Seeing Is Believing

Previously by Margaret Durst: Olive Leaf Extract

Vision problems occur for various reasons. Many times the problem is due to poor diet. A diet of denatured and preservative laden food leads to the free radical damage that is implicated in many conditions affecting the eyes.

A deficiency of just one vitamin can lead to various eye problems that can sometimes be corrected with supplementation of the correct vitamins and minerals. Most of the products for eyes include antioxidants such as vitamin A, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin. There are many good eye formulations on the market; however, the buyer has to beware.

One particular combination brought to me by a customer had all of the right ingredients at first glance – but when I read the label closely, it was full of synthetics, dies and the cheaper form of the ingredient that typically does not absorb well. This combination was given to the client by a medical doctor. In my opinion, it was junk.

The problem with this poorly formulated kind of product is that it ends up causing more free radical damage than it mitigates. Another issue I have with these products is that they are not easily assimilated – an underlying cause of some eye problems is poor digestion / assimilation, so you want to make sure that you are actually getting what you think you are.

Most people will associate carrots with healthy eyes. That is because carrots are full of carotene – the precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for proper eye function. Many people take beta-carotene and think they are getting vitamin A – they are only if their body is properly converting it. Problems that would impede this conversion are liver problems, dysbiosis (parasitic and fungal), and hypothyroidism – all very common.

Many people also associate zinc with healthy eyes, particularly prevention of macular degeneration. Zinc is a very important antioxidant that is lost when we consume too much caffeine, sugar or white flour. Zinc also needs good digestion to be absorbed. Antacids and products that reduce stomach acid inhibit the body’s ability to absorb zinc.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that are known to support the eyes. They are found naturally in the dark leafy greens such as kale, collards, chard and mustard greens. People who eat plenty of greens are much less likely to develop cataracts than those who do not. Lutein and zeaxanthin are also effective in reducing the risk of macular degeneration.

Bilberry is another product that is useful for vision. Bilberry helps micro-circulation – think about all of the little capillaries that carry blood to your eyes. Bilberry also has 50 times the antioxidant protection of vitamin E and 10 times that of vitamin C. Bilberry is useful for all kinds of conditions of the eye including diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma – and it is also useful for varicose veins.

Last, but by no means least, is eyebright – a great herb that strengthens all of the eye’s tissues. My favorite eye formula contains this herb. Eyebright can also be used as an eyewash.

As with all nutritional supplements – quality is key if you want to “see” a difference.

Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.