Foods and Supplements for Macular Degeneration: Complete Guide


There are numerous claims of foods and supplements that can help in macular degeneration but the question is which among them are really good for your eye health? Here is an article where are I compiled all the common foods that are claimed to help in macular degeneration and looked at research papers, journals and such if they are proven by science or not.

Here is a summary of the article on what foods help in macular degeneration and how they can help.

Foods that can help your eyesightHow it helps
Peanut ButterHas a lot of Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin A
AvocadoHas a lot of Lutein, Zeaxanthin
TurmericCurcumin was found to prevent cell death in Macular Degeneration
OnionThe Sulfur content of onions helps your body producing glutathione
CarrotsHas a lot of Beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin
EggsLots of Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Zinc
BroccoliThis vegetable has Beta-carotene, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
BananaHas a good amount of carotenoids
ChocolatesHas a good amount of flavonoids
Sweet PotatoesHas a good amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E
ApplesHas a good amount of Vitamin C and Carotenoids
YogurtHas a good amount of Zinc
OrangeHas a good amount Vitamin C
Foods that can help in age related macular degeneration and their mechanism of action

For more information, check out the research papers and explanation below.

Are Eye Vitamins worth taking?

Eye vitamins are worth taking if you do not get the nutrients you need from your diet. People with vitamin deficiency will likely benefit from eye vitamins but that is not always the case.

In actuality, you can get the vitamins from natural sources such as fruits, vegetables and many more.

Here is a compilation of various foods you can eat in order to get the vitamins that will benefits your eyes. Especially for Macular Degeneration.

Peanut Butter and Macular Degeneration: Good or Bad?

Peanut Butter is good for the eyes. In fact, peanuts are rich in Vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that protects your eyes. Furthermore, butter is actually rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A have been proven many times by science that it can help your eyes especially improving your night vision.

In fact, a study from the Cleveland Clinic has reported that regardless of the source, vitamin A is very good for the body.

Source: Chrulski, Kenneth. “The Effects of Carrot Consumption on Eye Sight in Various Lighting Conditions.” Cleveland Clinic, 2005, civiceducation.clevelandclinic.org/Student-Projects/Student-Projects/2015-Fact-or-Fiction-The-Effects-of-Carrot-Consump.aspx.

Furthermore, a research from JAMA Opthalmology 913 participants with their vitamin D levels data concluded that people who are deficient in vitamin D were 6.7 times more likely to develop age related macular degeneration.

The good news is a serving of Butter (100grams) itself has 60 IU of vitamin D which can be a good addition to your diet. Thus, a combination of both (Peanut Butter), is a good addition to your diet when it comes to your eye health

Source: Millen, Amy E., et al. “Association Between Vitamin D Status and Age-Related Macular Degeneration by Genetic Risk.” JAMA Ophthalmology, vol. 133, no. 10, 2015, p. 1171. Crossref, doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2015.2715.

Caffeine and Macular Degeneration: Good or Bad?

Coffee does not affect macular degeneration whether for the good or bad. In a study analyzing 4121 participants that there are no statistically significant association was observed between coffee consumption and odds of age related macular degeneration.

Thus, while coffee won’t help you, it won’t cause you harm when it comes to your eye health.

Kumari Neelam, E Shyong Tai, Xiang Li, Wan Ling Wong, Jeannette Lee, Tien Yin Wong; Coffee Consumption and Age-Related Macular Degeneration: The Singapore Prospective Study ProgramInvest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):98.

Avocado and Macular Degeneration: Good or Bad?

Avocados are good for your eyes and can help in macular degeneration because they contain a lot of lutein. Most foods only have about 10 micrograms but avocados have 80 micrograms per serving (about 1/3 of a medium avocado. Not only that, it also contains zeaxanthin which is another carotenoid that protects the macula of your eyes.

In total, the amount of zeaxanthin and lutein (carotenoids) in a serving of avocados is about 136 micrograms which means that it is a good addition to your diet to help your eyes produce its protection especially the photoreceptors in your eyes.

Furthermore, our body can’t produce lutein naturally. That’s why it is a good idea to add it to our diet. Avocados are a good way to do so.

Turmeric and Macular Degeneration: Good or Bad?

Turmeric is good for macular degeneration. In fact, a research from the Central European Journal of Immunology concluded that Curcumin which is naturally found in turmeric was found to prevent cell death across different cellular models of acute macular degeneration.

This means that turmeric can protect your eyes from damage. Majority of it is because curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize reactive oxygen species or ROS.

The research also notes that curcumin from turmeric may be used as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of various eye diseases such glaucoma, cataract, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, corneal neovascularization, corneal wound healing, dry eye disease, conjunctivitis, pterygium, and anterior uveitis.

Radomska-Leśniewska, Dorota M., et al. “Therapeutic Potential of Curcumin in Eye Diseases.Central European Journal of Immunology, vol. 44, no. 2, 2019, pp. 181–89. Crossref, doi:10.5114/ceji.2019.87070.

Onions and Macular Degeneration: Good or Bad?

