Best Antioxidants for Macular Degeneration

Table of Contents

At the back of our eyes, in the macula, lies the center of the retina. The layers of this structure, which is in charge of fine, detailed center vision, are densely populated with light-sensitive cells (photoreceptors, rods, and cones) that send nerve impulses to the brain, where a visual picture is created, through the optic nerve. We see this because of the electrochemical transmission of light. 

Throughout our lifespan, oxidative stress is applied to the fovea and other retinal photoreceptors. When oxygen interacts chemically with DNA, proteins, and lipids, oxidative stress or damage results. Healthy cells are damaged by harmful and unstable oxygen and nitrogen free radicals that travel through the body in quest of an electron to neutralize them and make them more stable. According to research, oxygen and free radical damage may raise the chance of developing cancer, heart disease, and eye diseases. We produce more free radicals when we are exposed to adverse environmental conditions including air pollution, pesticides, cigarette smoke, “electromagnetic smog,” and solar UV radiation. The free radical formation is a typical aspect of aging. 

By giving a free radical an electron, neutralizing it, and stopping it from doing further harm, antioxidants may break the cycle of free radical damage. Your body produces certain antioxidants for Macular Degeneration (endogenous), but not all of them (exogenous). It’s crucial to ingest enough antioxidants for Macular Degeneration since as we get older, the body produces less of them naturally. 

Free radicals and oxidative stress have a significant negative impact on the macula. Unfortunately, the macula deteriorates with age and in certain individuals, this process is sped up. Age-related macular degeneration is the term for this (AMD). Geographic atrophy, a loss of photoreceptors, or the development of harmful new blood vessels that may enlarge, leak fluid, and leave scars are also possible outcomes of advanced AMD. The former is referred to as dry AMD, while the latter is referred to as wet or neovascular AMD. Antioxidants for Macular Degeneration interact with and neutralize free radicals to avoid cellular damage to photoreceptors. They guard against macula degradation, which may cause irreversible vision loss. 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology advises patients to maintain a balanced diet that contains dark leafy greens (such as spinach and kale) along with yellow, orange, and other vibrant fruits and vegetables in order to prevent or postpone progressive AMD. The provision of these exogenous minerals and antioxidants for Macular Degeneration is mostly dependent on dietary supplements.

The best antioxidants for Macular Degeneration are listed below: 

The Eye Carotenoids Zeaxanthin And Lutein 

There are over 700 distinct carotenoids known to exist in nature. There are between 20 and 30 carotenoids in the human body, but only lutein and zeaxanthin are present in the eye. Plants may benefit from the antioxidant power of carotenoids, which are pigments and very effective nonenzymatic antioxidants. They assist in converting free radicals into their harmless forms, stopping the chain reactions of free radicals that damage cells. The small-molecule antioxidants for Macular Degeneration known as carotenoids function by engulfing and scavenging oxygen and reactive oxygen free radical molecules. 

The macula’s yellow color is caused by macular pigments, which are produced when lutein and zeaxanthin collect there. Lutein and zeaxanthin protect the macula by acting as filters for harmful high-intensity blue light, much as in plants. Zeaxanthin and lutein have a positive impact on eye health. Numerous research and clinical trials have focused on these pigments, especially in relation to their usage in enhancing visual function, lowering the risk of AMD, and slowing the advancement of cataracts. Using lutein and zeaxanthin to treat diabetic retinopathy and prematurity-related retinopathy has also shown promising outcomes. 

The Xanthophylls subgroup of carotenoids includes lutein and zeaxanthin. The most prevalent naturally occurring carotenoid is zeaxanthin, which is present in foods including peppers, kiwi fruit, maize, grapes, squash, and oranges. Dark leafy greens, peas, summer squash, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, carrots, and pistachios are among the foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin.  Additionally, einkorn, Khorasan, durum wheat, maize, and their food products contain them in rather large amounts.

Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG)

Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) - antioxidants for macular degeneration

EGCG: What is it? 

