9 Supplements to Improve Eye Health

I wish to know if taking zinc supplements is good for the health of my eyes. Do you have any information on that particular subject. It would be appreciated.

Yes, zinc is a mineral that has been shown to help eye health. Zinc is an important component of both the macula and retina in the eye. It is absolutely necessary for the health of the eye as a direct relationship between zinc intake and eye health has been documented.

This may be due to the fact that zinc helps to maintain vitamin E levels in the blood and, particularly important for eye health, helps with the absorption of vitamin A.

Here are a few other supplementable nutrients that contribute to eye health:

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – ALA is a fatty acid that naturally inhabits every cell of the body and helps with energy production. ALA also acts as a powerful antioxidant and also helps by recycling other antioxidants like vitamin C and glutathione. It is in this antioxidant capacity that it helps the eyes, protecting them from free radical damage. ALA has been suggested for cataracts and glaucoma, although more thorough research is required to determine ALA’s effectiveness for these conditions.

L-Taurine – Taurine is an amino acid, the building blocks of protein. It is an important component of the nervous system including the eyes. It helps to regulate heartbeat,is a natural detoxifier and is important for brain function. It helps to protect the eyes from UV radiation from the sun and helps to strengthen the cells of the retina.

Lycopene – Since your eyes are constantly bombarded with free-radical forming radiation from light, antioxidants are important for maintaining eye health. Lycopene is a strong antioxidant found in tomatoes, watermelons papaya, rosehips, pink grapefruit or guava.

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) – NAC is a form of the sulphur-containing amino acid cysteine and is a precursor to the brain neurotransmitter glutamate. NAC has been found to be helpful to those with chronic posterior blepharitis[http://bastyrcenter.org/content/view/776/], a relatively common condition which causes inflammation of the inner eyelid. If you suffer from burning sensation of the eyes, excessive tearing or dryness, itching, or eye redness you may benefit from NAC supplementation. NAC also acts as an antioxidant, protecting the eyes from damage by UV light and has the bonus effect of strengthening the immune system.

Quercetin – Quercetin is a strong antioxidant that helps maintain lens transparency. It also shows promise in research on cataract prevention.

Vitamin C – In the Blue Mountain Eye Health Study after ten years, people who had the highest vitamin C intake from diet and supplements had a significantly reduced risk of cataracts when compared to those who consumed less vitamin C. Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties also help resist damage to the eyes by oxidation.

Lutein – Lutein is a carotenoid phytonutrient (the same family as beta carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body) that has been found in studies to prevent, and to a certain extent reverse[http://bastyrcenter.org/content/view/779/], certain types of vision loss. Those who have age related macular degeneration in their family should consider supplementing lutein as a preventative measure.

Zeaxanthin – Zeaxanthin is like lutein’s partner – both are antioxidant carotenoid phytonutrients found to be beneficial for vision. Both are found in high concentrations in the eye and are thought to act as a sheild from UVB radiation and free radicals. Women with diets high in lutein and zeaxanthin have been found to be 22% less likely to get cataracts while men were 19% less likely.

Zinc – As mentioned in the introduction, zinc helps support macula and retina health. Zinc plays a supporting role in the function for vitamin E and helps with absorption of vitamin A; two nutrients necessary for proper eye health.

If you are concerned about failing vision or you just think your eyes could be in better health, you may want to start supplementing with these nutrients. Herbal medicine also offers a wide array of herbs that are good for eye health and disease prevention.

The Healthy Foodie is Doug DiPasquale, Holistic Nutritionist and trained chef, living in Toronto.