Macular disease:Solutions from nature

The best treatment is prevention. To make sure you don’t develop AMD . . .

* Supplement, especially with antioxidants (Arch Ophthalmol, 1994; 112: 222-7). A large multicentre clinical trial, sponsored by the US National Eye Institute, found that vitamins can reduce the risk of severe vision loss by 25 per cent in some cases of AMD (Arch Ophthalmol, 2001; 119: 1417-36). The specific daily amounts used by the study researchers were: vitamin C, 500 mg; vitamin E, 400 IU; beta-carotene, 15 mg (equivalent to 25,000 IU of vitamin A); zinc (as zinc oxide), 80 mg; and copper (as cupric oxide), 2 mg.

* Try herbs. Ginkgo biloba improves circulation and is an antioxidant – aim to take 120 mg/day. Oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs) from grape seed/skin or bilberry extract are also powerful antioxidants – a useful dose is 200-300 mg/day from grape seed/skin or 150 mg/day from bilberry.

* Wear protective glasses. Specially constructed NoIR sunglasses can be expensive, but they come in a variety of shades, each of which filters out a specific amount of UV light so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Speak to your optometrist or log onto for more information.

* Drink green tea (unprocessed, preferably organic), which contains antioxidants that can slow or even halt the progression of AMD (VRP Nutr News, 1997; 11: 4, 10).

If you have AMD, you may be able to stop it if you start treatment in its early or intermediate stages. Follow the dietary suggestions on page 4, and also (after checking with a nutritional practitioner, as these are very high doses) supplement with:
* high-dose antioxidants. Of seven studies, three showed improvement with nutritional supplements (Ophthalmic Physiol Opt, 2003; 23: 383-99).

* lutein (10 mg/day). In the major Lutein Antioxidant Supplmentation Trial (LAST), lutein with or without antioxidants improved vision (Optometry, 2004; 75: 216-30).

* zinc (45 mg/day) helped prevent vision loss in one study (Arch Ophthalmol, 1988; 106: 192-8). Zinc has also been shown to work in concert with high-dose multivitamin/mineral supplements (Curr Opin Ophthalmol, 2003; 14: 159-62).

* Ginkgo biloba. After four weeks, Ginkgo at doses of either 240 mg or 60 mg/ day led to “marked improvement” of vision in AMD patients, although the higher dosage produced nearly twice the improvement of the lower one (Wien Med Wochenschr, 2002; 152: 423-6).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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