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Supplements for Improved Eye Health

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Our eyes are considered one of our most valuable body parts, often described as the “window to the soul”. But eye health can often be overlooked, so to speak, in our busy lives. As we age, our vision declines, and in today’s screen-heavy times, blue light may hasten eye problems. Supplements such as lutein and zeaxanthin have popularly been used to help keep eyes strong. Addressing blue light exposure has become a new focus for the supplement industry. Blends that include superfruits, vitamins and minerals are specially formulated to reduce eye strain and stress. This article discusses lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation as well as lifestyle changes that can positively affect the health and longevity of your eyes.

Lutein and zeaxanthin. These are carotenoids found commonly in vegetables and other plants, giving them their yellow or reddish hue. Everyone has heard that carrots are good for your eyes, but orange peppers, eggs and corn are also foods that contain high levels of both carotenoids. Lutein and zeaxanthin are strong antioxidants that protect your body against free radical damage that can occur as a result of exposure to pollution, strong chemicals and their odors or cigarette smoke. Your eyes are constantly exposed to the air and light (except when sleeping) which can lead to additional damage as a result of free radical exposure. Antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin work well together to cancel out free radicals so they are unable to cause further damage to your eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids that accumulate in the retina based in the back of the eye at the macula. Exposure of the eyes to the sun and to blue light is combated by lutein and zeaxanthin as they work as a natural sunscreen, absorbing excess light energy.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a particular concern people face as they age. Genetic susceptibility is a major factor in the development of AMD so look to your family history of eye health, if possible, and start supplementing early to combat its effects. Supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin has shown in clinical studies to protect against AMD as well as its progression to blindness. While there is no established recommended daily allowance or adequate intake, the dosage that has been found to be effective in reducing the risk of AMD is as low as 6mg per day.

In addition to supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin, other lifestyle changes such as improving the diversity and nutrition of one’s diet also has a holistic impact on total health that affects the health and performance of the eyes. All supplements should be taken in conjunction with a balanced lifestyle of a healthy diet, exercise, quality sleep and limiting exposure to screens. Sunglasses when outdoors and blue light-blocking glasses for indoors, if one has a job that requires many hours in front of a computer or other screen, may help reduce the number of harmful rays to which your eyes are exposed regularly.

Supplements are a great way to make sure that you are getting all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body needs to be in optimal health. While not a substitute for good lifestyle choices, they can provide the extra boost you may need, based on your personal biology, life story and family history. Be sure to check with your doctor or health professional before adding new supplements to your routine, especially if you are on other medications. Keep your eyes looking toward a healthy future!

Alina Hornfeldt is marketing manager at Mastel’s. Find her work at Instagram.com/MastelsHealthFoods.

Mastel’s is located at 1526 St. Clair Ave., St Paul. For more information, call 651-690-1692 or visit Mastels.com. 

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