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Vision supplements

Vision Team – Eyesight Supplements

Recently, in the e-Alert “Magic Time” (7/24/06), I told you about an Australian study that examined vision health and fish consumption in more than 2,300 middle-aged and elderly subjects. Results showed that risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) was reduced by 70 percent among subjects who regularly ate three or more servings of fish each week.

A new study reveals that steady intake of lutein and zeaxanthin (antioxidant-rich plant pigments) might reduce AMD risk even further. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50.

In the August 2006 issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, researchers at the University of Wisconsin report on a study in which they recruited more than 1,700 women over the age of 50 in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study.


  • A food frequency questionnaire was used to evaluate nutrient intake over a period of 15 years prior to the study
  • Specialized retinal photography was used to determine development of AMD
  • Risk of intermediate stage AMD was 43 percent lower among women under the age of 75 who had high and stable intake of both lutein and zeaxanthin, compared to women with the lowest intake of the carotenoids
  • Risk of late stage AMD was 74 percent lower among women under the age of 75 who had high and stable intake of both lutein and zeaxanthin
  • No risk reduction was observed in women over the age of 75 who regularly consumed high levels of the two carotenoids

Quick review

In the e-Alert “Sight for Sore Eyes” (8/4/04), I told you about two studies that revealed a further benefit of lutein. The studies concluded that the nutrient may not only help prevent AMD, but may also help improve visual function for those with early and even advanced AMD.

Leafy green vegetables are the best sources of lutein. Zeaxanthin is plentiful in yellow corn, orange pepper, squash, mango, honeydew, broccoli and egg yolks.

For those who develop AMD, vision loss might be inhibited when lutein is combined with other nutrients. In the e-Alert “Feast You Eyes” (9/5/02), I told you about a National Eye Institute (NEI) study in which researchers tracked nearly 3,600 participants between the ages of 55 and 80 for more than eight years to examine the effect of antioxidant supplement intake on AMD. Results showed that when administered in the early stage of AMD, certain supplements significantly reduced predicted vision loss.

The NEI team recommended that anyone at risk of developing AMD should consider taking these supplements daily, in the same amounts used in the study:

  • Vitamin C – 500 mg
  • Vitamin E – 400 IU
  • Beta-Carotene – 15 mg
  • Zinc (as zinc oxide) – 80 mg
  • Copper (as cupric oxide) – 2 mg

Talk to your doctor about AMD and supplement intake before adding new supplements to your daily regimen.