vitamins, alternative medicine, antioxidants

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A Health, Nutrition, and Alternative Medicine Blog

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Study Finds Red Meat Increases Risk of Macular Degeneration

Written by Tena Moore


Macular Degeneration, also known as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), affects one in seven individuals over the age of 50. AMD causes a loss of central vision in the eye, leaving peripheral vision untouched.

However, a new study by Dr. Elaine Chong of Victoria’s Eye and Ear Hospital in Australia has found that those who eat red meat more than 10 times a week significantly increase their risk of developing the disease earlier in life.

The study included 6,734 Melbourne residents between the ages of 58 and 69 years, and found that those who ate a lot of red meat, especially salami and sausage, were more likely to suffer from AMD.

Macular degeneration is only the latest disease to be linked to diets high in red meat. Obesity, heart attack, stroke, cancer and osteoporosis are also thought to occur more frequently in those who eat a lot of red meat.

The Meat and Livestock Australia disputed the findings, pointing out that most people in Australia don’t even eat red meat 10 times per week, and also that red meat is high in zinc, a mineral that has been shown to protect against macular degeneration.

Still, it is likely that attacks on red meat will continue. A recent study in the United States found that those who regularly consumed barbecued red meat were at an increased risk of dying from heart failure or cancer.





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There’s also strong evidence that a taking 1,200 to 1,800 milligrams of bromelain each day can help relive painful inflammation



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Monday, November 10, 2008

Low Antioxidants and Blue Light Damage Retina

A recent study involving over 4,500 participants points to low levels of antioxidants and sunlight exposure as a combined cause in age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD. The study was lead by Estrid E. Fletcher, Ph.D., from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and was published in the October 2008 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

AMD happens when the retina is damaged over time. The result is a blurry vision, distorted vision and a complete loss of vision. It has been theorized that high doses of antioxidants such as zinc, carotenoids, and vitamin E and vitamin C, can protect against the harmful effects of blue light from the sun. With this in mind, the researchers studied their subjects.

The study consisted of carefully scrutinizing the blood samples of participants to check their levels of antioxidant nutrients. Photographs were taken of their retinas to test for AMD and they also answered a questionnaire about sun exposure throughout their lifetime. The participants were an average age of 73.2 years.

Surprisingly, nearly 2,200 participants were found to have an early phase of AMD. A little over 100 participants were found to have an advanced form of AMD, Neovascular AMD, and the rest were free from the disease. While the researchers could not pinpoint whether blue light exposure was linked to these cases alone, when coupled with low antioxidant levels it seemed that the two – blue light exposure and low antioxidants in the blood – were associated with the disease.

In particular, it seemed that low levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, and zeaxanthin, when combined with blue light, increased the chances nearly four times for developing neovascular age-related macular degeneration.

The scientists noted that they wished they had cost efficient ways to do screening on the older population to determine whether they are at risk. In lieu of this testing, they are recommending that middle-aged and older people stay out of direct sunlight, and use large hats and sunglasses to protect their retinas. In addition, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can further help to protect them by supplying enough vitamin C, E and zinc to help combat the disease.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pycnogenol: A Pine Bark Antioxidant

Pycnogenol is actually a trademarked name for the Maritime Pine bark and is oftentimes confused with grape seed extract, since they both contain proanthocyanidin. A powerful antioxidant, pycnogenol is used to help combat disorders and conditions that are related to aging, such as glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, and senility.

A stronger antioxidant than both vitamins C and E, it begins working in the bloodstream within 20 minutes and can last up to 72 hours. Evidence shows that pycnogenol may improve circulation, protect cellular DNA from oxidative damage, and protect brain tissue. Pycnogenol works best when used as a combination with other vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, selenium, manganese and vitamin C and vitamin E.

Pycnogenol

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bilberry: A Less Popular Healing Fruit

Bilberry might not be as popular as its relatives – cranberry and blueberry – but that doesn’t make it less of a healing fruit. Bilberries can be eaten fresh or dried, or found in capsules and tinctures. Full of anthocyanins and flavonoids, Bilberry offers the body antioxidants and can act as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It is also thought to have value as an antiseptic.

Although the fruit is most known for treating issues of the eyes, such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and even night vision, it is also used to ease gastrointestinal discomfort, strengthening artery walls and promoting good circulation. It is used for hardening of the arteries, diarrhea, painful menstruation, mucous membrane inflammation, peptic ulcers, mouth sores, varicose veins and more.

Bilberry

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Ginkgo for Aging and Longevity

Did you know that ginkgo biloba is a tree? Not only is it a tree but it is the oldest tree on earth, called the maidenhair tree. No wonder ginkgo is a great treatment for aging disorders and helps promote longevity. Ginkgo helps aging by fighting against free radical damage and helps prevent against blood clotting and the buildup of cholesterol.

Ginkgo protects against atherosclerosis, increases blood circulation and improves brain function. It is used to treat macular degeneration, glaucoma, stroke, heart disease and even cancer. Due to ginkgo’s ability to increase blood circulation it is gaining popularity as a great treatment for sexual dysfunction and is now being studied for sexual dysfunction treatment caused by antidepressants.

Ginkgo Biloba

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is for informational purposes and is not medical advice. Individuals wishing to use supplements or alternative medicine therapies should consult with their doctor beforehand.

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