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Are there any natural glaucoma vitamins and supplements that can complement your existing glaucoma treatment? The answer is yes, and I have listed some of the most important natural glaucoma vitamins below.
But before we get into that, let's find out a bit more about glaucoma first.
What is glaucoma and why is it important?
Glaucoma is a condition where there is progressive damage to the optic nerve, usually related to high pressure in the eye. This causes visual field loss and if untreated, eventual blindness.
Glaucoma is the second commonest cause
of blindness worldwide, and affects at least 2% of the population.
It is a major eye health issue, and the most worrying thing is that most
sufferers do not know that they have this condition.This is
because you usually do not notice any glaucoma symptoms until a lot of
glaucoma damage has already occurred.
Unfortunately, glaucoma cannot be cured or reversed, despite the many claims to the contrary that are widespread throughout the internet. Any vision lost from the optic nerve damage cannot be recovered.
The only proven glaucoma treatment option available currently is to reduce the eye pressure, and this can be achieved through eye drops, laser or surgery.
Please remember that reducing the eye pressure does not cure your glaucoma or fully restore your vision; it only serves to slow down and reduce the risk of further eyesight deterioration. Hence the focus on monitoring: early detection means early glaucoma treatment and less glaucoma blindness.
(Image adapted from the internet)
However, high eye pressure is not the only risk factor for glaucoma. There are other risk factors such as age, family history, genes, and racial origin - these are non-modifiable, and you cannot do anything about these risks.
The good news is that there also natural glaucoma vitamins and supplements that can help prevent and reduce your risk of glaucoma blindness. These should complement, not replace, your existing glaucoma treatments.
a) Nutravision Eye Defence+ (Australia)
(Disclaimer: I am part of the team of leading Australian clinicians, scientists and naturopaths that formulated and developed Nutravision Eye Defence+)
In my admittedly biased opinion, Nutravision Eye Defence+ is the most advanced overall vision health supplement currently available globally for glaucoma.
It combines many of the individual glaucoma supplements (or its equivalent alternative) listed below and more.
The ingredients in the formula are bilberry (anthocyanins), ginkgo biloba, grape seed (proanthocyanidins), L-methylfolate (activated folate), lutein, methylcobalamin (activated vitamin B12), nicotinamide (active vitamin B3), pyruvate, saffron, and zeaxanthin.
Here's how the individual ingredients benefit those with glaucoma:
Bilberry & grape seed: Clinically found to reduce eye pressure, increase ocular blood flow, and improve visual field test results in glaucoma patients.
Ginkgo biloba: Clinically proven to improve ocular microcirculation, enhance cognitive function, and either improve pre-existing visual field loss or slow the progression of visual field damage in low pressure glaucoma.
L-methylfolate & methylcobalamin: Both are essential for optic nerve function, and are clinically proven to lower plasma homocysteine levels and decrease visual field deterioration in low
Lutein & zeaxanthin: Clinically proven to increase macular pigment optical density and contrast sensitivity in eyes with glaucoma.
Nicotinamide & pyruvate: Important as support against mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired glucose metabolism in retinal ganglion cells. A recent clinical trial from the United States found that nicotinamide combined with pyruvate was able to improve visual function in moderate glaucoma after only 2 months.
Saffron: Clinically proven to modulate the stress response of the body, and to decrease eye pressure in stable glaucoma patients
Individually, each of these 10 powerful ingredients already confers their own unique clinically proven benefits on glaucoma (and also macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease).
when taken together, what you get is the most potent,
synergistic and comprehensive neuroprotection for glaucoma the world has
If like me, you feel that it is important to augment your glaucoma treatment and further reduce your glaucoma risk naturally, Nutravision Eye Defence+ is available from www.nutravision.com.au.
b) Vitamin supplements
Vitamin B3 (nicotinamide) plays an
important role in supporting cell metabolism and
Nicotinamide 3,000 mg daily has been shown to protect the optic nerve against glaucoma damage when taken over a six-week period.
A separate trial found that nicotinamide combined with pyruvate was able to improve visual function in moderate glaucoma after only 2 months.
Currently, the long term benefit of high-dose nicotinamide (Insolar by Blackmores) at a dose of 3,000mg daily is currently being researched in Melbourne.
If Insolar is not available for you, then any other Vitamin B3 nicotinamide should be fine as long as you purchase from a reputable supplement manufacturer.
READ NEXT: Natural glaucoma treatment with vitamin B3 (nicotinamide)
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. It is important for DNA regulation, red
blood cell production, and helps with the function of our nervous
Our body does not produce vitamin B12 naturally, and so we rely on food consumption for vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is found in food sources such as eggs, milk, fish, and meat.
Methylcobalamin is activated vitamin B12, meaning that it is the most highly absorbed and bioavailable form of vitamin B12 compared to others such as cyanocobalamin.