EGCG, sometimes referred to as epigallocatechin gallate, is a catechin, a kind of plant-based chemical. Catechins may also be included under the wider class of plant chemicals known as polyphenols. 

The powerful antioxidant properties of EGCG and other similar catechins may help prevent cellular damage brought on by free radicals. 

Additionally, studies indicate that catechins like EGCG may lessen inflammation and shield against several chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, some malignancies, and of course AMD. 

Many plant-based foods naturally contain EGCG, but it is also available as a dietary supplement, often in the form of an extract.

The most prevalent and potent catechin polyphenol found in green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).  It is one of the most potent antioxidants currently known, second only to green tea. EGCG has been shown to help reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, glaucoma, and excessive cholesterol in addition to promoting macular health. Additionally, research suggests that it may enhance exercise performance and control fat metabolism. According to studies, EGCG efficiently lowers the rate of retinal cell death brought on by UVB-induced oxidative stress, protecting photoreceptor cells against retinal degeneration.

Quercetin 

Quercetin - antioxidants for macular degeneration

An example of flavanol is quercetin, which has been shown to reduce inflammation, support healthy blood vessel function, and clear cellular waste linked to aging. Red onions, apples, peppers, grapes, grape juice, black tea, green tea, leafy vegetables, broccoli, and several fruit juices are among the foods that contain it. Quercetin has outstanding antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-proliferative properties, according to research investigations. Quercetin may protect priceless retinal pigment epithelial cells, according to studies specifically focused on macular and retinal health. Recent studies have shown quercetin’s ability to reduce an excessive inflammatory response brought on by VEGF in retinal photoreceptor cells. This finding is crucial for the treatment of retinal conditions brought on by excessive VEGF.

Many fruits and vegetables are colored by a pigment called quercetin. It is mostly present in plant leaves and skins. An apple at the top of a tree may have more quercetin than an apple that doesn’t get direct sunlight because light increases the formation of quercetin. 

The terms phytochemical, polyphenol, and flavonoid all apply to quercetin. Plants generate molecules called phytochemicals that may be advantageous to human health. Phytochemicals include substances like flavonoids and polyphenols. 

Quercetin being a potent antioxidant helps fight damaging free radicals. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons that are combatted by antioxidants. Free radicals wander the body, stealing electrons from other molecules since electrons naturally desire to couple up. DNA and cells may be harmed by this process. Free radicals are “cleaned up” by quercetin by combining with their single electrons, preventing them from doing any harm. 

The average daily dietary intake of quercetin in the United States has been estimated to be between 6 and 18 milligrams (mg). However, you’re probably absorbing a lot more quercetin if you regularly consume multiple servings of fruits and vegetables.

Bilberry & Anthocyanins

One of the best natural sources of anthocyanins is the bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.). These polyphenolic elements are thought to be the primary bioactive necessary for the many documented health advantages of bilberries and other berry fruits. They also give bilberries their blue/black hue and strong antioxidant content.

Bilberry has been shown to decrease blood glucose, have anti-inflammatory and lipid-lowering properties, boost antioxidant defense, and lower oxidative stress, despite the fact that it is most often advertised for improved eyesight.

Therefore, bilberry has the potential to be useful in the treatment or prevention of illnesses including cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, diabetes, dementia, and others that are age-related and connected with inflammation, dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia, or elevated oxidative stress. Additionally, blueberries are said to have antibacterial properties. 

Vitamin E

A nonenzymatic antioxidant found in cellular membranes, vitamin E aids in the transformation of free radicals into their harmless counterparts, halting the chain events that result in cell damage. Vitamin E belongs to the class of small-molecule antioxidants, along with vitamin C and carotenoids, that eliminate reactive oxygen molecules via the process of neutralization. Eight distinct compounds are found in the family of naturally occurring vitamin E. (four tocopherols and four tocotrienols). Be careful you get all of these Vitamin E components through a healthy, balanced diet or a supplement made from natural sources. It’s crucial to understand that only one of the eight chemicals may be included in a supplement with a synthetic source.

