Age-related macular degeneration is a degenerative eye disorder that is age-related and it is known to be one of the leading causes of visual impairment and acquired blindness. This disease affects about 5% of the individuals that are over the age of 65. There are two types of ARMD (wet ARMD and dry ARMD). One type i.e. dry ARMD has shown very good response to treatments using dietary manipulation and intervention.
Lutein is one of the 600 known carotenoids that are naturally present and works as an antioxidant. It also helps with the treatment of this disorder. It is a xanthophyll that can be found in many different plants and vegetables. However, each individual’s capacity of absorbing nutrients from food is different. Hence, consuming lutein in the form of capsules is preferred as it is more concentrated and is absorbed by the body easily as it is in the pure crystalline form.
Lutein builds up in the lens of the eye and the retina and is known to protect the eye from damage by free radicals and oxidative stress. Higher concentrations of lutein have shown less risk of development of ARMD in that individual. Dr. Johanna M. Seddon as well as his associates from Harvard University figured that a minimum of 6 mg/day of lutein can lead to a 43% lower risk for ARMD. Lutein supplements in the form of capsules can be taken, but the dose should remain between 6-20 mg/day. It is better to take this capsule during meal time as it is shown that the absorption of lutein can be facilitated with the help of small amounts of healthy fats such as olive oil.
At the moment, measuring the amount of macular pigment in a living organism is not yet possible. Hence, those individuals who are at higher risk of suffering from this disorder cannot be identified. Thus, it is important that everyone take the required precautions to prevent ARMD. In the future, with the help of technology, the individuals who are most at risk can be identified and also the exact amount of lutein supplements dose required by each individual can be identified.
It is important that everyone pay attention to their own nutritional needs and have knowledge as to which supplements are useful in what way, thus preventing a disease is better than trying to cure the damage that is already done. Although nutritional supplements are highly recommended, they should always be taken after consulting a physician.