Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
The central and most important part of the eye’s retina is called the macular and it converts the images that we see into tiny electrical impulses which are then sent to the brain where they are then translated into what we perceive as our sight. The job of the macular is to focus our central vision which is essential for reading, driving, recognising people’s facial features and seeing things in fine detail.
Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in people over the age of fifty-five, with over ten million cases in the States alone. This figure looks set to double by the year 2020 as all of the baby-boomers are now at the age that they are starting to develop these types of eye conditions, and also because more and more people are living longer. It is an eye disease that affects the central part of the retina called the macula and hence where it gets its name from. The statistics are that it effects both men and women exactly the same but it is more common in white people than in black. Its exact cause is still unknown but it can tend to run in some families and it affects more American people than both cataracts and glaucoma combined.
There are two different types of macular degeneration; one being atrophic, or dry, and the other one being exudative, or wet. The dry form is by far the most common, with eighty-five to ninety-percent of all cases falling into this category. Both types of this eye disease can affect both eyes at the same time but, quite often, one eye will develop it before the other. Regular eye examinations are essential for the early diagnoses of this disease and, if caught early enough, steps can be taken to help prevent the still good eye from degenerating in the same way as the other one. Macular degeneration can cause serious visual impairment and affects both the central field of vision as well as the peripheral field. It does not generally affect the subject’s ability to see colours and it is rare that it will lead to complete blindness.
Conventional medicine unfortunately offers little, or no, hope to macular degeneration sufferers but, thankfully, an alternative, more holistic approach can help, and leading researchers are now documenting the benefits. Patients are advised to increase their overall physical fitness and to improve their nutritional intake from their diet including; reducing their intake of saturated fats, abstain from smoking and alcohol, and to protect their eyes from excessive exposure to sunlight. They are also recommended to improve their body’s overall metabolic and vascular functionality by the regular use of dietary supplements including; antioxidants, trace elements and essential vitamins and minerals. Patient education and early screening offer the best hopes for reducing the occurrences of this debilitating eye disease.
Age-related macular degeneration treatment with Zeaxanthin and Lutein
Zeaxanthin and lutein are the primary two carotenoids found in the macula of the eye which give it its yellowish appearance and help to counteract the damage of free-radical formation by the action of light and oxygen. This macula pigment density helps to protect the retina in two different ways; firstly by scavenging and quenching free-radicals and, secondly, by filtering out the blue light rays which can cause photochemical damage to the macular. Several studies have shown a direct link between supplementation with these two dietary carotenoids and an increase in macular pigment density which then gives far better protection to the macular.
Early researchers originally thought that dark-green leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale, were the highest natural sources of these two essential carotenoids from our diet, but more recent studies have shown that this is, in fact, not the case. One study carried out to find the highest levels of zeaxanthin and lutein in our diet studied thirty-three different fruits, vegetables, juices and egg yolks. Contrary to the earlier researchers findings, they found that egg yolks and maize, in fact, had the highest levels of these two carotenoids; with more than eighty-five-percent of total carotenoid content. Maze was found to have the highest lutein content, with sixty-percent, and orange peppers had the highest content of zeaxanthin, with thirty-seven-percent. Substantial amounts, between thirty to fifty-percent, were also found in kiwi fruit, grapes, orange juice and zucchini. In comparison, green-leafy vegetables only had between fifteen to forty-seven-percent of lutein, and only zero to three-percent of zeaxanthin. Even with these much lower amounts, the earlier studies had shown that eating those green-leafy vegetables had reduced the risks of contracting macular degeneration by as much as forty-three-percent. So, with this new evidence of foods containing even higher levels of these two essential carotenoids, these figures should be significantly higher also.
Besides opting for a more healthy lifestyle, and eating more healthily, it is a very wise idea to supplement with zeaxanthin and lutein as an ounce of prevention is far better than a pound of cure. The very best way to supplement with these two essential carotenoids is to use a sublingual mouth spray as it delivers them directly to the eyes 900 times more effectively than oral supplementation with pills, tablets or capsules. You simply spray the mouth spray, directly under your tongue, and wait for a few minutes, before swilling it around your cheeks, and then swallowing it. This is, by far, the fastest method to get the supplements directly into your blood stream and they then get delivered, directly to the eyes where they are needed the most, in just a couple of minutes.
Supplementing in this way will help build up the macular pigment density within your eyes and thus give you much better natural protection from macular degeneration. If you have macular degeneration in one eye it will help to stop it from developing in the other eye. Also, be sure to only buy supplements which contain high levels of zeaxanthin in them. As it is a lot more expensive than lutein, many supplement manufacturers only use token amounts of zeaxanthin in their products, so that they can include it in the ingredients list on their label, but there then isn’t really enough in their product to give you any beneficial results. The best recommendation is to take at least 5mg to 10mg per day of zeaxanthin, so be sure to only use a product which will give you the required dosage to ensure that you will see the most beneficial results.
Age-related macular degeneration treatment with Carnosine and N-Acetyl-Carnosine eye drops
L-Carnosine, more commonly known as Carnosine (AKA Ignotine) is a dipeptide of the two amino acids Beta-Alanine and L-Histidine. It is naturally occurring in all our bodies, but it depletes with age by about ten-percent per year after the age of thirty.
It is the only supplement available, anywhere in the world, which possess the unique ability to actually regenerate and rejuvenate cells. It also extends the Hayflick factor, which is the number of times that a cell can divide and multiply before it finally dies. It is also a super-antioxidant and free-radical scavenger that effectively quenches even the most destructive free radicals; the hydroxyl and peroxyl radicals, singlet oxygen and superoxide. It is also an excellent anti-glycating agent and the most effective anti-carbonylation agent discovered so far; carbonylation is one of the pathological steps in the age-related degradation of proteins within the body.
Early studies showed that daily supplementation with Carnosine could protect against, and even start to reverse, many degenerative eye diseases including; macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. As already stated above, oral ingestion of supplements isn’t the best way to deliver them to the eyes, and especially as the blood supply to the eyes reduces as we age. So, for this very reason, eye drops containing the Carnosine derivative, N-Acetyl-Carnosine (or NAC for short), were developed to deliver the Carnosine through the cornea and into the eye below, where it can then go to work protecting the eye and helping to repair any damage.
The very best treatment currently available for macular degeneration is to take Carnosine as an oral supplement, apply NAC eye drops hourly throughout the day, and use a zeaxanthin and lutein sublingual spray which delivers at least 5mg to 10mg of zeaxanthin as its daily dose. There is already anecdotal evidence from people who have been using this regime of treatment, for between six and twelve months, who claim that their macular degeneration has started to reverse and their vision has improved, which previously was unheard of. More research and clinical trials are now needed to verify these very encouraging findings but, in the meantime, when your eye doctor says that there is unfortunately nothing that can be done, it is well worth exploring all other avenues.