Term Paper: Nutrition and Age Related Macular

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[. . .] This is the reason why people with a higher density of macular pigment have a reduced risk of macular degeneration in their old age ("Macular Degeneration Could Be," 2004, p. 13). It is, therefore, necessary to eat fresh or frozen vegetables for ingesting lutein (Mogk & Mogk, 2004).

Vitamin B

The supplemental use of folic acid and B. vitamins can help in the prevention of age related macular degeneration. This was proved when women were treated with Vitamin B supplements and followed for 7.3 years and it was concluded that they had a 35 -- 40% decreased risk of macular degeneration (Christen, Glynn, Chew, Albert & Manson, 2009).

According to the scientists, there is a direct connection between homocysteine (an amino acid) level in the blood and the threat of ARMD. However, the treatment with folic acid and B. vitamins demonstrated that they have the potential to lower the homocysteine levels in an individual's blood. When homocysteine levels are high, it causes dysfunctioning of the blood vessel lining. However, when treated with vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid, the homocysteine levels are reduced resulting in the reversal of the blood vessel dysfunction. Not only does the homocysteine level are lowered, B vitamins and folic acid were also found to improve the functioning of blood vessels in the eye (Christen, Glynn, Chew, Albert & Manson, 2009).

The unprocessed foods are rich in Vitamin B Meat products contain Vitamin B in an adequate quantity. Other than that, whole grains, molasses, bananas, potatoes, beans, chilli peppers and lentils also contain Vitamin B It is, therefore, really important to include Vitamin B rich foods in the diet to prevent age-related macular degeneration.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is also a member of the antioxidant family. Nuts, fortified cereals and sweet potatoes are the excellent sources of Vitamin E This vitamin is particularly beneficial for the eyes as it helps in the promotion of cell membranes and repairmen of DNA. It also is known for its significance in the functioning of the immune system. According to the research and concluded evidence, Vitamin E could prove to be beneficial in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration by twenty five percent and visual acuity loss by nineteen percent. 22.5 IU of Vitamin E a day has been recommended as a daily dose. However, as far as the eye health is concerned, doctors suggest 400 IU a day. Therefore, it is important to intake almond, hazelnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, creamy/chunky peanut butter and cereal that are all rich in Vitamin E ("Diet, Nutrition and," 2009). However, Vitamin E supplementation is also necessary.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble nutrient. It is highly valued because of its excellent antioxidant properties. As it is significantly known for its capability of neutralizing free radicals and minimizing oxidative damage, Vitamin C is recommended for the prevention age-related macular degeneration. A daily dosage of 500 mg of Vitamin C daily can reduce the rate of development of macular degeneration ("Vitamin C," 2012). Vitamin sC works to counterbalance or deactivate the potentially cell-damaging molecules called 'free radicals' that cause harm to the lens and macular of the eyes.

Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons), berries, strawberries, guava, kiwi, sweet peppers/red peppers, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cantaloupe, broccoli, parsley, and dark leafy greens contain the highest quantities of Vitamin C If one wants to maximize the benefits of vitamin C benefits, he/she must make sure that he/she takes vitamin C several times a day for the maintenance of adequate serum levels as this water-soluble vitamin rapidly excretes ("Vitamin C," 2012).

Minerals

Zinc

Zinc is an important mineral that plays a pivotal role in the metabolism of the retina and eyes' lens. It is a vital component of a number of enzymes. Therefore, it is really important for the many metabolic activities of the body. Zinc ions are a main constituent of superoxide dismutase (enzyme). This enzyme plays a chief role in the foraging of superoxide radicals. The concentration of zinc in the retina and choroid is on the whole one of the maximum levels in the body, Therefore, it is not an untold secret that zinc is especially important for the eye. There is an association of zinc with vitamin A and together they are responsible for the generation of the visual pigments of the retina. Even in the presence of adequate vitamin A in the body, the lack or absence of zinc can cause night blindness. Similar to anti-oxidant vitamins, this essential mineral plays an anti-oxidant role ("Diet, Nutrition and," 2009).

