One of the things that the over-60 crowd fears most is macular degeneration.
Although the percentage of people with this eye disease is only 1.5% in people over 40 years old, that number increases dramatically with age. So much so that by the time you reach 80, the number can be as high as 15%, or 1 in 7.
And macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60. So, anything you can do to prevent it is welcome news.
Most everybody who has looked into this knows that lutein, zeaxanthin, bilberry extract, zinc, and astaxanthin are critical nutrients for preventing macular degeneration. But now a new study is pointing to some other important nutrients that it seems we just can’t get enough of.
The authors start off their report by noting the “growing evidence of the importance of nutrition in age-related macular degeneration.” And then they mention that only a few studies have looked at the importance of folate and other B vitamins.
To do the study, the researchers looked at 2,525 men and women with early signs of macular degeneration. Then they followed them over the next 13 years to see how many of them progressed to a condition known as geographic atrophy. Geographic atrophy is an advanced form of dry macular degeneration that’s severe and does not respond to any kind of treatment.
At the same time, the investigators examined the subjects’ nutritional intake of the different B vitamins. Here’s what they found.
Three B vitamins stood out: folate, thiamine (B1), and riboflavin (B2). According to the authors, “There was a reduced risk of progression to geographic atrophy with increasing intake of thiamine, riboflavin, and folate.”
The higher the intake of these B vitamins, the lower the chance of getting geographic atrophy and blindness even if you already have the early signs of macular degeneration. Here’s the take home message.
Everyone over the age of 60 should have a complete eye examination every five years. Ask the doctor specifically if he sees any signs of drusen. Drusen are yellow deposits under the retina. They are made up of a fatty protein.
While drusen are not necessarily the cause of macular degeneration, their presence indicates a significantly increased risk of getting it. So, if your doctor tells you that you have drusen, here’s what you should do.
First, start taking the nutrients I mentioned earlier. They are known to reduce the chance of getting macular degeneration.
Second, if you aren’t already taking it for general reasons, start taking one to two scoops every day of my Super Immune QuickStart. It’s loaded with B vitamins, especially folic acid, thiamine, and riboflavin.
Merle, B.M., R.E. Silver, et al. “Dietary folate, B vitamins, genetic susceptibility and progression to advanced nonexudative age-related macular degeneration with geographic atrophy: a prospective cohort study.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 April;103(4):1135-44.