Macular Degeneration Prevention

by Brenda Gill, ND
Source: HANS e-News - May 15, 2009

The macula is a portion of the retina in the back of the eye that is responsible for fine vision. Degeneration of the macula is the leading cause of severe visual loss in persons 55 years or older. This is a result of free radical damage similar to the type of damage that induces cataracts. The risk factors include aging, smoking atherosclerosis and hypertension. 

Nutrients and herbs that may be helpful are:

Anthocyanidins - These are constituents that act as antioxidants. The strongest are found in bilberry extracts and ginkgo biloba. These plant extracts are more potent in their antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity than any other nutritional antioxidant. They also are more specific to the eye. Bilberry is also used for poor day and night vision, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It also reinforces the collagen structures of the retina. Ginkgo is also used for insufficient blood flow to the brain. It helps prevent lack of oxygen and free radical damage to the retina and macula.

Vitamin C/vitamin E/selenium/zinc/beta-carotene are all antioxidants. Therefore, these are all important to have in the diet or as a supplement to minimize damage to the eye by free-radicals.

Lutein -  This is another specific antioxidant, a type of carotenoid. These are found in high concentrations in kale, spinach and chard. They are also specific to the eye ad protect the retina from damage, especially from sunlight.

Foods - Avoid rancid foods and other sources of free radicals, such as deep fried foods. Increase legumes such as pinto, black, kidney, aduki and mung beans. These are high in sulphur-containing amino acids that decrease damage. Also, include veggies rich in carotenoids such as yellow veggies/red peppers/carrots. Of course, flavinoid-rich berries, such as cherries,blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries, are important to have as part of your food intake. 

Water - As always, make sure you are flushing those free radicals through the system with 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water. 

The Natural Path Clinic - "The way To Wellness"
Dr. Brenda Gill 1995 Columbia Ave., Suite 1,  Rossland, B.C., V0G 1Y0 (250)362-5035
601 Lake St.  Nelson, B.C., V1L 4C7 (250)352-3150

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