Van's Health Foods

In Historic Downtown Livermore since 1972

According to earlier studies, depression may have a link to cells damaged by oxidative stress. In this analysis, doctors compared antioxidant levels to signs of depression in 1,798 adults aged 20 to 85 and found, compared to those with lowest levels, people with the highest circulating levels of antioxidant carotenoids were 59 percent less likely to have depressive symptoms. There was also a direct link: as carotenoid levels increased, signs of depression decreased.

Carotenoids–the naturally occurring bright red, yellow, and orange pigments in fruits and vegetables like carrots–are powerful antioxidants. Doctors found three carotenoids in particular were most closely linked to better mood; beta-carotene in both men and women, and lutein and zeaxanthin in women only. Lutein and¬†zeaxanthin also protect eyesight, as many earlier studies have confirmed. Discussing their findings, doctors said antioxidants may help reduce oxidative damage in the brain and hope new studies reveal more mood benefits of antioxidants.

Reference: British Journal of Nutrition; August, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the February 2013 newsletter

Van's Health on February - 28 - 2013

Omega-3’s help slow vision loss

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is an inherited disease of the retina of the eye that first reduces peripheral, and then central vision, and makes it difficult to see at night. While there is no cure, doctors often prescribe vitamin A, which the retina needs to survive. In this study, researchers measured omega-3’s in the diets of 357 adults with RP who had been taking 15,000 IU of vitamin A palmitate per day for an average of five years, under the care of a physician.

Comprared to those who consumed low levels of omega-3’s, those who got an average of at least 200 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day saw acuity for distance vision decline 40 percent more slowly annually, and central field-of-vision decline 50 percent more slowly. Doctors explained that omega-3’s help proteins in the eye transport vitamin A to the retina.


Zeaxanthin and lutein improve vision in AMD

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the loss of sight in the central field of vision, the most common form of blindness. In this study, 60 people, average age 75, with mild to moderate AMD, took 8 mg of zeaxanthin per day, alone or with 9 mg of lutein, or lutein alone. After one year, those taking zeaxanthin could read 1.5 more lines on the standard eye chart and had lost all blind spots. Those who took lutein could better detect subtle contrasts and recover from glare faster. Doctors concluded that zeaxanthin improves high-contrast vision, and lutein improves low-contrast vision and glare recovery in AMD.

Reference: Archives of Ophthamology; February, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the June 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on July - 5 - 2012
categories: Supplements, Vitamins

Clear Vision, Healthy Eyes

Nutrients slowed visual decline and preserved sight in older adults

In a lutein study, 225 non-smokers with a progressive blindness disease (retinitis pigmentosa), aged 18 to 60, took 12 mg of lutein per day, or a placebo, along with 15,000 IU of vitamin A palmitate. After four years, those in the lutein group had less loss of mid-peripheral vision compared to placebo. Lutein, a natural plant-based yellow carotenoid, increased pigment levels in the macula of the eye. Those with the greatest increase in pigment had the lowest decline in vision.

In an eye disease study, researchers measured fats in the diets of 6,734 older adults. Those who consumed the most trans-fats (hydrogenated oils) were 76 percent more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD) than those who consumed the least. For omega-3s, chances were 15 percent lower, and for olive oil, 52 percent lower.

In another AMD study, doctors measured the diets and signs of early-stage AMD in 2,454 older adults, and followed up for 10 years. Those who ate one serving of fish per week, took omega-3 fatty acid supplements, or ate one to two servings of nuts per week were up to 35 percent less likely to develop early AMD compared to those who did not. In general, those who consumed lower than average levels of the omega-6 linoleic acid, were non-smokers, had a higher ratio of HDL (the “good” cholesterol) to total cholesterol, or who consumed more beta carotene than average, were least likely to develop early AMD. Doctors said that balancing nutrients helps maximize health benefit.

Reference: Archives of Ophthalmology; 2010, Vol. 128, No. 4, 403-11

This article was also published in our newletter “Natural Insights for Well Being”, September 2010. Stop by Van’s Health Foods at 2148 First Street Livermore, CA or call us at 925-447-2976 to be added to our mailing list.

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Thank you,

The Van’s Health Foods Team

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