Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
Q. Dear Terry, “I am 59 years old and just had cataract surgery a little over 2 weeks ago. I read that lutein is a good vitamin to take for eye health and I was wondering if there is something better that I should be taking. I take 2 tablespoons of flax oil every day. Would that help at all? Thank you.” — Darla S., Green Bay, WI
A. Dear Darla, Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40 – affecting more than 22 million Americans. Cataracts refer to the clouding of the natural lens of the eye, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is similar to looking through a frosty window on a cold winter morning. Most cataracts develop slowly and generally occur due to aging that causes the tissues of the lens to break down and to clump together, clouding small areas of the lens. As the cataract continues to develop, the clouding becomes denser and involves a greater part of the lens. Instead of the lens focusing the light to produce a clear, sharp image on the retina, the cataract causes the light to scatter. As a result, vision becomes blurred – making it more difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night), or see the expression on a loved one’s face. While studies have shown that lutein can benefit eye health, I think astaxanthin is more effective. I recommend a formula that contains a natural astaxanthin complex with at least 5% astaxanthin, along with other carotenoids like lutein, canthaxanthin and beta carotene, combined with the very potent antioxidant, black currant extract, standardized to more than 25% anthocyanins. This formula is useful for anyone wishing to preserve eye health. You may also want to consider adding curcumin and omega-3 fatty acids to further support your vision, as well as enhance your overall health. While omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, are important to the health of the eyes, not all omega-3 sources contain these fatty acids in a readily available form. For example, your body needs to convert the fatty acids from flaxseed into EPA and DHA in the body. I would recommend you try an omega fatty acid product extracted from salmon. This form of omega-3 fatty acid is not a fish oil, but rather a whole food salmon omega-3 EPA/DHA extract, naturally bound to salmon phospholipids. It’s a convenient form – one to two tablets daily – and extremely bioavailable – about 50 times more absorbable than fish oil! Curcumin, a compound found in the spice turmeric, is a potent antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory that works, via multiple pathways, to benefit overall health. While curcumin is so beneficial, it is poorly absorbed by the body. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure the curcumin you choose has up to 10 times the absorption of plain curcumin, or you may not get enough of this powerful herb into your blood stream to make a difference. Avoid curcumin products using black pepper extract, also called piperine, to enhance absorption as this substance is not only hard on the liver, it interacts with the majority of prescription medications on the market. I prefer micronized curcumin blended with oil of turmeric for the best absorption and optimal health outcomes.
Terry . . . Naturally