You have questions about keeping your eyes healthy. What are the best eye supplements? How can I keep my eyes healthy as I age? What is lutein and what does it do? Eating right is a big part of staying healthy.
You probably know a bit about proper nutrition in terms of how to “blast fat” and get fit, but proper nutrition affects all parts of your body, from your internal organs to your eyes.
Getting the right vitamins for eyes, nutrients and other essentials can keep your eyes healthy today and reduce your risk of issues in the future, like cataracts and macular degeneration.
What are the Best Vitamins for Eyes?
In the quest to stay healthy, getting enough of certain vitamins is being shown to be more and more important. Here are the ones that will keep your eyes in top shape.
- Vitamin A/Beta-carotene – Vitamin A is the coolest vitamin for eyes because it helps boost your dark vision. In addition, you’ll also need this for healing wounds and for your immune system to function properly. Beta-carotene is what is called a Vitamin A precursor, which means that your body will use it to actually build Vitamin A all by itself. It is the best way to get your necessary dose. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Vitamin A is 900 mcg for men and 700 mcg for women.
- Vitamin B’s – There are a lot of these vitamins bearing the name B, so they’ve all been given numbers or other names as well. The important ones are B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 (folic acid), biotin and choline. Put them together and you have the B complex vitamins. These are good for regulating homocysteine levels which causes problems to your retina as well as reducing your chance of developing macular degeneration as you age. They’re also good at reducing inflammation, which, when it affects the eye, we call uveitis which can lead to blindness! Pay attention to biotin as well, as low levels can cause something called keratoconjunctivitis which can lead to a compromised immune system.
- Vitamin C – Everyone’s favorite, Vitamin C, will do more than just prevent you from getting scurvy on any long sea voyages. It is also a bit factor in reducing the risk of cataracts, which become very common as you get older. The RDA is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women, however studies showing the reduction of cataracts were at a daily dose of 500 mg.
- Vitamin D – This is another important one. It seems that many people, especially people living in cold climates, don’t get enough Vitamin D. You see, one way to get vitamin D is to spend time in the sun. So if you aren’t getting out and getting the sunlight on your skin, make sure you’re taking your vitamin D. It has great health benefits and it will help keep you free of macular degeneration as you age. RDA is 15 mcg for men and women.
- Vitamin E – This is another vitamin with a bunch of parts. Compounds called tocopherols and tocotrienols, like Alpha-totopherol, make up Vitamin E. These will keep your eyes healthier, longer, as they are another one of the vitamins which help prevent both macular degeneration and cataracts. RDA is 15 mg for men and women.
The “Not Really Vitamins for Eyes but Still Important” Things
Strictly speaking, the following substances aren’t vitamins for the eyes, but if you want to have healthy eyes, and a healthy body for that matter, getting the right amount of the following will go a long way.
- Zinc – Helps Vitamin A absorption and helps fight free radicals by boosting antioxidants. It is a protector against macular degeneration as well as night blindness.
- Omega-3-fatty acids – You need two different kinds of omega-3s, EPA and DHA. Oils from fatty fish are one of the best sources, but foods like flax seeds contain another omega-3 fat called ALA which is broken down into EPA and DHA. If you’ve ever suffered from dry eyes, these omega-3s, along with eye drops are the way to prevent it. As usual, these are also good at reducing the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Try to get 2.5 g a day.
- Bioflavonoids – The term for pigments in plants that give fruits and vegetables their different colors. These work especially well in tandem with Vitamin C, boosting its effectiveness and helping keep your cornea healthy and maintaining blood vessels in the eye. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two especially important bioflavonoids.
- Lutein – Lutein comes up a lot when the best vitamins for eyes are being discussed, but what is it? Well it is actually just a pigment found in plants, a yellow pigment to be exact and it is a great antioxidant. The reason lutein is often mentioned is because it is one of the best things you can take to reduce the risks of cataracts and macular degeneration, it’s the tops. Make sure you’re supplementing this, especially if you aren’t eating your leafy green and yellow/orange veggies.
- Zeaxanthin – You might have heard of zeaxanthin as well when talking about lutein. That is because they are almost the same thing. Both are a yellow pigment found in plants, except zeaxanthin and lutein have a tiny difference on a molecular level, a difference in the place of one bond. Other than that they perform the same functions in our bodies, but hey, now you know!