My doctor recommended I try the AREDS2 formula for age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Q. Dear Terry, “My doctor recommended I try the AREDS2 formula for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but it contains FD&C Red 40 and FD&C Blue 1. I want to preserve my eyesight but I am concerned about the artificial colors used in the AREDS2 formula. Do you have any recommendations?” — Paul I., Syracuse, NY
A. Dear Paul, I completely understand the dilemma you are facing and your concern with these artificial colors is more than justified. Generally artificial colors are derived from petroleum or coal tar, and they have been linked to some very serious adverse effects.
Supplementing with specific nutrients can make a big difference in our vision. One of the strongest protectors of healthy vision is black currant. Black currant is rich in anthocyanins, which are the dark pigments that give black currants their color. These anthocyanins are very potent antioxidants and help prevent oxidative damage to our eyes. One of the reasons black currant is so valuable in preserving healthy vision is because the anthocyanins from the berry can pass through the blood-retinal and blood-aqueous barriers in the eye intact. That means the compounds can be transported and absorbed right where they are needed. These compounds help protect your cells from damage, reduce inflammation, and stop oxidative stress.
Another one of my favorite ingredients for eye health is grape seed extract. Research has shown that grape seeds contain proanthocyanidins, which are also super antioxidants, and are 20-50 times stronger than vitamin E and C, respectively. I recommend taking 400 mg of a high absorption French grape seed extract twice per day.
It’s hard to talk about eye health without mentioning lutein and zeaxanthin. They are the primary carotenoids (richly colored yellow and orange pigments) present in the eye and have a special protective role for the retina and macula. I would take 10 mg of lutein and 500 mcg of zeaxanthin twice per day.
Terry . . . Naturally