Do you or someone you know suffer from macular degeneration? Well, you are definitely not alone. This is because approximately 11 million people suffer from the disease in the United States alone (1).
Although scientists are constantly working to find a remedy for the condition, they haven’t found one yet.
That said, there are things you can do to prevent and manage the condition like taking vitamins. This ensures that your eyes get the nutrients they require to prevent or at least slow down the progression of the disease.
Below, we’re going to look at some of the essential macular degeneration vitamins that can come in handy in that quest.
What Is Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
Before we go any further, we feel you should understand what macular degeneration is. AMD is a condition that affects a tiny part of the retina known as the macula.
Now, the main job of the macula is to sharpen your vision so that you can see clear images (2).
As such, the first symptom of AMD is usually blurry vision. But, although it does not always lead to blindness, it can negatively affect your central vision. You can have either dry or wet AMD.
Therefore, it is important to use supplements as they reduce the risk of vision loss by one-fifth. This is according to a study by the Natural Eye Institute (3).
The Best AMD Supplements & Vitamins
Macular degeneration vitamins are the way to go if you are to slow down the progression of the condition. The following are some vitamin options that are thought to work well when it comes to AMD.
Macula lutea is the full name of the macula part of the eye. This name is derived from the existence of lutein that gives macula a yellowish tint.
You see, the macula receives light and sends signals to the brain via the optic nerve (4). That makes it susceptible to damage from light sources like blue light and UV rays.
Lutein is responsible for absorbing any excess light that enters the macula to prevent it from causing damage. Another thing you may want to know about Lutein is that it is an antioxidant. Therefore, it works to neutralize the free radicals in the macula (5).
Free radicals cause cell damage and oxidative stress that can then lead to AMD. Therefore, lutein can help prevent the condition from worsening. Generally, you can get this vitamin from vegetables like carrots, squash, and tomatoes.
This macular degeneration suppressing vitamin is known by several names. When it comes from plants, it begins as beta-carotene and then transforms to vitamin A in the body.
On the other hand, Vitamin A consumed from plants is in retinol form. This vitamin boosts the immune system and helps soothe eye inflammation (6).
If you are wondering where you can get beta-carotene, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and carrots are a great source.
Almost all the cells in the human body need this vitamin. This includes the eyes because they need the vitamin for iron absorption and healthy blood vessels.
Vitamin C is vital for the health of the capillaries in the retina and connective tissues (7). Plus, it helps maintain low oxygen levels within the eye (8).
Simply put, the vitamin protects the macula and retina from damage hence preventing AMD. It is also a potent antioxidant that stops free radicals from causing cell damage. Vitamin C can be sourced from leafy greens and citrus fruits like oranges.
Perhaps you don’t know this, but your immunity heavily depends on vitamin E for the replacement and repair of cells. Just like vitamin C, this vitamin has antioxidant properties and, therefore, reduces oxidation in the body.
Vitamin E helps in generating and preserving red blood cells that your whole body needs to perform at its peak (9). Now, it may be worth noting that most AMD forms are associated with age, but others are not.
Taking the right macular degeneration vitamins helps prevent the onset and continuation of AMD. Keep in mind that the human body does not produce vitamin E naturally so it must be acquired from your diet.
Some of the foods that will supply your body with the vitamin include mango, peanuts, and avocado.
Zinc is an extremely vital mineral in the management of AMD. Why? Because it forms an essential support system for the other eye nutrients to do their job.
You already know that vitamin A is crucial for eye health. What you probably don’t know is that zinc is what transports the vitamin to the retina so that it can offer protection (10).
Persons with zinc deficiencies are usually vulnerable to various infections and ailments (11).
Generally, Zinc can be sourced from bans, tofu, seafood, red meat, and eggs. However, one study reveals that you are likely to get the most benefits by taking both vitamins and zinc (12).
Macular Degeneration Vitamins for Treating AMD
AMD can be addressed using surgery (13). However, before you go this route, you probably want to try natural management techniques for the condition like vitamin supplementation. Like most ailments, your diet usually affects your outlook and symptoms.
Granted, the vitamins will not cure the condition, but they can effectively reduce its development and control it (14).
Above all, it is recommended to consume foods that contain high levels of zeaxanthin and lutein (15). Such foods are also rich in other phytochemicals that could be beneficial.
Final Thoughts Vitamins for AMD
The eyes are vital for going through life and without them, life would be different and not in a good way. So, if you are suffering from AMD, you should do something about it before it gets to a point of no return.
You can consume foods that contain high levels of zeaxanthin and/or lutein to keep the condition under control. Make sure to also eat a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins to keep your eyes in great working condition.
That said, you must consult your physician before making any major changes to your dietary patterns.