When elderly individuals who have early retinal macular degeneration were supplemented with zinc, it was found out that their visual acuity was maintained in a very good way as compared to those who were not given zinc supplements. Studies have demonstrated that zinc plays a specific role in the maintenance of retinal health. In the same way, this anti-oxidant mineral is important in the maintenance of the health of the lens of the eye ("Diet, Nutrition and," 2009).

Oysters and fish, ginger root, Brazil nuts, meat, pumpkin seeds, eggs, pecans, lentils and cereals are rich sources of zinc. Doctors recommend that a daily zinc supplement must be 20mg. The intake of zinc supplements may possibly reduce the copper levels in the body. Therefore, copper supplements are also necessary along with zinc supplements ("Diet, Nutrition and," 2009).

If compared with other tissues in the human body, concentrations of zinc are higher in the retina. It serves as a cofactor for antioxidant enzymes and thus helps in the protection of the eye from age-related macular degeneration and other retinal diseases. It also has the ability to provide protection against inflammatory effects (Blodi, 2004).

If a person already is experiencing macular degeneration, it is the right time and really important for him/her to starts taking a first-rate multivitamin and mineral supplement. If a person is at a higher risk for the development of macular degeneration or if he/she is already having early signs of it, consumption of supplements would help him/her to prevent or retard the development of macular degeneration.

Conclusion

With aging, people become highly at risk to lose their central vision. However, if they eat adequate levels of some particular dietary nutrients, it could help them in the protection of their eyes. According to a recent study, people who have an inherited vulnerability to macular degeneration, eating sufficient levels of zinc, antioxidants or omega-3 fatty acids minimizes the risk of development of this retinal-damaging disease by as much as a third contrasted with people who eat inadequate levels of the mentioned nutrients. According to some researchers, "Clinicians should provide dietary advice to young susceptible individuals to postpone or prevent the vision-disabling consequences of (age-related macular degeneration" (as qtd. In "Diet Tied to Lower," 2011, p. NA). It has also been found out that age-related macular degeneration is a widespread disabling disease and accounts for half of all blindness cases in urbanized countries.

As far as only United States is concerned, macular degeneration affects more than 6 out of every hundred adults over age forty. Despite the fact that medications and surgery can treat the affected patients, not any of these heals the disease. If an individual has at least two gene variations, he/she is susceptible to develop the condition. CFH, a variation, boosts his/her chances of ARMD up to 11-fold. Another variation known as LOC387715S raises this likelihood by up to 15-fold. People with the CFH variation can reduce their chance of macular degeneration if they consume greater levels of either zinc, beta carotene, omega-3 fatty acids or lutein/zeaxanthin in the diet ("Diet Tied to Lower," 2011, p. NA).

Although, there is presently no cure for this disabling disease, the severity of macular degeneration can be reduced if there is an early treatment. The category and level of the condition can signify what type of treatment is required. The treatments include laser surgery, dietetic involvement and low vision aids to help peripheral vision ("Millions Affected by Eye," 2004, p. 1). However, the simplest treatment is to eat wisely as that can prove to be a protective ointment for our eyes. As already discussed, the key foods and nutrients are, without a doubt, an easy, straightforward and inexpensive treatment option that can help an individual to protect his/her vision ("Eating Right Can Help," 2010, p. 2).

References

Blodi, B.A. (2004). Nutritional Supplements in the Prevention of Age-related Macular Degeneration.INSIGHT The Journal of the American Society of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses, Inc., XXIX (1), 15-18. Retrieved June 14, 2012 from http://webeye.ophth.uiowa.edu/asorn/CE/2004-03-AMD.pdf

Brown, N.A., Bron, A.J., Harding, J.J., & Dewar, H.M. (1998). Nutrition Supplements and the Eye . Eye,12, 127-133. Retrieved June 14, 2012 from http://www.nature.com/eye/journal/v12/n1/pdf/eye199821a.pdf

Bryhn, M. (2006). Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Prevention of Age-Related Eye Diseases. Retrieved June 13, 2012 from http://www.epax.com/filestore/Omega-3FAandpreventionofage-relatedeyedisease.pdf

Christen, W.G., Glynn, R.J., Chew, E.Y., Albert, C.M., & Manson, J.E. (2009). Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 in Combination and Age-Related Macular Degeneration in a Randomized Trial of Women.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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