Glaucoma is of course a type of optic neuropathy, and naturally there is interest in whether methylcobalamin could potentially be beneficial for glaucoma.
from Japan found that 1,500 micrograms (or 1.5 mg) oral methylcobalamin
daily for 4 years could decrease visual field deterioration in low
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) is a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is naturally found in vegetable oils and animal fats. Research has found alpha-tocopherol to improve blood flow to the eye and to reduce visual field deterioration if taken for at least 6 to 12 months.
c) Herb and plant extracts
Bilberry and blackcurrant
contain anthocyanin flavonoids that are both antioxidant and
anti-inflammatory. Studies conducted in South Korea and Japan have shown
that both bilberry and blackcurrant extract could help to slow visual
field deterioration in glaucoma, particularly normal tension glaucoma.
Forskolin is an active compound found in the root of the Indian coleus (Coleus forskohlii) plant. Studies of forskolin and glaucoma have found a reduction in eye pressure and improvement in visual function when forskolin is combined with rutin.
Ginkgo biloba is a popular natural herb that has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The beneficial effects of ginkgo in glaucoma are due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its ability to increase blood flow to the optic nerve.
Most importantly, ginkgo biloba is able to reduce the rate of field loss in low pressure glaucoma.
The main risk of ginkgo biloba is the potential increased risk of bleeding. The scientific evidence for this is conflicting, with some case reports of severe bleeding from ginkgo, while other systematic reviews and meta-analyses have found no increase in bleeding risk.
At present, I only recommend ginkgo biloba to my patients if they are not on any blood-thinning medications.
SEE RELATED: Ginkgo biloba as a natural glaucoma treatment
Mirtogenol is a trademarked and patented combination of standardized bilberry extract (Mirtoselect) and French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol).
Mirtogenol is among the few supplements that have actually demonstrated a significant reduction in eye pressure in a randomized clinical trial. It can be combined with standard glaucoma treatment to further enhance pressure reduction.
Mirtogenol has a very good safety profile. However, it can theoretically increase the risk of bleeding and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
I do recommend Mirtogenol to my patients who need better eye pressure
control, but with caution for those taking blood thinning or diabetes medications.
SEE RELATED: Mirtogenol as a natural glaucoma treatment
d) Supplements similar to naturally occurring molecules
Citicoline is a molecule that occurs naturally in the brain. It enhances communication between nerve cells, protects neural structures, and supports healthy brain activity and energy.
Due to its ability to protect nerve cells, citicoline has been studied extensively as an additional treatment in a wide range of neurological conditions including dementia, stroke, and Parkinson's disease.
Research from Italy reported slowing of glaucoma progression with daily supplementation of citicoline 500 mg daily. Clinical trials have not reported any major or serious adverse effects from taking oral citicoline.
I highly recommend citicoline to my patients who show signs of glaucoma progression despite good eye pressure control.
SEE RELATED: Citicoline as a natural glaucoma treatment
Palmitoylethanolamide (also known as PEA) is an endocannabinoid that is naturally produced in our body and in the eye to reduce inflammation and pain.
PEA is naturally found in foods such as soybeans, egg yolk, milk, and peanut oil.
Its potential benefits have been studied for pain relief, stroke, multiple sclerosis, depression, and influenza.
PEA has similar properties to the active chemical in marijuana, but it is safe to take with no major adverse effects reported in clinical trials. This means that PEA has a lot of the benefits of cannabis but without any of the side effects.
PEA taken as an oral supplement 600 mg daily has been shown in clinical trials to be able to provide significant additional eye pressure reduction in glaucoma patients who are already on eye drop therapy.
I highly recommend palmitoylethanolamide to my patients for its ability to reduce eye pressure and to also potentially preserve the visual field.
SEE RELATED: Palmitoylethanolamide as a glaucoma treatment
If you wish to complement your glaucoma treatment with the above natural glaucoma vitamins and supplements individually, below are highly-rated and recommended products that are available for you to purchase through Amazon:
Final word on natural glaucoma vitamins and supplements
There is no one single glaucoma vitamin supplement that can do everything although Nutravision Eye Defence+ comes close. However, I recommend it to my all patients if they are keen to take glaucoma supplements.
1. Convenience. Some of my patients are taking multiple individual ingredients separately; which is equivalent to taking at least 8 capsules or tablets every day. With Nutravision Eye Defence+, the clinical dosing is 2 capsules daily, which is a lot more palatable and convenient.
2. Reassurance. Nutravision Eye Defence+ is manufactured in Australia conforming to the highest international standards, using practitioner grade and quality assured ingredients sourced globally, at the required clinical doses. There is no guesswork anymore for clinicians or patients.
You can take these vitamins separately if you wish, but please make sure to discuss with your eye specialist and family doctor first to avoid adverse drug interactions and unwanted side effects.
Please note that the natural glaucoma vitamins and supplements described above must not replace the
glaucoma treatment that has already been prescribed by your eye
specialist. Rather, these vitamins should be in addition to and
complementary to your existing treatment.
READ NEXT: The five best glaucoma supplements for your optic nerve
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Nutravision Eye Defence+ - advanced glaucoma formula combining 10 clinically proven nutrients to reduce eye pressure, prevent visual field loss, and protect optic nerve function