What is AMD?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss in ageing adults. AMD involves damage to the macula, a region of the retina that is packed with light-sensing cells called photoreceptors. The macula is important for central, high-resolution vision that is needed for tasks such as reading, driving, and recognizing faces.
AMD by itself does not lead to complete blindness, with no ability to see. However, the loss of central vision in AMD can interfere with simple everyday activities, such as the ability to see faces, drive, read, write, or do close work, such as cooking or fixing things around the house.
The causes of AMD it is associated with several risk factors:
- high blood pressure,
- cardiovascular disease,
- diet high in fats and low in green leafy vegetables and fish
- a genetic component, can often runs in families, common among people of European descent.
What is cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye. Most cataracts are due to age-related changes in the lens of the eye that cause it to become cloudy or opaque. Cataract can be treated by surgically removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Each year, the cost of outpatient, inpatient and prescription drug services related to cataract treatment totals about $6.8 billion in the U.S.
However, other factors can contribute to cataract development, including:
- Diabetes mellitus. People with diabetes are at higher risk for cataracts.
- Certain medications are associated with cataract development. These include:
Corticosteroids Chlorpromazine and other phenothiazine-related medications
- Ultraviolet radiation.Studies show an increased chance of cataract formation with unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
- There is possibly an association between smoking and increased lens cloudiness.
- Several studies show increased cataract formation in patients with higher alcohol consumption compared with people who have lower or no alcohol consumption.
- Nutritional deficiency.Studies suggest an association between cataract formation and low levels of antioxidants (for example, vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids). Further studies may show that antioxidants can help decrease cataract development.
What was the the AREDS ?
Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) launched in 1992, published in 2001, involved 4757 participants, age 55-80 at the time of enrollment, was designed to determine if daily intake of certain vitamins and minerals could reduce the risk of cataract and advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD), evaluate a combination of vitamins E and C, beta-carotene, and zinc–known as the AREDS formulation, the result showed a significant reduction of AMD with the formulation.
|Antioxidants Plus Zinc Alone||Zinc Alone||Antioxidants|
|Reduced risk of developing advanced AMD by about 25 percent
Reduced risk of vision loss by about 19 percent
|Reduced risk of developing advanced AMD by about 21 percent
Reduced risk of vision loss by about 11 percent
|Reduced risk of developing advanced AMD by about 17 percent
Reduced risk of vision loss by about 10 percent
What is the original AREDS formulation?
- 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C
- 400 international units of vitamin E
- 15 mg beta-carotene
- 80 mg zinc as zinc oxide
- 2 mg copper as cupric oxide
What was the AREDS2 ?
The goal of AREDS2 was to evaluate the effect of other nutrients — including lutein and zeaxanthin — on the prevention of AMD and other age-related eye diseases. AREDS2 also investigated the effect of removing beta-carotene from the AREDS supplement, since supplementation of this vitamin A precursor has been associated with increased risk of certain cancers among smokers and previous smokers.
The AREDS2 results revealed study participants with early signs of macular degeneration who took a modification of the original AREDS nutritional supplement that contained 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin (and no beta-carotene) every day for the 5-year study period had a 10 to 25 percent reduced risk of AMD progression. Study participants whose diets contained the lowest amounts of foods containing natural lutein and zeaxanthin experienced the greatest AMD risk reduction from taking the daily nutritional supplement.
AREDS2 and other studies provide evidence that lutein and zeaxanthin may play a role in preventing macular degeneration (or at least reducing the risk of progression of AMD)
What modifications were tested in AREDS2?
- 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin
- 350 mg DHA and 650 mg EPA
- No beta-carotene
- 25 mg zinc
Lutein and zeaxanthin
Good nutrition is important to keep your eyes healthy and functioning their best throughout your lifetime. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two very important eye nutrients that may reduce your risk for macular degeneration and cataracts.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two types of carotenoids , which are yellow to red pigments found widely in vegetables and other plants. They are yellow pigments responsible for the yellow colour of corn, marigolds, egg yolks. Though lutein is considered a yellow pigment, in high concentrations it appears orange-red.
A number of studies have found that lutein and zeaxanthin either help prevent AMD or may slow progression of the disease:
- Research published in Nutrition & Metabolismfound that a nutritional supplement containing meso-zeaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin effectively increased the optical density of the macular pigment in eyes of the majority of human subjects. The macular pigment is believed to offer protection against the development of macular degeneration.
- Studies published in American Journal of Epidemiology, Ophthalmologyand Archives of Ophthalmology found higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in the diet are associated with a lower incidence of AMD.
- Two studies published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Sciencefound that eyes with greater levels of macular pigments were less likely to have or develop macular degeneration.
- In research published in Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, the study authors conclude that lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin filter short-wavelength light and prevent or reduce the generation of free radicals in the retinal pigment epithelium and choroid. They also suggest that a mixture of these carotenoids is more effective than any one of the individual carotenoids at the same total concentration.
- In a study published in the journal Optometry, participants with early AMD who consumed 8 mg per day of dietary zeaxanthin for one year improved their night driving and their visual acuity improved an average of 1.5 lines on an eye chart.
Astaxanthin is a reddish pigment that belongs to a group of chemicals called carotenoids. It occurs naturally in certain algae and causes the pink or red color in salmon, trout, lobster, shrimp, and other seafood.
Astaxanthin with strong antioxidant properties displayed one of the highest antioxidant activity against free radicals in some study. Over 500 scientific studies demonstrates astaxanthin’s health benefits in supporting our eye health, heart health, immune support, joint health, skin health and sports performance and recovery.
