Monitor Your Zinc, Slow Down AMD

Monitor Your Zinc, Slow Down AMD

Whether you have age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or are concerned about developing it, making sure you monitor the trace mineral zinc in your body just may help. This mineral is essential for so many systemic functions that could be compromised when it is low or malabsorbed.

Add in how some pharmaceuticals are contradicted for zinc and given what your diet consists of or how your body processes food you could be struggling with low or overabundant zinc and not even know it. 

Several studies of the AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study ) formulas I & II show the benefits of zinc supplements and AMD. Now it is determined that in addition to the AREDS formulas, certain single dose protocols of what is known as “free” zinc intake may slow down AMD and buy you time.

However, other studies are suggesting less zinc due to findings that too much may actually contribute to AMD. It’s a confusing mashup of information that should be heeded and responsibly monitored by you and your doctor to help battle this elusive disease. 

The Zinc Link

Behind iron, zinc is the second most abundant trace element in the human body with high concentrations found in the eye. 

As reported by MD Mag, according to Po-Jung Pao, with the Department of Ocular Biology and Therapeutics and the Department of Structural and Molecular Biology at University College London,

“Ocular zinc is localized to the RPE [retinal pigment epithelial cells] /choroid complex, where a deficiency or overload of the element can lead to a “variety of problems.”, Increased availability of zinc appears to be directly involved in the development and probably maintenance of a mature and healthy RPE,”

Science Daily reported, 

“A team of scientists, including three researchers at George Mason University, found that the mineral zinc could play a role in the development of macular degeneration. In studying eye tissue samples, the researches found that deposits, that are hallmarks of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), contain large amounts of zinc.”

Too much zinc has also been linked to the potential development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Yet, on the other hand, zinc is a known immune booster helping your body fight viruses such as the common cold. 

Keep Zinc at Bay

Getting a simple blood test could determine your levels of zinc yet most doctors are not concerned about this because zinc deficiency is very low in America. It is important to note that, as reported by Science Direct, the following are associated with zinc: 

  • Free and not total zinc concentration is important for the interpretation of biological function
  • Zinc supplementation affected RPE phenotype
  • Zinc supplementation can modulate the secretion of AMD-associated protein
  • Regulation of zinc availability could be key for retinal function
  • The positive effect of zinc supplementation in AMD is, at least partly, due to an effect on RPE

Knowing how much zinc is distributed throughout your body could be highly advantageous when it comes to AMD. However, it is important to note that absorbing zinc through natural means could be more beneficial than supplementation. 

Monitor and Restore

Zinc is essential for a variety of cognitive and five sense functions. When it comes to vision it helps mobilize Vitamin A and deliver it to the eyes. Excessive iron and calcium supplementation may compromise the beneficial effects of zinc. Other possible causes of zinc deficiency according to Optometry Times, include

• Vegan or vegetarian diet

• Excessive copper in drinking water from copper plumbing

• Excessive cereal or refined wheat intake

• Excess alcohol and/or high-fructose corn syrup intake

• Climate, sweating, and strenuous exercise

• Medications such as statins, acid blockers, and anti-hypertensive angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors

It is a fine line between over supplementing or under supplementing. This is why it is recommended to obtain zinc from natural sources.

Natural Zinc Supplementation

Gaining zinc from natural dietary sources is more advantageous than a pill supplement. Your body is capable of absorbing and utilizing the zinc mineral through these natural sources way more effectively than synthetic attempts. 

The best sources off animal product zinc include:

  • Oysters
  • Beef
  • Lobster
  • Pork
  • Yogurt 

Non-Animal product zinc is:

  • Fortified cereals
  • Toasted wheat germ
  • Firm tofu
  • Hemp seeds
  • Lentils
  • Oatmeal
  • Wild rice
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Black beans

Adding more of these foods to your diet can significantly affect your vision health, particularly when it comes to macular degeneration. More and more studies are showing how natural, food sourcing of minerals such as zinc and many other non-synthetic nutritional compounds far outweigh supplements. However, if the above foods are not in your diet on a daily basis supplementing may be an excellent adjunct to balance proper zinc levels. 

Zinc Supplementation for AMD Health

Zinc fluctuations, according to recent research, could affect current or future AMD development. Therefore, checking your levels through your doctor’s assessment of a blood test will give you a base reference. According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology,

“Persons older than 55 years should have dilated eye examinations to determine their risk of developing advanced AMD. Those with extensive intermediate size drusen [yellow growth in the retina], at least 1 large drusen, non-central geographic atrophy in 1 or both eyes, or advanced AMD or vision loss due to AMD in 1 eye, and without contraindications such as smoking, should consider taking a supplement of antioxidants plus zinc such as that used in this study.”

If supplementation is recommended, Dr. Richer of Optometry Times reports that, 

“For males over age 40 and females approaching menopause, zinc supplementation is wise in order to maintain systemic health because the diet provides marginal amounts of zinc. For these patients, suggested dosage is 25 to 30 mg per day with accompanying vitamin B6 (no more than 25 mg) to increase absorption…I also suggest 200 mcg of selenium to facilitate release of zinc from its binding protein metallothionein. While zinc pills don’t cure AMD, taking zinc pills may help AMD patients live longer.”

Talk to your doctor or optometrist about your zinc levels. It could be an excellent way to get ahead of the curve when it comes to macular degeneration and AMD.