What Vitamins Should I Take For My Macular Degeneration?
Being diagnosed with macular degeneration can feel really overwhelming. There are so many things thrown at a person when they’re first diagnosed that it’s hard to know what to do or where to start.
One of the hottest discussions in the ‘Mac D’ world is the topic of vitamins. Do we take them, or not? Do they work, or not? Can I take this vitamin with that other medication I already take? The list goes on...
Vitamins are one of those things that seem ‘easy to do’... Until you’re forced to make a life-changing decision about them.
The truth is that we all have different needs when it comes to vitamin supplementation, and our bodies each react differently to what we take. So, in reality, knowing which vitamins are right for you can be pretty complicated.
That’s why I’m here. I’ve spent the last decade studying vitamins and learning how they process in our bodies and better understanding how to figure out exactly what we should (or shouldn’t) be taking in order to be as healthy as possible. I want to help you to better understand where to start when deciding which vitamins you want to take along your own health journey.
Vitamins are a great way to supplement nutrients that we don’t already get enough of in our daily diets. Our eyes need specific nutrients in order to function properly. Since each of us eats differently, it’s important that we each evaluate our own diets to see what we may be lacking and go from there.
For example, I’m not a huge seafood eater. I know that it’s important for my body (and eyes) to receive enough Omega-3 Fatty Acids for optimum health. So, I supplement my Omega-3 intake (or lack of it) in pill form every day.
Do supplements help cure macular degeneration?
Though it may be surprising, the answer is no. Vitamins and supplements don’t help cure macular degeneration. Vitamins don’t help cure any disease, really. So, then you may be wondering why you’d take them. Well, what vitamins do for us is help us to maintain overall health.
To put it simply, vitamins can help slow the onset or progression of diseases, not cure them. That’s why it’s imperative to know what to take for your own unique body system. What works for me may not work for you. It’s also important to stay consistent while taking vitamins.
Specifically, when it comes to macular degeneration, vitamins help keep our eyes as healthy as possible so they can function as well as can be. A person can’t expect to see noticeable changes in their eyes when taking them. We just have to know that by taking the vitamins, we’re giving our eyes love and a fighting chance.
In order to be consistent, I take my vitamins with breakfast every day. This also helps to eliminate stomach upset because I take them with a full meal. Another aspect of taking vitamins that many don’t know about is the importance of exercise.
Basically, exercise allows our bodies to release hormones that are needed in order to transport and absorb the nutrients we put into our bodies. I’ve also written an article about this: Why People with MD Don’t Just Exercise to Get Skinny.
This brings me to my next point on which vitamins we should take when battling macular degeneration. Studies show that the AREDS 2 formula is generally best. This formula includes lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc oxide, and cupric oxide.
As a quick overview, lutein and zeaxanthin help our eyes to filter harmful light from the sun. They’re the only carotenoids found in our retinas, yet our bodies don’t make either of them naturally. This means we have to get them through our diets, or we have to supplement them with vitamins in order for them to be available to our eyes.
One way to know for sure what your body needs is to do a simple genetic test. There are many of these tests available online. I paid less than $100 to test my whole family. All we had to do was send in a hair sample using a kit that was sent directly to our house.
I found out I’m sensitive to (not allergic to) things like pumpkin seeds and arugula (both items I used to eat frequently in order to nourish my body). This just means that it’s hard for my body to process these specific foods and to try to stay away from them.
What else should I consider?
Speaking of genetic testing, there’s one more really big thing to know about when supplementing vitamins for the health of our eyes. About 15% of people who take the AREDS 2 formula of vitamins for macular degeneration are sensitive to zinc. This means that the high levels of zinc in this recommended formula are harmful to our eyes.
ArcticDX tests for this specific gene. It was a quick cheek swab, and it gave me a lot of useful information. I found out that I am, in fact, in that 15%... So, I shouldn’t take the AREDS 2 formula. I take lutein and zeaxanthin in a different formula instead. My hair test also flagged a reaction to zinc, which I thought was really interesting.
Taking time to do our research
There is so much to know when considering what vitamins to take in order to keep our eyes healthy. I hope this article helps you to sort out some of the information so you can start to research what your body (and eyes) need for optimal health.
What eye vitamins do you take?
Do you find the eye doctor's waiting room to be stressful?