How to Beat Macular Degeneration with Optimal Food and Supplement Choices

How to Beat Macular Degeneration with Optimal Food and Supplement Choices

Studies are continuing to surface which prove the beneficial effects of avoiding processed foods and eating healthier. Now, there is evidence of dietary and supplemental choices which may help you beat or possibly slow down macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of blindness in America. It is a simple fix for a serious problem that just may be avoidable.

Get More Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Carotenoids are healthy compounds found in what makes up the bright colors of fruits and vegetables. Two carotenoids that are the poster compounds of macular degeneration are lutein and zeaxanthin. These ‘rock stars’ of the visual health community continually emerge in study after study as highly effective nutritional choices for beating or slowing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

According to a report by USA Today’s ‘Cincinnati’ ,

“Harvard Medical School research indicates components of some common vegetables may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration. In the study, researchers gave supplements of two carotenoids – lutein and zeaxanthin – to rhesus monkeys. A rhesus monkey’s eyes have the same complex structure as a human eye, making them a model study subject. Results indicated that the supplements were successful in increasing retinal levels of both lutein and zeaxanthin. Researchers think that increasing these carotenoids is sort of like adding sunglasses for the retina.”

A study by researchers at the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology concluded that,

“Most of the dark green leafy vegetables, previously recommended for a higher intake of lutein and zeaxanthin, have 15-47% of lutein, but a very low content (0-3%) of zeaxanthin. Our study shows that fruits and vegetables of various colors can be consumed to increase dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin.”

Stop the boxed cereals, muffins, bagels, butter, bacon, and sugary drinks. Add more foods that contain lutein and zeaxanthin. As mentioned in the study, these would be raw (not overly cooked or swimming in a sugary syrup) colorful, fruits and vegetables

Add in the Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that assists a multitude of systemic functions which includes wound repair, sexual development and visual strength. Known as the “helper molecule,” zinc is responsible for transporting vitamin A from the liver to the retina which is ground zero for the development of macular degeneration. Here, the vitamin A proceeds to develop melanin which is a protective pigment essential to eye health. Because the body does not produce its own reserve of zinc it must be obtained from food and supplements.

Foods high in zinc include: Red meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, wheat germ, mixed nuts, black-eyed peas, tofu and beans.

According to a report by the American Optometric Association,

“The landmark Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), sponsored by the National Eye Institute, established that AMD is linked to nutrition. The study showed that individuals at high risk for AMD could slow the progression of advanced AMD by about 25 percent and visual acuity loss by 19 percent by taking 40-80 mg/day of zinc, along with certain antioxidants.”

Therefore, in addition to eating foods high in zinc it is recommended to take a supplement that includes zinc (zinc alone won’t do the trick and high doses can upset the stomach). The Cleveland Health Clinic cites this updated formula derived from the second Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS2) as:

  • 500 mg of vitamin C
  • 400 international units of vitamin E
  • 25 mg zinc as zinc oxide
  • 2 mg copper as cupric oxide
  • 10 mg lutein
  • 2 mg zeaxanthin

Build a Better Diet

In his book, ‘How I Beat Macular Degeneration in the Early Stages and How You Can, Too!’, health and nutrition researcher, Alan N. McClain describes optimal food and supplement choices for visual strength. His book has become popular amongst I.T. (internet technology) and aviation professionals, two occupations wholly reliant on vision. Other professionals such as surgeons, military personnel, law enforcement and scientists can also use McClain’s work that cites specifics easily implemented into your diet.

One example of anti-AMD choices are these breakfast ideas based on an excerpt from ‘How I Beat Macular Degeneration in the Early Stages and How You Can, Too!’:


Some good choices:

  • 1-2 8oz glasses of distilled water (easily and inexpensively purchased at your local supermarket or can be made yourself by simply boiling and cooling water)
  • A bowl of organic, cleaned apricots, blueberries, blackberries
  • Handful or two of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 boiled egg
  • Mixed nuts
  • Purple grape juice (no sugar, corn syrup or high fructose added)
  • Oatmeal with almond, rice, soy or skim milk
  • Wheat germ (sprinkled on cereal, toast)
  • Ground flaxseed (sprinkled on cereal, toast)
  • Orange juice
  • Black coffee

Some poor choices:

  • Sugary cereals
  • Corn flakes
  • Raisin bran
  • Raisins
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Coffee creamer
  • Energy bars
  • Excessive dairy

The Cincinnati report also states that,

“Adding kale, Swiss chard, spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, beet greens, red peppers and chicory to your diet might reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration. All these vegetables have high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, the carotenoids used in the Harvard study.”

In addition, the AREDS2 supplement per day will add to nutrition based sources and cover low levels if they occur.

Avoid the Hype, Take it Slow and Steady

These days it isn’t easy sifting through supermarket aisles. It seems like every other item advertises healthy eating despite the long list of synthetic ingredients hidden in tiny print on the back. We have been conditioned to react to slick marketing which often uses target words such as natural, organic, and fresh hoping for a mindless, impulsive purchase. These are the boxed, canned, packaged foods so far removed from their natural state they may be robbing us of the ability to obtain proper nutrition.

Choose to beat macular degeneration with optimal food and supplement choices. Sometimes it is the simple things in life we may need. Yes, it is more of an effort to prepare and cook fresh food. It may also be expensive to purchase vitamin, mineral, and enzyme supplements. Therefore, any choice you make to improve your chances of avoiding macular degeneration should be slow and steady so as not to overwhelm and discourage.

According to studies regarding visual health, adjusting your diet to include more plant based foods and less processed choices is one of the easiest fixes. Don’t succumb to eating irresponsibly because of a long line of corporate manipulation. Break the mold and take control of your life and health by utilizing foods that are not stepped on, sugared, dyed and packaged simply for convenience. Add in an exercise program to compliment your healthy diet and there is a chance you can avoid developing macular degeneration or slow down your current diagnosis.