Eye Supplements: Nutritional Health for

Eye supplements can slow the progression of eye diseases and sometimes prevent them from happening at all. If you don't eat your daily 5 servings of fruits and veggies, or in particular, if you smoke or work around chemicals, antioxidant vitamins can be very important to your ongoing eye health.

Necessary Eye Supplements

Beta-carotene is taken in doses of 5,000 to 25,000 IU per day. The body uses beta-carotene to protect "linings" of tissues, including the conjunctiva of the eyes. The fat cells can convert it to vitamin A.

Take beta-carotene in the form of natural mixed carotenoids, providing you with alpha- and gamma-carotene as well, it is safe for smokers. Smokers should not take beta-carotene as a single-ingredient supplement.

Lutein and zeaxanthin is taken in doses of up 10 mg a day, but no more than 6 mg at any one time, since there is a limit to how much the body can absorb with any one meal.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are fat-soluble, so any vegetables you eat to get these nutrients must be served with just a little (about 1 tsp, or 5 g) of olive oil or butter, and any nutritional supplement must be formulated as a capsule containing oil.

These nutrients are plant pigments that are chemically similar to beta-carotene, but unlike beta-carotene, the body does not turn them into vitamin A.

The body can convert lutein into zeaxanthin but not vice versa (which is why they are measured together and listed on the labels of nutritional supplements together).

Lutein and zeaxanthin protect the optic nerve and the macula of the eye from the damaging effects of the ultraviolet and blue light spectrum.

A minimum dose of the essential eye supplement vitamin C is about 160 mg a day, while much more than 500 to 1,000 mg a day is not helpful unless you are fighting an infection. Vitamin C protects against cataracts and glaucoma.

A daily dose of 400 IU of vitamin E helps recharge vitamin C, and together these vitamins offer synergistic protection against cataracts.

Your best choice is a truly natural vitamin E that contains all eight forms of the vitamin: alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherol, along with alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol.

If you are just getting alpha-tocopherol, you are not getting the full benefit of the supplement.

A daily dosage of 50 to 100 mcg of selenium as an eye supplement is a useful part of your daily health routine if you take C and E.

Selenium is a useful cofactor for the antioxidant vitamins and protects against various degenerative diseases of the eye. Do not take more than 100 mcg a day unless directed to do so by a qualified health practitioner.

Zinc in doses of up 50 mg a day helps maintain the rods and cones of the retinas. A good indicator of whether you need supplemental zinc is how zinc tablets taste in your mouth.

If you cannot taste them, you probably are zinc-deficient. If they taste metallic to you, you probably do not need to take a zinc supplement.

If you take zinc, you should always take copper in dosage of 1 to 3 mg a day. The additional copper supports enzymes in the eyes and throughout the body.

Manganese, not to be confused with magnesium, is useful in a 3.5-5.0 mg daily dosage to support antioxidant enzymes.

One other way you can support eye health is to buy your vitamin C as a mixture of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. The discoverer of vitamin C, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, thought the bioflavonoids were so important to the full activity of vitamin C that he named them vitamin P.

Whether or not you call them vitamin P, bioflavonoids will enhance eye health and increase the benefits of vitamin C.


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