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PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

Vitamins may slow vision loss

July 30, 2007|Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Special to The Times

I have been diagnosed with the onset of macular degeneration. The eye doctor said there is no cure.

Are there any vitamins or other nutritional supplements that might slow the process down? I'd like to keep my vision for as long as possible.

Research has shown that several nutritional factors can slow the development of macular degeneration. A study in 2001 called AREDS demonstrated that vitamins C and E, together with beta carotene and the minerals zinc and copper, could slow vision loss (Archives of Ophthalmology, October 2001).

A Dutch study in 2005 confirmed that these nutrients can be helpful in preventing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Research also shows that people who eat more fish are less susceptible to AMD, presumably because of the omega-3 fats in fish. This spring, scientists published reports that vitamin D also can reduce the risk of AMD (Archives of Ophthalmology, May 2007).

The most recent research shows that a diet rich in refined carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour is not good for the eyes (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July). People who ate such "high-glycemic index" diets were almost 50% more likely to develop advanced macular degeneration.

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I cannot take statin-type drugs. Is there a natural way to get triglycerides down?

Triglycerides have just been shown to increase the risk of heart attacks (Journal of the American Medical Assn., July 18). Fish oil is a natural way to lower this risk factor for heart disease.

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Joe Graedon, a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon, an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition, can be reached at www.peoplespharmacy.com or care of this newspaper.

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