The way astaxanthin neutralizes harmful ROS/free radicals is gentler on the body’s cells compared to other antioxidants that can be harmful because they may turn into highly reactive molecules themselves.
The science behind astaxanthin for eye health
Astaxanthin supplementation can improve eye health in many different ways as the following scientific findings demonstrate:
- Improved blood flow in capillaries in the eye
(12 mg astaxanthin per day for 4 weeks)
- Improved accommodation amplitude
(5 mg astaxanthin per day for 4 weeks)
- Improved accommodation speed in subjects with eye fatigue
(6 mg astaxanthin per day for 4 weeks)
- Increased critical flicker fusion and sharper visual sensation
(6 mg astaxanthin per day for 4 weeks)
Zinc is an essential trace mineral, or “helper molecule.” It plays a vital role in bringing vitamin A from the liver to the retina in order to produce melanin, a protective pigment in the eyes. Zinc is highly concentrated in the eye, mostly in the retina and choroid, the vascular tissue layer under the retina. Impaired vision, such as poor night vision and cloudy cataracts, has been linked to zinc deficiency.
Benefits to Eye Health
People at high risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), or who are already experiencing the early stages of AMD, may benefit from increased zinc intake. The human body does not produce the zinc it needs, so daily intake of zinc through diet, nutritional supplements, or fortified foods and beverages is important for the maintenance of good eye health. Red meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, wheat germ, mixed nuts, black-eyed peas, tofu and beans contain zinc.
Zinc and AMD
The landmark Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), sponsored by the National Eye Institute, established that AMD is linked to nutrition. The study showed that individuals at high risk for AMD could slow the progression of advanced AMD by about 25 percent and visual acuity loss by 19 percent by taking 40-80 mg/day of zinc, along with certain antioxidants. Taking higher levels of zinc may interfere with copper absorption, which is why the AREDS study also included a copper supplement.
However, high doses of zinc may upset the stomach. Therefore, a follow-up study, AREDS2, which is currently in progress, is testing a more moderate dose of 25 mg/day.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables. Scientific evidence suggests vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts. Risk factors for cataracts include smoking, diabetes and steroid use, which deplete the eye’s lens of vitamin C.
Also, when taken with other essential nutrients, vitamin C can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and visual acuity loss. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 55 in the Western world. The number of people with AMD is expected to triple by 2025.
Benefits to Eye Health
Vitamin C helps promote healthy capillaries, gums, teeth, cartilage and the absorption of iron. Almost all cells of the body depend on it, including those of the eye, where it is concentrated in all tissues. Vitamin C also supports the health of blood vessels in the eye.
Our bodies do not create all of the vitamin C we need. This is why daily intake of vitamin C through diet, nutritional supplements, or fortified foods and beverages is important for maintaining good eye health.
Vitamin C and Cataracts
Numerous studies have linked vitamin C intake and decreased risk of cataracts. In one study, women taking vitamin C for 10 years or more experienced a 64 percent reduction in the risk of developing nuclear cataracts. Researchers estimate that by delaying the onset of cataracts for 10 years, half of cataract-related surgeries could be averted.
Other research showed that women taking a daily supplement with a dosage of 364 mg experienced a 57 percent reduction in their risk of certain types of cataracts.
Taking a supplement with at least 300 mg/day of vitamin C appears to help prevent cataract development.
Vitamin C and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
The landmark Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), sponsored by the National Eye Institute, linked AMD and nutrition. The study showed that people at high risk for the disease who took 500 mg/day of vitamin C, along with beta-carotene, vitamin E and zinc supplementation, slowed the progression of advanced AMD by about 25 percent and visual acuity loss by 19 percent. Other studies have confirmed these results.
Research has shown that vitamin E, found in nuts, fortified cereals and sweet potatoes, can protect cells of the eyes from damage. This damage is caused by unstable molecules called free radicals, which break down healthy eye tissue. When this happens, the risks for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataract formation increase.
Benefits to Eye Health
Studies indicate that vitamin E reduces the progression of AMD and cataract formation. Vitamin E also plays a significant role in the immune system, the health of cell membranes, DNA repair and other metabolic processes.
The human body does not create the vitamin E it needs. This is why daily intake of vitamin E through your diet or nutritional supplements is important for good eye health.
Vitamin E and Cataracts
Studies have indicated adding vitamin E to the diet can delay cataract formation. A recent study demonstrated that higher dietary intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin along with vitamin E significantly decreased the risk of cataracts.
Vitamin E and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
The landmark Age-Related Eye Disease Study (or AREDS), sponsored by the National Eye Institute, established that AMD is linked to nutrition. The study showed that a 400 IU/day intake of vitamin E, taken with beta-carotene, vitamin C and zinc supplementation, slows the progression of AMD by about 25 percent in individuals at high risk for the disease. Seven smaller studies have confirmed these results.
Each capsule (1130 mg) contains:
- Astaxanthin (1 mg)
- Lutien (20 mg)
- Zeaxanthin (2.5 mg)
- Zinc (12.09 mg)
- Vitamin E (2oo IU)
- Vitamin C (450 mg)
Used as health supplement
Dosage and Administration
Adults: Take 1 capsule orally once daily after meal or as directed by your pharmacist or doctor.
Precautions and Contraindications
Keep out of reach of children
- Store below 30°C
- Protect from sunlight and moisture
- Best to consume within 2 months from open cap