The National Eye Institute, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, estimates that 5 million Americans will have reduced vision and that 2.2 million Americans will be blind by the year 2030. These conditions include age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. While there are many factors that come into play for eye health, proper nutrients are certainly critical.
The nutrients that come to mind for healthy eyes are flavonoids from grape seed extract, bilberry, and blueberry, along with compounds like lutein and zeaxanthin. All of them are excellent, and can help preserve the delicate blood vessels of the eyes, reduce free radical damage, and preserve vision. One botanical that might not immediately come to mind – but should – is curcumin from turmeric.
Curcumin is often associated with pain relief or treatment for depression, but increasingly, it shows a remarkable ability to treat a multitude of vision problems – including diabetic neuropathy, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. There’s more research to be done, but the authors of this review note that even at large doses, curcumin is incredibly safe. It is, however, more effective when it is better absorbed.
One of the ways of ensuring the most benefit and absorption from your curcumin is to choose a clinically tested supplement that features curcumin blended with turmeric essential oil. This not only helps the curcumin absorb better, but compounds in the oil, specifically ar-turmerone, also provide their own antioxidant, eye-protecting power.
Pescosolido N, Giannotti R, Plateroti AM, Pascarella A, Nebbioso M. Curcumin: therapeutical potential in ophthalmology. Planta Med. 2014;80(4):249‐254. doi:10.1055/s-0033-1351074
Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is the main curcuminoid of the popular Indian spice turmeric (Curcuma longa). In the last 50 years, in vitro and in vivo experiments supported the main role of polyphenols and curcumin for the prevention and treatment of many different inflammatory diseases and tumors.The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antitumor properties of curcumin are due to different cellular mechanisms: this compound, in fact, produces different responses in different cell types. Unfortunately, because of its low solubility and oral bioavailability, the biomedical potential of curcumin is not easy to exploit; for this reason more attention has been given to nanoparticles and liposomes, which are able to improve curcumin's bioavailability. Pharmacologically, curcumin does not show any dose-limiting toxicity when it is administered at doses of up to 8 g/day for three months. It has been demonstrated that curcumin has beneficial effects on several ocular diseases, such as chronic anterior uveitis, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and dry eye syndrome. The purpose of this review is to report what has so far been elucidated about curcumin properties and its potential use in ophthalmology.
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