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Cataracts Prevention and Treatment Tips
The lens of the eye is normally crystal clear. But damage to the proteins in the lens can cause it to become cloudy and opaque. The result is a cataract. Cataracts are the leading cause of impaired vision in the United States, affecting more than five million people today. This number is sure to increase dramatically with the aging baby-boomer population, as most people over the age of sixty have some degree of cataract formation. There are many factors that can contribute to or cause cataracts: eye disease or injury, diseases such as diabetes, mellitus, and exposure to toxins and ultraviolet light. Heavy metals, such as cadmium, can cause damage to eye tissues and can prevent antioxidants such as zinc from binding to enzymes. Cigarette smoke is a leading source of cadmium. In many cases, cataracts are simply part of the aging process, the result of years of cumulative free-radical damage.
Many cataracts can be repaired through surgical replacement with an artificial lens. But the best strategy is to prevent cataracts from forming in the first place by tuning up the body's defense mechanisms. The sooner you begin, the better the results. Once a cataract forms, dietary and nutritional strategies can't eliminate the problem, but they can help to slow down the rate at which it progresses. You can reduce free-radical formation by avoiding fatty foods, especially fried foods. High salt intake is also associated with cataracts. In contrast, a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, calcium, folic acid, and vitamin E provides nutrients that protect against cataracts. To quench free radicals that do crop up, the tissues in your eye need adequate levels of key antioxidants. The higher your levels of these substances, the lower your risk of cataracts.
Vitamin C supplementation can halt the progression of cataracts and may improve vision. In one study, 450 patients with cataracts were placed on a nutritional program that included 1,000 mg of vitamin C per day, resulting in a significant reduction in cataract development. Though similar patients had previously required surgery within four years, in the patients treated with vitamin C only a small handful required surgery, and in most patients there was no evidence that the cataract progressed over the eleven-year period of the study. The lenses of the eye require much higher concentrations of vitamin C than those found in the blood - at least twenty times more - and by keeping blood vitamin C levels elevated, you make it easier for the body to concentrate vitamin C into the lens. Studies of patients going in for cataract surgery showed that dosages of at least 1,000 mg per day were required to increase the concentration of vitamin C in the lens of the eye.
There are some other important factors for preventing cataracts that you might wish to consider too. Glutathione peroxidase is an enzyme that is normally found in high concentrations in the lens. It neutralizes hydrogen peroxide, a free radical found in the fluid of the eye. People with cataracts typically lack sufficient glutathione peroxidase and have hydrogen peroxide levels up to twenty-five times higher than normal. You can boost your glutathione peroxidase supply by making sure you get enough selenium and vitamin E. these nutrients work together as an antioxidant team to neutralize hydrogen peroxide. Flavonoid-rich extracts is also an excellent antioxidant protection for the lenses. Among the best are flavonoid-rich extracts from bilberry, grape seed, and Ginkgo biloba. One recent study found that bilberry extract plus vitamin E stopped the progression of cataracts in forty-eight out of fifty patients.
Raymond Lee Geok Seng is one of the foremost experts in the health and fitness industry and is a writer specializing in body health, muscle development and dieting. He has spent countless of time and efforts conducting research and share his insightful and powerful secrets to benefit men and women all over the world. He is currently the author of the latest edition of "Neck Exercises and Workouts." Visit http://www.bodyfixes.com for more information.
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