Nutrition for Controlling Diabetic Retinopathy: A Review of the Diabetes Visual Function Supplement Study7:39 PM
|Mild nonpriliferative diabetic retinopathy with diabetic macular edema|
Science Behind the Nutrition
Lutein and Zeaxanthin: These carotenoids have proven essential to macular health, and are the most commonly recommended supplements for patients with sight threatening conditions like macular degeneration. They are responsible for filtering out high energy blue wavelength light that can damage macular photoreceptors, and act as retinal tissue anti-oxidants. Macular pigment optical density (MPOD) is the measurement of how much of these two carotenoids you have in your macula, and since your body cannot synthesize lutein or zeaxanthin by itself, diet is our sole method of intake. Studies show increased MPOD is linked to better visual acuity and contrast sensitivity in patients with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, and those with higher serum levels of lutein and zeaxanthin have a 66% lower risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D insufficiency has been linked to both the presence and the severity of diabetic retinopathy in both Type 1 and Type 2 patients. And in fact, patients with lower vitamin D levels in general are much more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, regardless of their body weight. What role does vitamin D play in diabetes? We don't fully understand exactly what the metabolic relationship is, but we do know that vitamin D appears to be vital to glucose metabolism and specifically in the eye can help regulate against neovascularization. Vitamin D can be absorbed through daily sunlight exposure, and also through dietary supplementation (milk is a great source!)
Curcumin (extracted from Tumeric): In animal models this supplement has proven to be protective against diabetic retinopathy, reducing inflammatory cytokine levels and neovascularization inducing VEGF. A 4 week supplementation study in humans was associated with improved retinal blood flow, reduced retinal edema, and improved visual acuity in subjects.
Pycnogenol (pine bark extract): In a 3 month study, patients taking pycnogenol had statistically significant improvement in retinal edema, and blood flow through the central retinal artery compared to placebo. Additionally 18 out of 24 patients in the treatment group experienced an improvement in visual acuity; none of the placebo group patients had visual improvement over the time of the study.
Benfotiamine (Vitamin B1 analog): This enzyme helps the body safely process harmful biproducts (sorbitol, protein kinase C, and others) of normal cellular glucose digestion. In the retina, animal studies show it can prevent diabetic retinopathy, and it also helps prevent cellular death of the all important pericyte cells of retinal arteries (pericyte death causes the blood vessels to leak!). It's also been shown to improve the symptoms of painful peripheral neuropathy in patients with reduced blood flow to their arms and legs.
Alpha Lipoic Acid: This is a potent antioxidant that targets mitochondrial cells (your body's cellular power house) -- a critical target because diabetic damage is linked to mitochondrial oxidative stress. An 11 month dosage study in rat models showed that alpha lipoic acid was preventative against retinal vascular damage and the presence of diabetic retinopathy.
|ZeaVision's EyePromise DVS formula via|
Results of the Diabetes Visual Function Supplement Study
Compared to the placebo group, the supplement group had improved contrast sensitivity, less color vision perception errors, and lower C-reactive protein levels on blood work (a marker for systemic inflammation). The supplemental group also had a 39% reduction in their Diabetic Neuropathy Symptom Score, a questionnaire that asks such questions as "does the patient experience numbness or tingling sensations in their feet or hands?" There was also a minimal positive effect on hemoglobin A1C numbers for the supplemental treatment group -- with their mean A1C improving by 4% over the course of the study. The placebo group's mean A1C worsened by 2.5% by comparison.
|The supplement group showed statistically significant improvement in C-reactive protein levels after treatment (left) and increased macular pigment density and improved central visual field sensitivity (right) compared to the placebo group. OCT measured macular thickness was unchanged in either group. via|
You can order EyePromise DVS nutriotional supplements direct from ZeaVision here.
I am in no way affiliated with ZeaVision and this is a not a sponsored post! Just a discussion of some really intriguing research.