Promoting Eye Health? – Bilberry, Lutein and Zeaxanthin

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One of the complications brought on by diabetes that troubles me the most is Diabetic Retinopathy. It is a diabetic disease of the eye that is caused by the damage in the blood vessels in the retina. Essentially, it is caused by poor blood glucose control. Very poor blood control can lead to total blindness.

Beyond keeping my blood glucose as normal as possible, I also take Bilberry, Lutein and Zeaxanthin to limit my chances of developing retinopathy. Despite what some sites say about these supplements being useless or inconclusive, there is a scientific body of evidence that argues that they do combat retinopathy.

For instance, a study in the International Journal of Ophthalmology demonstrated that diabetics with early retinopathy who took Lutein and Zeaxanthin (L/Z) for three months had improved visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and macular edema (i.e., fluid build up in the macula). The study concluded that L/Z supplementation may “be targeted as potential therapeutic agents in treating NDR [nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy]”. Another study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology argues that there is growing evidence that suggest that L/Z are key antioxidants that may “exhibit neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory function in the retina.”

I don’t want to go blind in the next thirty or forty years. I’ll continue to take these supplements to limit that chance.