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Ask the Experts: ‘Is There a Supplement I Can Take to Prevent Macular Degeneration?’

"There's a great food option that works — and it's not carrots."

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Genetic conditions often surface with age, and sometimes, one family member’s health problems look like a window into your future. If it’s genetic, is there any point in trying to prevent it from happening?

According to nutrition experts Mira Calton, CN, and Jayson Calton, PhD, there is. How you take care of your body can have positive effects later on. While no one can promise that a nutritious diet or supplement will prevent you from developing certain conditions, preventive steps may mitigate future issues.

In this week’s edition of Ask the Experts — Health Advice for Women Over 40, the Caltons discuss this idea when a reader asks about her likelihood of developing macular degeneration.

Supplements for Macular Degeneration

Q: My sister was just diagnosed with macular degeneration. I’m 58. Is there a supplement I can take to help keep my eyes healthy?

A: Actually, there’s a great food option that works — and it’s not carrots! A clinical trial at the University of California, Davis, found that regularly getting the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin in your diet increases the amount of protective pigment in the eye to help filter out vision-damaging blue light. This wards off age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss as we age.

But here’s the thing: Half of the test group consumed commercial supplements marketed for eye health, but only those who ate a handful (about 1 ounce) of dried goji berries five times a week for 90 days saw an uptick in these protective pigments.

Goji berries are similar to dried cranberries and are sold in most grocery stores. Their tart flavor and chewy texture make them a great addition to oatmeal and baked goods, but you can also add them to salads or yogurt. Other foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin include spinach, kale, and egg yolks.

Put FIRST to work for you.

Nutrition experts Mira Calton, CN, and Jayson Calton, PhD., are leading authorities on nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. They are also the bestselling authors of Rebuild Your Bones: The 12-Week Osteoporosis Protocol.

To ask them a question, send an email to health@firstforwomen.com.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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