They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, the ultimate lie detectors and the place where the magic happens between two people. More importantly, our eyes are our guides in this world and what we use to enhance our other 4 senses.
The eye’s responsibility is to take in light and perceive objects around us in the proper color, detail, and depth. They are also a part of what helps us to maintain our balance and enhance our daily functions.
Our eyes are the most sensitive organ in the body and the most common organ to begin deteriorating from a very young age (hence, young children wearing glasses).
How do vitamins help with eye health?
As we age, so do our eyes and their ability to function at its best. This can be due to smoking, lack of nutrition, a toxic build-up in the body, toxins in the air and a lack of exercise. We may find that we have trouble adjusting to glares or in need of glasses to see things up close. Macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and low vision are all common problems that the aging population faces today.
Supplementing with vitamins can play an important role in the prevention and mitigation of these illnesses.
So which vitamins are good for the eyes? There are so many different types of vitamins but which ones are best? Below are the vitamins we should be looking out for along with whole foods that can help prevent and improve vision-related problems.
1. Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are carotenoids that show up as yellow and red pigments in vegetables and other foods. They are potent antioxidants that fight against free radical damage in the eyes. These 2 nutrients are found in high concentrations in the macula (the part of the eye that gives us the ability to see 20/20) and give the eye its yellowish color. A number of studies have proven that Lutein and Zeaxanthin slow the progression and help prevent macular degeneration by blocking blue light from entering the sensitive areas of the eye. This helps reduce the risk of light-induced oxidative damage. An article published by the journal of Ophthalmology goes into more detail about these findings, See this study by Hindawi to learn more
2. B Vitamins
There are eight B vitamins that make up the complex of all the B nutrients. These vitamins play a crucial role in the body’s chemical processes and regulation. B vitamins are produced in the gastrointestinal tract but can become quickly depleted by stress, anxiety and digestive problems amongst other things. They are also water-soluble vitamins, which means the body does not store them for later use.
B-1 (also known as Thiamine) helps boost energy levels, protect nerve endings and play a role in muscle contraction amongst many other functions. A deficiency can result in eye muscle weakness, blurry vision and can also cause the eye to tremble, a condition known as Nystagmus. B-1 helps the eyes by reducing inflammation and protecting the eye’s nerves.
A deficiency in Riboflavin, which is B-2, can cause eye redness and fatigue, irritation and sensitivity to light. It too acts as an antioxidant to protect the eye from free radical damage. B2 has been associated with helping to reduce the risk of Cataracts, along with vitamin E, C, and Selenium. An article published by the US National Library of Medicine goes into detail about how Riboflavin and other nutrients work together to keep Cataracts at bay, click here to find out more, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11302779
B-12 or Cobalamin is found in animal-based food and is usually taken in sublingual form by vegans or vegetarians who do not have readily available access to this nutrient. B-12 supports proper nerve and red blood cell formation and proper development of the brain. A deficiency of B-12 can cause reduced color vision and painless vision loss.
Although B vitamins play specific roles, they work synergistically, in that they function better when taken together. Taking one B vitamin can deplete others, so it’s best to take a Complex B vitamin supplement and reap the benefits of them all.
3. Omega 3
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties, supports brain function and eye health. Omega 3 also plays a role in preventing macular degeneration while it’s lubricating properties protect against dry eyes. Omega 3 is not produced in the body so external sources in the form of supplements and food, like freshwater fish and avocados, are important to ensure you are getting this healthy fat into your diet.
4. Vitamin A
Vitamin A, also known as Beta Carotene, is a fat-soluble vitamin and is probably one of the most commonly known vitamins for eyesight. Deficiency in this vitamin can cause your eyes and tear ducts to dry out and also increase the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, which means that your body will store what it doesn’t need. Because of this, it’s best to take Vitamin A in a daily multivitamin form to keep within the RDA (recommended daily allowance)
5. Whole Foods
Complimenting your supplements with whole, live foods is an essential way to support the optimal vision and prevent future eye problems while keeping the whole body healthy.
Incorporating a high antioxidant, nutrient-dense and high fiber diet is essential to having healthy eyes.
Some whole foods that contain readily available nutrients for the eyes include:
- Green and yellow vegetables
- green bell pepper
- leafy greens
- whole grains
- nuts and seeds
- freshwater fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovy)
Avoid white sugar, pastries, cakes, and coffee as they contain no nutrients, can lower immune system function and leeches water from the body.
Our vision brings us lasting memories, it lets us see the beauty of our world and keeps our other senses stimulated. Incorporating the best halal vitamins that include proper eye supplementation, will help to maintain healthy eyes as we age and will improve our quality of life, and keep us active. Let’s begin to pay more attention to the health of our eyes as we take preventative measures and improve our daily habits.
Dr. Dina Khairie is a medical specialist who has spent nearly a decade in key positions at NoorVitamins. After receiving her doctorate in pharmacy from St. John’s University in New York, she began her career working as a supervising clinical pharmacist in the community pharmacy arena.