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Vitamin pill that can make you see better

Improve eyesight through foods
Improve eyesight through foods

Ground-breaking research at the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland, at the Waterford Institute of Technology, has produced evidence that you can actually make your eyesight better by taking a mixture of carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin.

The recent study was published in June in the Journal of Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science, which involved participants divided into two groups – one half taking a placebo and the other half taking the mixture of the supplements over a 12 month period.

The supplements carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are found naturally in leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach, orange peppers, as well as in the yolk of eggs.

The other supplement included in the mix Meso-zeaxanthin is present in some fish and seafood however it is difficult to get in high quantities in diet and is mainly made in the body itself.

In their research known as CREST, which focuses on a part of the eye called the macula – the spot near the centre of the retina and responsible for central vision, the scientists discovered that supplements can improve the vision in people with degenerative eye disease relating to the macula.

The macula is coated with carotenoids or special protective pigments that come from what we eat, however the light-sensitive cells in the macula can start to break down as we get older leading to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This is a common cause of sight loss in the UK.

The research demonstrates that boosting your intake of the supplements mixture can slow the progression of AMD. But more interesting is that the supplements can also improve the vision in people with no existing eye disease, which means that even if your eyesight is already good, you can make it even better.

According to professor John Nolan who led the research, blue light which emitted by devices like smartphones and tablets, energy-saving lightbulbs and daylight produces damaging free radicals that over time attack the cells and pigments in the retina that we use for vision, raising the risk of AMD.

The research demonstrated that after 12 weeks of taking the supplements that there were there markedly increased levels of pigment of volunteers and they also performed better on almost all the eye tests.

Some older test subjects found that their ability to see in twilight scenarios was greatly enhanced with those cells eye uses when light is low functioning as well as a 20-year-old.


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