Perfect Vision: The Failures of Antioxidants

Taking antioxidant supplements does not lessen the risks and symptoms of macular degeneration, according to research published in May 13th 2013. The supposition that taking supplements of anti-oxidants alongside vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene is that it enhances and boosts eye strength, has now been exposed to have little benefit.

The chronic eye disorder known as macular degeneration causes blurred vision and blind spots, which grow worse over time. Taking a mixture of vitamins C and E, beta carotene and zinc could reduce the risk of advanced macular degeneration by a quarter, however an additional supplement of anti-oxidants could not improve this.

“We wanted to see if we could improve upon the result – make it a little better, make it a little safer,” said Dr. Emily Chew, who led the new study at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.

The research involved 4,203 participants that were aged between 50 to 85 years old, who were taking their initial vitamins and minerals to combat the problem. The doctors included lutein and zeaxanthin or two types of omega-3 fatty acids into the supplements to see whether the condition was slowed down over the next five years.

The result was that macular degeneration progressed in 29-21 percent of participants, regardless of whether or not they had taken the supplement.

“It could be that the addition of more antioxidants, and different antioxidants, doesn’t convey any additional benefits, which is probably the truth,” Cioffi concluded.

“I think if you’re at all health-conscious and have a well-rounded diet that includes dietary supplements of these antioxidants, you’re probably doing good for more than just your eyes,” she added.

By having a healthy diet, the problems of macular degeneration, as well as other age-related illnesses are kept at bay. This is not to say that vitamins and supplements cannot help, but that some may be less valuable to you than others – it’s all a matter of finding the right balance. For more information, consult your dietician or doctor.

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