Q. Dear Terry, “I’m having a hard time working at my computer all day due to dry eye. I’ve tried sunglasses, blue light glasses, and they only help a little. What natural ingredients are there to help my eyes?” – Rylie D., Broken Arrow, OK
A. Dear Rylie, To function normally, our eyes need constant moisture and lubrication. Factors like being at a computer all day, working outside, wind, dust, allergies, and certain prescription medications can all cause irritation and dryness. When moisture levels decrease, pain and discomfort can follow.
Having the right balance of fatty acids is truly essential to our health in many ways, and this includes healthy skin and mucous membranes. Many people are familiar with omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, but did you know there is an omega-7? In nature, there are only a few sources of the rare omega-7 fatty acid and the science on this subject is exploding. There are excellent studies demonstrating the ability of omega-7, when taken internally, to reduce eye dryness.
The omega-7 I recommend comes from a plant called sea buckthorn. The seed, pulp, and skin of the sea buckthorn berry are packed with over 200 nutrients, including antioxidant tocopherols, beta-carotene, phytosterols, and omega fatty acids. Omega-7 comprises about 50% of the sea buckthorn berry’s fatty acid content, making it one of the most valuable nutrient sources of palmitoleic acid you can find. However, not all sea buckthorn products contain omega-7 fatty acids. That’s because omega-7 is found only in the pulp of the berry, not the seed oil.
I recommend taking 500 mg of sea buckthorn that contains both the seed oil and pulp three to four times per day. Also, look for a product that has clinical studies so you know it is safe and effective.
You may also benefit from adding astaxanthin and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which are both powerful antioxidants for eye health. In a clinical study of individuals who worked on computers, astaxanthin reduced eye strain complaints by 54 percent in just one month. Astaxanthin can also protect the eyes from cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. I prefer astaxanthin that comes from the freshwater microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis.
Research shows that coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) levels in the retina can decrease by at least 40 percent with age. Fortunately, CoQ10 helps preserve mitochondria function in the retina.
Because CoQ10 and astaxanthin can be difficult to absorb, I think a plant-based absorption enhancer, called gamma cyclodextrin, is necessary. Gamma cyclodextrin has a strong track record in improving bioavailability. In fact, gamma cyclodextrin has been shown to boost CoQ10 absorption by as much as 800 percent. I would take 50 mg of CoQ10 and 2 mg of astaxanthin (from H. pluvialis), combined with gamma cyclodextrin, once or twice per day.
Terry . . . Naturally
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