Key nutrients for healthy vision
The eye is rich in nutrients and other dietary components that support and complement each other. Some nutrients are necessary for the basic physical structure of the eye, some for the physiology of sight, and others for protection. Nutrients within the visual system can be thought of as a hierarchy representing a complex of interacting factors: while vitamin A (retinol) is essential for the formation of visual pigments, the antioxidants vitamin E, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin help to protect the lens and retina against light-induced oxidative damage, and the long-chain omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) enriches neural tissues including the photoreceptor cells. These nutrients are known to be important for visual development early in life, starting from the fetus through infancy to early childhood. Visual acuity gradually improves until about age four, when it is comparable to that of adults. For adults a sufficient intake of these nutrients is needed throughout the lifespan to maintain visual performance, such as the ability to adapt to low light, recover from intense light and distinguish objects from their background.
The role of antioxidants in menopause
Menopause, a form of reproductive aging, is defined as the permanent cessation of ovarian follicular activity and eventually, the menstrual cycle. Specifically, the decline of estrogen production has been shown to cause a variety of symptoms during menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, breast tenderness, mood changes, osteoporosis and heart disease, affecting each woman differently. Many therapies have targeted this hormonal decline in estrogen and have also expanded to include lifestyle modifications, such as diet and exercise. Additionally, foods rich in antioxidants (e.g., vitamins C and E) have been shown to be of great benefit in women experiencing menopausal symptoms because they help to eliminate oxidative stress within the body.
A new review concludes that the strongest evidence for preventing cognitive decline and/or improving cognitive function is related to increased intakes of vitamin E and folate among individuals with low status of these vitamins.
A new study from the Netherlands reports that patients who suffer from depression may increase the chance to respond to antidepressants by increasing the consumption of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.