Saffron & Resveratrol Could Help Fight AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration)

June 21, 2011 by  
Filed under featured, Health

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye condition that affects a tiny part of the retina at the back of your eye. It causes problems with your central vision, but does not lead to total loss of sight and is not painful so you notice it when you’re reading, looking at photos or watching television. AMD may make this central vision distorted or blurry and, over a period of time, it may cause a blank patch in the centre of your vision.

At the moment, the exact cause for AMD is not known, but some things are thought to increase your chances of developing it. It gradually develops with age, starting at around 50 and is most often seen in people over the age of 65. More women have AMD than men, and there may also be a genetic link. Smoking also greatly increases the risk as does lifelong exposure to high levels of sunlight for outdoor workers.

Symptoms vary from person to person, but usually the first problems people notice are with their ability to see detail. You may have problems reading small print, even if you wear your usual reading glasses, or you may find that there is a slight smudge in your sight or that your vision has a small blurred area in the centre. Straight lines may look distorted or wavy or as if there’s a little bump in them. You may also find you become sensitive to bright light or that you see shapes and lights that aren’t actually there. Sometimes people may only notice these changes in one eye.

Regular eye tests will establish whether you have AMD and prevention is something you can pay attention to. Minimising your risk factors through not smoking or exposing your eyes to bright sunlight without sunglasses are things you can control, though sadly aging and family history are not.

A new supplement that offers help in this area is Saffron 2020 which has been designed to tackle the eye disease in its early stages helping to reduce the risk of vision loss and improve a sufferer’s quality of life from the onset of the disease. The nutritional supplement is made up of a unique formulation of saffron, the macular pigments lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin A and resveratrol. It also contains vitamin C, E and B2, zinc and copper, all of which work together to help protect DNA, proteins and lipids from damage and help maintain healthy eyes and normal vision. You may only know saffron as a cooking ingredient but the yellow powder that is derived from from the stigma of the saffron crocus has been used across Europe and the Middle East to promote health.

More information on the supplement at and for help with AMD the Macular Disease Society has local groups which meet throughout the country and also offer a telephone counselling service.

Eyestrain and Avocados

April 11, 2009 by  
Filed under featured, Health


As we seem to be spending more time in front of computers these days, it’s worth paying attention to keeping your eyes fit and healthy and one of the essential ingredients for that is the antioxidant lutein as it acts as a light filter to protect the macula. The primary cause of blindness in people over the age of 50 is macular degeneration and lutein is to support our eye health and helps prevent age-related degeneration.

Although we are born with a small amount of lutein in the macula – the spot on the retina at the back of your eyeball where light is collected and similated for the optic nerve – we can’t produce any more of it in the body. Now a trial involving subjects who have long-term exposure to computer monitor screens has taken place at Peking University in Beijing. Three groups were being assessed for the effects of lutein supplementation, receiving either six or 12 grams daily, or a placebo.

After 12 weeks the results were positive. The two lutein groups had improved their visual function and contrast sensitivity and the placebo group had not. So how can you get the same benefits? Simply by including lutein rich foods in your diet such as spinach, eggs, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, oranges, lettuce and celery.

If you add in some avocados then you are also getting essential nutrients such as magnesium, folate, vitamins B, E, and K, omega-3fatty acids, and of course lutein. Avocados have one essential benefit; a 2004 study showed that they help your body absorb more than 4 times as much lutein from your food than if they are not present in a meal. The weather is getting warmer, so what about a salad with spinach, lettuce, celery, tomatoes and an avocado?

Natural help for eyes

As we get older our eyes become vulnerable, and around 1 in 7 over 55 year olds will suffer from macular degeneration. This is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision impairment worldwide, and a study in the Archives of Ophthalmology reports on the benefits of Omega-3 for reducing the risk.

Macular degeneration (MD) affects central vision and this gradually deteriorates causing functional blindness. Peripheral vision is not at first greatly affected; but over time peripheral vision is also reduced. A study of 8,000 people in the Netherlands found that those who developed the disease were more likely to be smokers and have high cholesterol and that because free radical damage has been linked to MD that antioxidants can reduce the disease’s progress.

However, a more recent study has shown a clear link between consumption of Omega-3 and reduction in age-related MD. Dr Chong of the University of Melbourne did a meta-analysis of nine studies which covered 90,000 people, and 3000 of those had age-related MD.

Back to the benefits of fish again, because her study found that eating just one portion of Omega-3 rich fish may reduce the risk of contracting MD by over 50%. In fact increasing your daily intake by 300 mg per day of the Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, reduces the risk of MD by about 70%.

If fish really isn’t your favourite then you can get Omega-3 from flaxseed oil which is also rich in lutein and that’s one of the antioxidants that boosts eye health and prevents cataracts and macular degeneration. These are the essential elements for good eye health:

BETA-CAROTENE which destroys free radicals and helps keep eye tissue healthy.

VITAMIN C and VITAMIN E are antioxidant and protect the eye from sun damage

ZINC and COPPER are antioxidant and protect our eyes

B VITAMIN complex to fight free radicals in your eyes, particularly the cornea and the myelin sheath around the optic nerve

TAURINE is an essential amino acid for retina health and blocks out UV rays and environmental toxins.

EYEBRIGHT is a herb that been traditionally used to relieve irritated eyes and strengthen blood vessels in the eyes.

Otherwise it’s the usual mix of dark green leafy vegetables, particularly spinach, and a varied daily diet to keep your eyes sparkling.