[tabi] prevent glaucoma with a vitamin supplement

  • From: Chip Orange <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:54:13 +0000

Note: folate mentioned in this article is also known as vitamin B9.

Daily Health News
Prevent Glaucoma with a Folate Supplement
Glaucoma is an insidious disease-literally happening before your very eyes 
undetected,
having virtually no symptoms until,
in a blink
, you've got eye surgery on your plate and you may even be going blind. You may 
think
that, nowadays, glaucoma is easily treatable, but one form of glaucoma,
pseudoexfoliation glaucoma
(called "PEX" or sometimes just exfoliation glaucoma) is much harder to fix than
others. Research from Harvard Medical School, though, is showing that the more 
folate
you get each day, the less likely PEX will develop.
ARE YOU AT RISK?
PEX is caused by pressurized buildup of debris that clogs the eye's ability to 
drain,
and it can lead to cataract formation, destruction of the optic nerve and 
blindness.
PEX can happen because it's in your genes or because your eyes have been exposed
to too much of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) light. People who live in some
northern parts
of the world, such as Scandinavia (possibly because of genes) and higher 
altitudes
(where the thin air encourages more UV-radiation exposure) are also more at risk
for this eye disease. People with PEX also have high levels of an amino acid 
called
homocysteine
in their blood, tears and eye fluid. Because B vitamins can help keep 
homocysteine
levels in check, some researchers thought that getting enough B vitamins was the
key, but the team from Harvard Medical School discovered that it's not quite 
that
simple-it appears that you must get a certain B vitamin in a certain specific 
way.
UNCOVERING THE PRECISE NUTRITIONAL LINK
To get a clearer picture, the Harvard researchers analyzed information from 
about
120,000 people from two very large, long-term health study databases, the 
Nurses'
Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, with a specific focus
on people who were 40 years old or older, were free of glaucoma at the start of 
the
study, had had eye exams within a certain two-year period and had provided 
information
about their dietary habits. They discovered that people who ultimately got PEX 
were
deficient in one particular B vitamin, folate. They also found that, although 
the
amount of folate gotten only from food had little impact on prevention of PEX, 
getting
enough
from a supplement
made a big difference.
FOLATE IS AN EYE-SAVER
People with the highest intake of folate-at least 335 micrograms (mcg) per day 
for
women and 434 mcg for men-from vitamin supplements had an 83% reduced risk of 
PEX
compared with people who did not take such supplements. The good news is that 
any
high-quality B complex vitamin supplement, which will generally contain 400 mcg 
of
folate, together with a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, fortified whole 
grains,
beans and peas and especially beef liver (if you have a taste for it) will 
supply
you with enough folate to protect you from PEX. You can even find folate 
supplements
that contain 800 mcg or more, but be aware that the daily tolerable upper limit 
of
supplemental folate for adults, according to the Institute of Medicine, is 1,000
mcg. Also, be aware that folate supplements can interfere with the anticancer 
effectiveness
of the drug
methotrexate
. Speak with your doctor if you take that drug. Folate supplements also aren't 
well
absorbed in people taking antiepileptic drugs or
sulfasalazine
(Azulfidine, used to treat ulcerative colitis), so guidance about folate 
supplement
dosage, in these instances, also should be discussed with a doctor.
We're increasingly being told by medical experts to ditch vitamin supplements 
and
get our nutrients from whole foods. Although I think this is generally sound 
advice
over pill-popping, even if those pills are vitamins, I also think it's important
to pay heed to studies like this one that show that a supplement is exactly 
what's
needed to stave off a serious condition. And sight-robbing glaucoma is serious 
enough
in anyone's book!
Source:
Study titled "A Prospective Study of Folate, Vitamin B-6, and Vitamin B-12 
Intake
in Relation to Exfoliation Glaucoma or Suspected Exfoliation Glaucoma," 
published
in
JAMA Ophthalmology.
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