Antioxidants and Vision Health: Differentiating Between Fact and Fiction
When you first learned about oxidation, you were likely given examples that were easy to visualize.
You may have been taught that oxidation transforms iron to rust, tarnishes silver, and turns fresh apples brown within minutes of slicing.
Oxidation can also have detrimental effects on your body. Oxidative stress caused by free radicals damages cell membranes and DNA while adversely altering proteins and lipids.
This free radical damage contributes to a significant number of health complications, including cardiovascular disorders, autoimmune disease, and degenerative eye disease.
Your body relies on antioxidants to neutralize the effects of free radicals and minimize the potential damage caused by oxidative stress.
While antioxidants are found abundantly in many of the foods you eat, your body may require more antioxidants than provided by your diet alone.
When selecting an antioxidant for eye health, it’s important to be able to distinguish fact from fiction.
The Effects Free Radicals Have on Your Body
Free radicals are everywhere, from the foods you eat to the air you breathe.
Some free radicals are generated by the effects of sunlight on your skin and eyes. Generally speaking, free radicals could be considered the natural byproduct of chemical interactions.
A free radical is a scavenger, a molecule with an unpaired electron. Free radicals are forced to compensate for their lack of electrons by stealing an electron from another molecule to improve stability.
Having lost its electron; the second molecule becomes a free radical and will pull an electron from a third molecule and so on, a cascade of cellular damage.
When there are more free radicals in your body than your system can handle, oxidative stress can cause a significant number of health concerns. Research shows that free radical damage and oxidative stress contribute to:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Liver damage
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Neurodegenerative disease
- Macular degeneration
It was back in the 1990s when researchers first identified the connection between free radicals and heart disease.
Soon researchers identified how these scavengers contribute to atherosclerosis (hardened arteries), cause numerous chronic health conditions, and impair vision. Once they began connecting the dots, researchers eventually began clinical trials to test the potential of antioxidants for minimizing or even reversing the impact of free radicals and oxidation.
Identifying Misconceptions and Clearing Confusion
Research confirms that antioxidant supplements can neutralize the effects of free radicals and minimize the impact of oxidative stress.
While researchers have been investigating the effects of antioxidants for decades, many people are still unclear about the role of antioxidant supplements.
Like nearly any other health-related topic, there is a significant amount of misinformation adding to the confusion.
#1 – All Free Radicals Are Harmful – Fiction
While it’s true that free radicals can have a negative effect on your body, the belief that all free radicals must be eradicated is not based on fact.
Free radicals do have a purpose. When you are under certain types of stress, free radicals interact with receptors within your sympathetic nervous system to increase the force of your heartbeat.
Your immune system uses free radicals to fight invaders. Free radicals also play a significant role in muscle function.
The goal of antioxidants is not to eradicate all free radicals, but to promote balance to ensure free radicals do not overwhelm your body’s ability to regulate them (oxidative stress).
#2 – Antioxidants Are All the Same – Fiction
Any molecule that protects cells from oxidation is technically functioning as an antioxidant, but these molecules don’t necessarily function the same way.
Some antioxidants are ideal for fighting several types of free radicals, while others are only effective for certain free radicals in specific parts of a cell.
It’s simply not possible to substitute one antioxidant in favor of another. That means taking a vitamin C supplement will not fight the same free radicals as vitamin E even though both fight free radical damage.
If you are looking for antioxidants for a specific concern, it’s important to invest a bit of time to research to be sure you are getting specific antioxidants to suit your needs.
#3 – Antioxidants Prevent Cataracts – Mixed Results
The lens of your eye is mostly water and protein maintained in precise combinations that keeps the lens clear.
When free radical damage causes proteins to clump, the lens turns cloudy, forming a cataract. Most often, cataracts grow slowly, and vision decreases gradually.
While research verifies that free radicals and oxidative stress contribute to the formation of cataracts, research investigating the potential of antioxidants to prevent or delay the onset of cataracts has been inconclusive.
Some studies show antioxidants to be beneficial; other studies suggest otherwise.
Investigators conclude that more research is needed to understand how specific nutrients are delivered and metabolized in the eye to maintain antioxidant levels in specific regions of the lens.
#4 – Antioxidants Can Fight Macular Degeneration – Fact
Age-related macular degeneration is one of the most common causes of acquired blindness and visual impairment of people over the age of 50 in the US.
Considered an incurable eye disease, macular degeneration is caused by the deterioration inside the back layer of the eye which impairs central vision.
Research shows that macular degeneration is caused by the oxidative stress influenced by diet, UV radiation, and environmental factors. Evidence shows that antioxidants can provide “novel and therapeutic” benefits.
Protecting Your Vision with Potent Antioxidants
Free radical damage and oxidative stress are strongly linked to the formation of cataracts and retinal damage.
While research has been investigating the effects of oxidative stress for decades, many people still underestimate the importance of antioxidants for healthy vision. Antioxidants are shown to neutralize free radicals and support healthy cellular activity.
Vision Smart Supreme® is the ideal supplement to prevent, delay, or slow the progression of chronic eye conditions.
It also aids in relieving the signs and symptoms of eye strain, dry eyes, photophobia, floaters and more.
A daily dose of Vision Smart Supreme® combines the antioxidant power of New Zealand organic black currants with vitamin A, B vitamins, and folic acid, a proprietary blend shown to promote healthy intraocular pressure and improve ocular circulation.
To learn more about Vision Smart Supreme® visit Vision Smart Center. We offer a quality selection of therapeutic supplements to support vision and brain health, fortify immune system function, protect your skin from premature aging, and more.
Vision Smart Center is dedicated to the research and development of potent, evidence-based therapeutic supplements to help you and your family live healthier, happier lives. Vision Smart Center supplements are crafted without preservatives, artificial colors or flavors.