by Laurel Sterling, MA, RD, CDN
We typically don’t think about our eye health until we begin having problems with it. What we should be doing is supporting our eyes along the way with the right nutrients they need to keep them working and focusing properly. Various nutrients such as: carotenoids (like lutein and zeaxanthin), beta carotene, vitamin C with citrus bioflavonoids, bilberry, NAC (N-acetyl cysteine), and minerals (like zinc and copper) work as antioxidants that can help boost overall eye health.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in fruits, vegetables, and other foods, that are stored in high amounts in and around the macula. Zeaxanthin is the predominant carotenoid found in the center of the macula, and lutein is found in higher concentrations in the surrounding retina. Studies suggest high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in eye tissue are associated with healthy vision, which is why a diet rich in these antioxidants is often recommended. Recent studies show health benefits in taking approximately 10 mg/day of lutein and about 2 mg/day of zeaxanthin.
Beta carotene is an important antioxidant that also acts as a source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for healthy vision, as it plays a role in helping the eyes adapt to light changes. Food sources of vitamin A include: cod liver oil, eggs, fortified milk, and orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. Supplemental lower doses of vitamin A are typically found in multivitamins and eye formulas. The DRI (Daily recommended Intake) of retinol or retinyl forms of vitamin A varies from 900 RAE (retinol activity equivalents) to 1,300 RAE. With certain eye issues, even higher amounts are recommended.
Vitamin C and citrus bioflavonoids are additional antioxidants that work to scavenge free radicals and aid in capillary and blood vessel health. Recommendations vary from 500 mg/day of vitamin C with bioflavonoids to a few grams per day. Higher levels depend on bowel tolerance.
Bilberries are related to blueberries and contain polyphenols and anthocyanidins, two strong antioxidants that supports eye health. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is most well-known for its antioxidant effects. NAC increases glutathione, our body's most potent and self-made detoxification compound. Copper is an antioxidant that encourages the development of flexible connective tissue for proper eye structure.
If you're looking to support your eye health, these are some of the most important key nutrients. Many of these are found in a multivitamin/mineral; however, the amounts many not be enough, so an additional supplement may be a good option.
by Jolie Root, LPN, LNC
With Earth Day right around the corner, you may be thinking a bit more about the environment. Are the products you're using environmentally friendly? Are the products sourced in a way that's sustainable? With fish oils we have to wonder if the oil we are taking is polluted. Are we going to run out of fish?
The fish oil market has boomed the last few years as more and more consumers become aware of the many benefits of boosting our omega-3 levels. But are we over-fishing in the process? Are we harming the planet? The good news is you can relax. Most of the fish that are used in fish oil supplements are small fish, and small fish reproduce quickly, making them highly sustainable.
Sardines, mackerel, and anchovies are in plentiful supply, and the catch is closely monitored to be sure we are not over-fishing. Artic cod is in plentiful supply as well, so Cod Liver Oil that comes from Norway is a conscientious choice.
The Environmental Defense Fund states that for consumers with ecological concerns fish oils are a responsible choice. You can look for the logos of groups that police ecological fishing, such as Marine Stewardship Council and Friend of the Sea on fish oil labels. Fish oil labels should also tell you what fish are used for that product.
As brands become more tuned into the environment, they commit to using low-impact fisheries in nations that closely monitor the waters and environment to ensure sustainability. Sustainability means that the fish populations are easily and quickly replenished to ensure the fish will be available for future generations. Brands like Carlson make sure that every part of the fish not used for oil is used for human and animal food so that nothing is wasted.
Carson fish oils are purified without chemicals and tested to be sure the oils are pure, fresh, and free of harmful levels of contaminants. Look for the IFOS logo, and check the IFOS website for the actual testing information. IFOS is the International Fish Oil Standards program, the gold standard for fish oil testing.
One more thing, Carlson received the "#1 Rated Omega-3 Products" award from ConsumerLab.com in America for 2019. I feel better about my health and the health of the planet using Carlson omega-3 products.
by Jolie Root, LPN, LNC
Melatonin can seem like a miracle supplement for those of us who fly back and forth across multiple time zones for work. Time zone hops can mess with our ability to sleep, and melatonin is one of my favorite tools for resetting. If you feel your resetting needs even more than a Melatonin boost, try adding magnesium and pharma GABA in the evening, about an hour before bed.
Melatonin offers many health benefits. It's a strong antioxidant that directly binds to free radicals, like reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Adding melatonin also helps our body produce antioxidant enzymes, including glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase. Melatonin has the ability to make harmful molecules less harmful, so our tissues and organs can age more gracefully.
Melatonin also protects our mighty mitochondria, the powerhouse of our cells. Mitochondria produce energy, have their own DNA, and fuel every cell, making them crucial for survival. Within our cells, the nucleus and mitochondria are the areas we find the most melatonin. It's there to neutralize free radicals and to cleanse the cell and mitochondria of toxins.
Melatonin also supports the healthy aging of our brain by supporting neuroplasticity, or the development of new networks of brain cells. It does this by supporting better levels of brain-derived growth factor, or BDNF.
My Melatonin Gummies are one supplement I will never be without!
The Daily Dose blog features health and wellness articles from Senior Nutritionist & Educator Jolie Root, LPN,LNC; Nutritionist & Educator Laurel Sterling, MA, RDN, CDN; and Featured Guest Blogger Karen Roth, MSNC. Other guest bloggers will also join us.
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