Approximately 1.75 million people in the US have age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—a condition that affects the middle part of the vision and first appears in one’s 50s and 60s. Although it does not cause total blindness, it makes everyday activities like recognizing others and reading difficult, and there is no current cure for AMD. Thus far, treatments include the use of anti-angiogenic medications. Which are injected into the eye to stop blood vessels from leaking and worsening AMD. They can also include different types of laser therapy, that can (in some cases) stop the growth of abnormal blood cells from AMD. A recent study by the National Institutes of Health in the UK has shown that supplementation can also help.
AREDS2: A New Formula that Eliminates Beta-Carotene
AREDS2 is a new formula used to treat AMD. It substituted two antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin for beta-carotene. This has two major benefits: firstly, it reduces the risk of lung cancer (beta-carotene is linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers or those who have been exposed to asbestos). Secondly, it is more effective at reducing the speed of AMD progression than the original formula was.
Quality Matters in Supplementation
If you are interested in taking AREDS2 for AMD, ensure you go with a reliable supplement brand. Supplements can vary greatly in the concentration and number of active ingredients. Usually, those that seem “too good to be true” price-wise do not do their intended job as well as those made with quality ingredients. Your doctor will ensure that recommended supplements not only have the right concentration of vital ingredients but also that their components are in the right proportion.
What is So Powerful about Lutein and Zeaxanthin?
Lutein and zeaxanthin have long been known to wield a host of health benefits. But they had not been used to treat AMD as they currently are. Lutein is a carotenoid with anti-inflammatory properties. It is particularly important for eye health and can help reduce the occurrence of advanced AMD by 25% over a five-year period in people who already have AMD. Zeaxanthin, meanwhile, helps protect the eyes against oxidation and light-induced damage. While lutein is found naturally in green leafy vegetables (including broccoli, spinach, kale, and lettuce) and egg yolks, zeaxanthin can be sourced from orange and yellow fruits, dark green vegetables, and egg yolks. Even if you don’t have AMD, you can help keep your eyes in good health by embracing a diet that includes these foods.
Lifestyles and AMD
To keep AMD at bay, embrace healthy lifestyle choices as well. Studies have shown that in addition to oxidative stress and aging, smoking causes both cataracts and AMD. The typical diet in the US contains only 1-3mg per day of lutein and zeaxanthin. However, taking 6mg per day has been found to decrease the risk of developing AMD.
Millions of people across the globe are affected by AMD. A new supplement called AREDS2 can help slow down the progression of this disease. This is thanks to its quotient of lutein and zeaxanthin. Healthy lifestyles and a sound diet that prioritizes green, leafy vegetables and egg yolks can also be beneficial when it comes to maintaining eye health.