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Eye Vitamins: How Much Zinc Is Too Much Zinc?

After my dry macular degeneration diagnosis 8 years ago, I started taking eye vitamins. It didn’t seem complicated. Many eye doctors recommended PreserVision based on the AREDS 2 study. However, today, there are numerous choices based on this same study.1

PreserVision and GI issues

Until a few months ago, I didn’t make any connection between some gastrointestinal issues (GI) I’ve developed and the high levels of zinc in PreserVision.

The recommended amount of zinc

The recommended daily zinc dosage for a woman is 8 mg and 11mg for men. I was taking 80 mg daily. Curiosity drove me to several different websites for side effects of zinc overages for an extended time (any amount over 40mg a day is considered extreme). One of the side effects was GI issues, along with several other health concerns. I decided it was time to get serious about researching eye vitamins and seeing if it had any effect on my GI issues!2,3

Making a change in eye vitamins

My first action was to call my retina specialist and ask about alternative eye vitamins with lower zinc. Their recommendation was to cut the Presser Vision dosage in half to see if I got any relief. They had no other alternatives. That didn’t set well with me because I was also sacrificing other beneficial vitamins, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. At this point, I decided to do more research and found there were multiple alternatives, many based on the AREDS 2 formula shown to slow the progression of dry macular degeneration by as much as 25%.

For starters, I quit taking the 80mg zinc daily to see if I noticed any changes. After a month, my GI symptoms declined enough to encourage me to continue cutting back on zinc. However, I still wanted the benefits of the lutein and  zeaxanthin.

In my search, I listed 10 different eye vitamins on a spread sheet to find the best formula for ME! Sometimes we need to be our own health advocates.

Here’s What I Found

My research provided insight into other options with lower zinc levels.

The formula recommended in the AREDS 2 Study:1,3

  • 10mg Lutein
  • 2mg Zeaxanthin
  • 500mg Vit. C
  • 400 units Vit. E
  • 80 mg Zinc
  • 2mg Copper

Personally, my biggest concern was the 80 mg of zinc so I focused on retaining the lutein and zeaxanthin while lowering the zinc. I also read that studies indicate that lowering the zinc did not change the benefits of slowing the progression of MD. The other vitamins were negligible and covered in my regular diet.

Finding what works for you

Of the 10 eye vitamins I researched, three had NO zinc. You also get zinc from eating a healthy diet, which I have done for years. I prefer getting vitamins from food naturally than from a pill and  feel confident my vitamin requirements are met.

The three I found with no zinc also met the AREDS 2 recommendation for lutein and zeaxanthin. Those three brands are: True Nature Lutein & Zeaxanthin, Vision Alive Max and MacuShield. Ironically, all three require one gel or capsule a day. I was taking two a day. True Nature seemed the least expensive and is available at Costco, Amazon and Walmart. Thanks to this research, I will be making some changes.

I hope sharing my process has inspired you to be your own advocate and do the research - You’re worth it! Notice any adverse changes? If so, it may be the amount of zinc you’re taking!

Editor's Note: Before you making any changes to your treatment plan, please be sure to talk to a healthcare professional.

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