Astaxanthin, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Vitamins and Minerals absolutely improve the health of the eye in macular degeneration

March 10, 2008

In a randomized-controlled clinical trial patients with mild to moderate age-related macular degeneration were placed on antioxidant supplements for a short amount of time to gauge the potential benefit to vision. The participant’s average age was 69-70 years old. They were supplemented with either inactive placebo for comparisons sake or the following combination; Lutein (10mg), Zeaxanthin (1mg), Astaxanthin (4mg), Vitamin C (180mg), Vitamin E (30mg), Zinc (22.5mg), and Copper (1mg); all taken daily for 12 months. The two groups of patients were also compared to similar aged individuals with healthy eyes. Supplementation significantly improved the sensitivity of important parts of the retina that were damaged in macular degeneration helping restore them to health. The study shows the dysfunction in the central retina that is present in macular degeneration is improved with supplementation of carotenoid antioxidants and select vitamins and minerals. The study is published in the February 2008 issue of the journal Ophthalmology.

The physiological relevance of your intestinal bacteria

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign note that the total number of bacteria in your intestines outnumbers the total number of cells in your body making up from 35-50% of the volume of the content of your colon. The profile of the bacterial population differs along the intestines with different groups contributing to health along the way. These bacteria maintain normal control of the development of intestinal epithelial cells; the cells that are very active and that line the intestines. The bacteria create energy out of food for use by the intestines. They also create useful nutrients, stimulate intestinal immunity and prevent the overgrowth of infectious organisms such as yeast or food contaminants. The review is published in the December 2007 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph. - these bacteria also ferment fiber, turn on the major protective nutrients in the healthiest of foods including beans, broccoli and flaxseeds, and even possibly contribute to lowering the risk of developing colon cancer.

Chocolate is a healthy choice

Researchers from the Academy of Finland, the Helsinki University Central Hospital, and the Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research followed 1259 elderly men with an average age of 76 years since the 1960s. In 2002–2003, a mailed questionnaire was used to assess their health and well-being utilizing accepted tests that score depression and quality of life. 860 of these men preferred chocolate and 399 preferred other types of candy. Of the respondents, 99% were home-dwelling, 96% were retired and 87% were presently married. Men preferring chocolate were thinner with a trimmer waist, and they also reported performing more exercise and better health than other candy consumers. Psychological well-being was consistently better in those preferring chocolate. The differences were statistically significant with less feeling of loneliness, improved feeling of happiness, having plans for the future and less depression (based on the Zung depression score). The study is published online ahead of print in the February 2008 issue of the European Journal of Nutrition.
Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph. High quality dark chocolate, a type more commonly consumed in parts of Europe, supplies healthy chemicals that are active in a well functioning brain. These healthy chemicals along with powerful polyphenols come from the Cocoa powder; ingredients that may also offer protection for the skin, the heart, and against dangerous cellular damage that becomes more common with aging.