By Dr S.S. Gill
Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us more about VITAMINS C & E for the eyes.
It is no secret that “you are what you eat!” Good nutrition with vitamins and minerals are important for the eyes to function normally. It’s been said before and I am saying it here again, that it is important to eat the right foods that contain the right vitamins to help keep your eyes healthy.
This vitamin is a great antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances that protect cells in your body from harmful free radicals that are produced when your immune system fights off bacteria. Free radicals are also produced as by-products when the foods that we eat are broken down into energy. Vitamin C is an ANTIOXIDANT that prevents cells from the damaging effects of such free radicals. Foods such as oranges, grapefruits, kiwi fruit, mangoes, papayas, pineapples and cranberries are all rich sources of vitamin C.
Vitamin E is important to maintain strong immunity and healthy eyes. Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant that protects our cells from damage by free radicals that result from exposure to environmental pollutants around us including cigarette smoke. When we say Vitamin E, it does not mean only one vitamin but it actually is a group of eight vitamins called tocopherols and tocotrienols. The most active form of vitamin E is Alpha-tocopherol.
HOW DOES VITAMIN E HELP THE EYES?
There was a study on CATARACT involving 764 people with the average age group of 65 years. The study showed that the regular users of vitamin E supplements were less likely to have lens opacities or cataract formation. It also helps prevent macular degeneration (AMD) which is a disease affecting aging people.
NATURAL AND SYNTHETIC VITAMIN E
When you read the label on any bottle of vitamins, how would you know whether it is natural or synthetic vitamin E? Take note that when Vitamin E is in its natural form, it is designated with a “d-” prefix (d-alpha-tocopherol). When it is a synthetic vitamin E, it will have a “dl-” prefix (dl-alpha-tocopherol). The natural vitamin E is more beneficial than the synthetic forms of vitamin E.
FOODS WITH VITAMIN E
If you have a balanced diet and avoid processed foods, you should be able to get adequate Vitamin E from foods such as green leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds, spinach, eggs, nuts like almonds and vegetable oils.
DOES VITAMIN E HAVE SIDE EFFECTS?
As with anything else, too much of vitamin E is not good. This vitamin is a fat-soluble vitamin which means it can accumulate in the body if taken in large quantities, causing unwanted side-effects. It can interfere with the body’s blood clotting ability and this can be dangerous if you are taking blood thinning medication.