(NaturalNews) In the third installment of this six-part series, we looked at the important role of proper diet in eye health and vision as well as some of the best eye foods. In this installment we will look at essential vitamins and minerals for the eyes. Notably, one of the most important minerals and one of the most important vitamins for eye health are the two most common deficiencies in older people: magnesium and vitamin B-12.
Top Vitamins for Vision and Eye Health
* Vitamin A is considered by many to be the ultimate eye vitamin and is essential for the retina to function properly. It is also necessary for the production of rhodopsin, which is the visual pigment used in low light levels. Vitamin A-rich foods include sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, spinach, and cantaloupe.
Vitamin A also helps:
- Eyes adjust to light changes - Moisten the eyes, which can enhance visual acuity - Prevent the formation of cataracts - Prevent blindness from macular degeneration.
* Vitamin C helps strengthen capillaries and builds collagen. It helps maintain the shape of the cornea, especially in cases of infection, and fights against free radicals. Vitamin C also helps prevent cataracts from developing due to UV radiation and oxidative stresses. Healthy fruits and 100% fruit juices are the best sources of Vitamin C.
* Vitamin E's antioxidant properties help protect against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. One clinical study showed that vitamin E can cut the risk of developing cataracts in half. Another showed that the combination of vitamins C and E protected against UV rays.
The richest source of vitamin E is wheat germ. Dark green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, kale, and collard greens), sweet potatoes, avocado, asparagus, and yams are also good sources of vitamin E.
* B Complex vitamins are necessary for nerve functions, especially vitamin B-12. The retinal receptor cells send all their messages through nerve fibers into the optic nerve and into the brain. 1000 mg of B-12, sublingually (under the tongue), a day is recommended for people with optic nerve disease or glaucoma.
B vitamins are abundant in meat and meat products such as liver, turkey, and tuna. Other good sources for B vitamins include whole grains, nutritional and brewers yeast, molasses, potatoes, bananas, lentils, chile peppers, tempeh, and beans.
Top Minerals for Vision and Eye Health
* Magnesium is important in nerve conduction and it dilates blood vessels. It is especially important for maintaining blood flow to the eye and brain in elderly individuals with macular degeneration or diabetes, at a time of decreased blood pressure because they are lying down.
* Chromium is vitally important in regulation of blood sugar. The healthiest form of chromium by far is glucose transfer factor (GTF) chromium.
* Selenium is a trace mineral that helps boost immunity and fight off infections and it is an important co-factor for vitamin E, iodine, and glutathione reductase. Studies have identified low selenium levels in cataract sufferers.
* Zinc is essential for the conversion of beta-carotene into vitamin A. Our eyes contain the greatest concentration of zinc in our body. It plays an important role in the action of many enzymes present in the retina and helps prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Note: supplementation of more than 30 mg of zinc daily requires adding 2 mg of copper.
* Copper is essential for the production of collagen, a component of connective tissues. Copper gluconate is a readily absorbable form of copper that is one of the most important blood antioxidants. It helps keep cell membranes healthy and aids red blood cells in hemoglobin production.
In the fifth installment of this six-part series we will look at some of the best other compounds that are essential for good vision and eye health as well as some of the best herbs for the eyes.
Tony Isaacs, is a natural health author, advocate and researcher who hosts The Best Years in Life website for those who wish to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Mr. Isaacs is the author of books and articles about natural health, longevity and beating cancer including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and is working on a major book project due to be published later this year. He is also a contributing author for the worldwide advocacy group "S.A N.E.Vax. Inc" which endeavors to uncover the truth about HPV vaccine dangers. Mr. Isaacs is currently residing in scenic East Texas and frequently commutes to the even more scenic Texas hill country near Austin and San Antonio to give lectures and health seminars. He also hosts the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs - featuring Luella May" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and he serves as a consultant to the "Utopia Silver Supplement Company".