Different forms of vitamin E are available, and it is a strong antioxidant. The type of vitamin E that best satisfies human requirements is alpha-tocopherol. The body’s primary function of vitamin E seems to be to combat oxidation. Because the eye is especially vulnerable to oxidative damage, experts believe it is crucial in preserving certain of its components. For instance, it is thought that cataracts are the result of oxidation in the eye’s lens, which is mostly brought on by UV radiation from the sun. 

Benefits for the eyes: The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) discovered that some individuals with mild age-related macular degeneration benefited from vitamin E together with other nutrients. For individuals who already had early signs of macular degeneration, the nutrients lowered the likelihood of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration by 25%. Alpha-tocopherol (a form of vitamin E), lutein, and zeaxanthin may reduce the incidence of cataracts, according to data from previous research. More study is required since other studies have not shown the importance of vitamin E for eyesight. Before using vitamin E supplements, it’s crucial to examine the appropriate dosage, any potential side effects, and alternative therapies with your doctor.

Vitamin C

A crucial mineral for people is vitamin C. A monosaccharide antioxidant, vitamin C may be found in both plants and mammals. It is a straightforward extracellular nonenzymatic antioxidant that aids in transforming free radicals into their harmless forms, stopping the chain events of free radicals that damage cells. Another small-molecule antioxidant that functions by pursuing, gathering, and then transporting the reactive oxygen molecules via a process of neutralization is vitamin C.

Zinc

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is said to be slowed down by zinc supplementation, however, there is disagreement about whether zinc has any positive effects on AMD. It seems logical to suppose that zinc may halt the course of AMD since it can induce autophagy, which is decreased in the disease. 

Variations in the CFH immune gene have been linked to age-related macular degeneration. Zinc may exacerbate the symptoms of the kinds linked to AMD since they are so susceptible to it. However, those with AMD who lack this genetic component are unaffected. It is possible for certain persons to have accelerated eye damage as a consequence of these variations’ interactions with these greater zinc concentrations. 

In the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), around two-thirds of the patients took a daily multivitamin containing 8–11 mg of zinc each day. No side effects were seen in any patients with any combination of genetic factors while receiving this amount of zinc. The benefits and dangers seem to be related to the larger dosage of zinc above and above the RDA (recommended daily allowance) included in most straightforward multivitamins since the zinc dose evaluated in AREDS/AREDS 2 was more than 25 mg/day. Individuals who should refrain from taking zinc in dosages of 25 mg per day and greater over the long term are identified by the genetic test Vita Risk.

Copper

Another essential element for the immune system, blood vessels, and brain is copper. Because copper insufficiency may result from taking too much zinc supplementation, the primary function of the copper in AREDS2 is to counteract the effects of zinc. AREDS2 includes 2 milligrams each day.

Conclusion

Diet is crucial because certain nutrients shield the body from harmful agents known as oxidants. 

It is believed that oxidants have a role in the aging process. Through accelerating cell aging, they may exacerbate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the eye.

Taking a good supplement with plenty of antioxidants for Macular Degeneration is a good way to prevent the occurrence and progression of AMD.

FAQ’s

Do antioxidants help AMD?

A certain set of antioxidant vitamins and minerals may help delay the course (worsening) of age-related macular degeneration, according to some research (AMD). 

Which dietary supplements are the best for macular degeneration? 

These persons may reduce their chance of developing late-stage or wet AMD by taking the daily dietary supplements listed below: 

  • 500 mg of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). 
  • 400 international units of vitamin E (IU) 
  • 10 milligrams of lutein. 
  • 2 milligrams of zeaxanthin. 
  • 25 milligrams of zinc (as zinc oxide),  
  • 2 milligrams of copper (as cupric oxide). 
  • Quercetin

What makes AMD worse? 

Smoking. Your risk of macular degeneration is greatly increased if you smoke cigarettes or are often exposed to smoke. Obesity. Obesity may raise the likelihood that early or intermediate macular degeneration may advance to the more severe type of the condition, according to research.

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