Do vitamin supplements prevent macular degeneration?
There’s evidence vitamins can slow the progression of existing macular degeneration.
Vitamin and mineral supplements won’t prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration. But there is some evidence taking supplements containing vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc may slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration in those who already have it. This evidence comes from two major systematic reviews published this year, conducted by the Cochrane collaboration.
The reason researchers thought about testing dietary supplements for eye disease relates to how the eyes convert light into sight. Light gets absorbed into pigments in the retina at the back of the eye. This process produces byproducts called free radicals. Free radicals are oxygen atoms that have unpaired electrons, which makes them highly reactive and unstable. As these atoms hunt around to find another electron so they can become more stable, they trigger damage to other molecules, the walls of cells and to DNA. In the eyes, this contributes to gradual loss of vision.
Anti-oxidants are nutrients that absorb free radicals and include vitamin A, C and E, the minerals zinc and selenium, and many phytonutrients found in edible plants including vegetables and fruit. Theoretically if more anti-oxidant nutrients were present in the eye, less damage should be done to the eye. Lets look at what the scientific evidence says.
The first review looked at people who already had age-related macular degeneration and includes research published up until March 2017. They found 19 trials in adults who already had early or moderate macular degeneration. Nine studies compared people taking vitamin supplements to those either not taking them or being given a placebo (dummy) capsule for periods of time from nine months to six years….
Source: The Conversation