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Can Patients Get Nutrients to Manage Macular Degeneration From Food Alone?

Patients with fair skin, light-colored eyes, a family history of AMD, and/or a past history of smoking are at high risk for AMD (age-related macular degeneration).

Fewer than 10% of U.S. adults approach the desired daily levels of 10mg of lutein and 2mg of zeaxanthin to nutritionally manage the progression of AMD. These carotenoids are best absorbed when cooked instead of raw. The difference in absorption when the food is uncooked may be as much as 100%.

When consuming 10mg of lutein, a person would require consumption of six ounces of spinach every day! When food containing carotenoids are eaten with dietary fat, they are better absorbed than with low or no fat. Nutrient bioavailability from food is also boosted when vegetables containing carotenoids are chopped, pureed, or blended. Minor changes in the properties of the food also affect the nutrients in them. For example, orange peppers contain 1.5 times the amount of lutein and nearly 10 times the amount of zeaxanthin as their red counterparts.

AREDS2-based supplements along with a balanced diet is a more practical means of acquiring minimum amounts of nutrients to help high risk AMD patients.