Vitamins for Eyes: Vitamins for Healthy Eyes

The vitamin A of the vitamins for eyes is an essential nutrient for connective and protective tissues all over the body. In the eye, vitamin A nourishes the conjunctiva, the thin mucous membrane on the underside of the eyelid. Even the minimal recommended dietary intake of vitamin A makes the conjunctiva (as well as other membranes across the body) up to 100 times more resistant to bacterial and viral infection.

When there is enough vitamin A, infectious microorganisms have a hard time invading the eye. And the body can manufacture vitamin A for eye protection from beta-carotene when dietary sources of the vitamin are insufficient.

A German study of people with chronic eye infections found that most had low bloodstream concentrations of vitamin A, and that along with their low levels of essential vitamins for eyes and chronic infections, they had difficulty in adjusting to changes in light.

Supplemental beta-carotene or vitamin help the eyes adjust to changes in light and may prevent certain forms of "night blindness," as well as prevent the eyes from becoming reinfected by bacteria once the immune system or antibiotics have taken care of an initial infection.

Zinc is an important cofactor for vitamin A. When the body does not have enough zinc, the thymus is less active, and the immune system's ability to produce white blood cells to fight infection is diminished. The white blood cells the immune system can muster are not as effective in fighting bacteria. Taking zinc supplements can relieve all of these problems.

There is a very reliable way of determining whether your zinc levels are low. If you place a zinc tablet on your tongue and it does not have any taste at all, then you need to take supplemental zinc. If you place a zinc tablet on your tongue and it tastes awful, then you probably don't need supplemental zinc.

The C and E of the A-C-E vitamins for eyes are important as antioxidants. They are the key vitamins for eyes enabling them to make their supply of the antioxidant glutathione.

Why is glutathione important? Particularly in the lens of the eye, when the concentrations of glutathione fall below a certain critical level, eye tissue can no longer repair UV-damaged proteins.

The proteins of the lens begin to form cross-links that cloud the lens with a cataract. The lens also becomes vulnerable to inflammation and welling because it cannot detoxify free radicals of hydrogen peroxide, generated by the bacteria that digest dried mucus.

How important is it to get enough C and E. One team of medical research scientists found that just taking 400 IU of synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopherol) was enough to reduce lifetime risk of developing cataracts by 56 percent. Taking 160 mg of vitamin C with that 400 IU of vitamin E lowers lifetime risk of developing cataracts by 70 per cent.

Even taking a multivitamin that includes smaller dosages of vitamins C and E reduces the risk of developing cataracts by 30 per cent. The pennies a day spent on these vitamins for eyes may prevent the incalculable misery of loss of sight to cataracts later in life.

Just don't overdo either vitamin. Excessive consumption of vitamin C can deplete copper, requiring copper supplementation. If you start taking copper, then you will also need to take zinc.

Excessive vitamin E can, in extreme cases (taking more than 2,000 IU a day) interfere with blood clotting, and cause bruising, bleeding, and potentially more serous complications for people who also take blood thinning medications.

Return From Vitamins for Eyes to Eye Nutrition

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