the eyes). Zeaxanthin specifically protects the cones, or photoreceptors responsible for central vision, color perception, and fine detail. Zeaxanthin is scarce in the average U.S. daily diet, making it difficult to maintain healthy macular pigment levels to protect and enhance vision.

Natural Zeaxanthin (pronounced zee-uh-zan’-thin) supplements can be made from the spice paprika. Synthetic zeaxanthin can be made in a laboratory or factory. We get zeaxanthin mostly from plant sources in our diet. Good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include spinach, tangerines, goji berry, turnip greens, kale, collards, lettuce (romaine), zucchini, broccoli, corn, kiwi, green peas, pumpkin seed oil, Brussels sprouts, oranges, and chard (Swiss). Eggs also contain these nutrients. However, the Standard American Diet (SAD) is dismally low in most of these foods and therefore, supplementation of zeaxanthin and lutein may important to receive sufficient amounts of these nutrients.

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