Macular degeneration may be helped with proper nutrition. Food for macular degeneration is becoming a growing area of many eye care practices. Many patients and doctors are learning about the power of food for macular degeneration. There are specific foods that when consumed on a daily basis may actually slow down the degenerative aspects of macular degeneration. Proper nutrition will improve all aspects of health in the eye and the entire body. Patients diagnosed with any form of macular degeneration should be consuming dark green leafy vegetables on a daily basis. These grees can consist of spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens and mustard greens. These greens should be gently cooked or juiced to break down the cell wall and improve the bioavailability of the nutrients. Lutein is the most valuable nutrient that is in the dark green leafy vegetables and highest concentrations in kale then spinach. These greens must be organically grown to avoid the toxic amounts of pesticides that are used on non organically grown greens. Orange, yellow and red bell peppers are extremely nutritious for the retina do to their high amounts of zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin is a super carotenoid like lutein that actually increases macular pigment density when consumed in foods or supplements. Studies now indicate that an increased macular pigments density may be protective against macular degeneration. Some studies even indicate that when increasing the consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin actual visual performance may increase. Goji berries are the food that contains the highest amount of zeaxanthin so eating goji berries on a daily basis is advisable to patients with a history of macular degeneration in the family or if they have been diagnosed with macular degeneration themselves. Eating wild Alaskan Salmon three times a week is advisable do to the omega three and astaxanthin content. Also eat the skin of the salmon since it is one of the only places in nature that meso zeaxanthin is found. Never consume farm raised salmon do to the high amounts of contaminants and orange dye. Omega three consumption has been associated with healthier heart and healthier eyes. Astaxanthin is the most powerful of the carotenoids, it is an extremely powerful antioxidant and anti inflammatory. Astaxanthin crosses the blood brain barrier and the blood retinal barrier and some early studies may link this carotenoid to improved retinal health. Astaxanthin does improve the ciliary muscle function in the eye and therefore improves accommodative ability and reduces eye fatigue and stress. Astaxanthin also blocks the harmful rays of sun light. All of these benefits of astaxanthin makes it one of the nutrients recommended for good retinal health. Consuming foods that exhibit anti veg f activity may also prove to be valuable at helping slow down macular degeneration. Some specific foods that may have anti vegf activity are green tea, red wine, curcumin / tumeric spice, citrus bioflavonoids from eating the white pulpy part of a citrus fruit, orange bell peppers ,goji berries and soy products. When consuming soy products make sure the soy is not genetically modified. Do not consume soy every day since too much soy can cause endocrine disruption. I recommend soy consumption maybe two to three times a week and prefer fermented soy like tempah or miso. I recommend using organic extra virgin coconut oil for cooking of all your foods instead of other types of oils. Coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides and lauric acid that has been linked to many health benefitst including improved neurological health in altheimers and parkinsons patients. This may prove to have additional helth benefits to ARMD patients in the future. When consuming wine try to find a pino noir from the Oregon region that is made from organically grown grapes. This wine will contain the highest amount of resveratrol and the least amount of sulfites or pesticides. Resveratrol is the nutrient in red wine we think has retinal health benefits. When drinking green tea get the least processed green tea that is organically grown. You want to get the green tea leaves that you can steep in a tea pot and stay away from the overly processed tea bags. I personally recommend patients eating a diet that is similar to the Paleo and Mediterranean diets. These diets will give plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and protein and minimal amounts of overly processed and synthetic foods. I tell all my patients that come thru any of the Lange Eye Care locations to try to consume 12-15 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Realistically most patients will fall short of this goal. This is why I developed the Fortifeye line of vitamins. I recommend Fortifeye Complete Plus to many early macular degeneration patients and Fortifeye Complete macular Defense for moderate to marked cases of macular degeneration. I also recommend adding one Fortifeye Focus in conjunction to the Complete Plus or Macular Defense. I have had incredible success with all forms of macular degeneration when we adjust the patients diets and supplements. My advice to anyone with macular degeneration is to seek out an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist that is in tune with nutrition. These doctors will not only be able to provide traditional medical and surgical care but will also utilize the power of proper nutrition. This is the combination I have found works best for all patients. If you live in the Florida area and have macular degeneration and want eye care providers in tune with the latest in nutrition come to The Lange Eye Institute in The Villages Florida, 1 352 753 4014, www.langeeyecare.com , www.drmichaellange.com , www.fortifeye.com
Dr. Michael Lange, board certified Optometric Physician ,Certified Nutrition Specialist and syndicated talks show host of “Ask the Dr.”. He can be heard almost daily on multiple radio stations throughout the south and live via the internet and on I heart radio.