Onion is a good for your eyesight. The sulfur content of onion is necessary for your body to produce a natural antioxidant called glutathione. A study from the British Journal of Ophthalmology concluded that low glutathione levels is greatly associated with age related macular degeneration.

Source: Cohen, S. M., et al. “Low Glutathione Reductase and Peroxidase Activity in Age-Related Macular Degeneration.British Journal of Ophthalmology, vol. 78, no. 10, 1994, pp. 791–94. Crossref, doi:10.1136/bjo.78.10.791.

Thus, low levels of glutathione can affect your eyesight. it is also worth noting that garlic is also rich in sulfur which can also enhance your production of glutathione.

Carrots and Macular Degeneration: Good or Bad?

Carrots are good for your eyesight. It is packed with nutrient such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. All of which are good for your eyes. In fact, a research study was conducted testing people who eat 4.5 ounce carrots 6 days a week for 6 weeks and found out that it significantly made them see better specifically their night vision.

This study also concluded that regardless the source of vitamin A, it is helpful for the eyes.

Source: Chrulski, Kenneth. “The Effects of Carrot Consumption on Eye Sight in Various Lighting Conditions.” Cleveland Clinic, 2005, civiceducation.clevelandclinic.org/Student-Projects/Student-Projects/2015-Fact-or-Fiction-The-Effects-of-Carrot-Consump.aspx.

But it does not end there are it is also loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin which is very helpful to your eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin helps make protection to the photoreceptors in your eyes. These are called flavonoids.

In fact, flavonoids has been proven by research to help in your eyesight. A research reported by the Investigative Opthalmology & Visual science reported that flavonoids protect RPE cells from oxidative-stress–induced death with a high degree of potency and low toxicity. Thus, protects your eyes especially the human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells from harm.

Source: Hanneken, Anne, et al. “Flavonoids Protect Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells from Oxidative-Stress–Induced Death.” Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science, vol. 47, no. 7, 2006, p. 3164. Crossref, doi:10.1167/iovs.04-1369.

Eggs and Macular Degeneration: Good or Bad?

Eggs are a good addition to your diet for macular degeneration or your eyes in general. It packs a healthy dose of Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Zinc. All of which are helpful to your eyesight. For example, vitamin A has been proven to help in night blindness. Lutein and Zeaxanthin helps produce the protection layer for your macula’s photo receptors and Zinc helps transport vitamin A from your liver to your eyes.

In fact, a research study titled: “The Effects of Carrot Consumption on Eye Sight in Various Lighting Conditions.” concluded that regardless the source, Vitamin A is good for your eyes as it helps in night vision. The research tested various vitamin A source and found that each of them can really help your eyes.

Here are the foods tested in the study: Fortified Rice, Amaranth Leaf, Goat Liver, Carrots, Small Dose Of Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) and High Dose Of Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate)

Source: Chrulski, Kenneth. “The Effects of Carrot Consumption on Eye Sight in Various Lighting Conditions.” Cleveland Clinic, 2005, civiceducation.clevelandclinic.org/Student-Projects/Student-Projects/2015-Fact-or-Fiction-The-Effects-of-Carrot-Consump.aspx.

Furthermore, a study titled: “Nutritional Manipulation of Primate Retinas, V: Effects of Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and n–3 Fatty Acids on Retinal Sensitivity to Blue-Light–Induced Damage.” has proven that n-3 fatty acids which are also found in eggs are effective in reducing the damage to the eyes.

Source: Barker, Felix M., et al. “Nutritional Manipulation of Primate Retinas, V: Effects of Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Andn–3 Fatty Acids on Retinal Sensitivity to Blue-Light–Induced Damage.” Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science, vol. 52, no. 7, 2011, p. 3934. Crossref, doi:10.1167/iovs.10-5898.

In a 15 year study, researchers published a 2020 paper titled: “Consumption of eggs and the 15-year incidence of age-related macular degeneration.” In the research, they are able to find out that people who eat 2 or more eggs a week have a lower risk for AMD (Age related Macular Degeneration). Researchers are pointing to lutein and zeaxanthin caused this lower risk.

This study included 3,654 participants and AMD was determined via retinal photographs.

Thus, it strengthens the point that egg is a good addition to the diet when it comes to AMD.

Source: Gopinath, Bamini, Gerald Liew, Diana Tang, et al. “Consumption of Eggs and the 15-Year Incidence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration.” Clinical Nutrition, vol. 39, no. 2, 2020, pp. 580–84. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2019.03.009.

Broccoli and Macular Degeneration: Good or Bad?

In summary, Broccoli is good for your eyes and macular degeneration because it is packed with various vitamins and nutrients that support your eyes. This vegetable has Beta-carotene, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. All of which are good for your eyesight.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin helps your eyes make a protective layer to protect it from harsh sunlight. Some research paper has proven that this protective layers also protects your eyes from specifically the Blue Light from the sun or other sources.

In fact, a research study published by the Investigative Opthalmology and Visual Science(IOVS) has proven that eyes that are supplemented with lutein and zeaxanthin protected the fovea from blue light–induced damage. Thus, these two nutrients can help your eyesight.

Source: Barker, Felix M., et al. “Nutritional Manipulation of Primate Retinas, V: Effects of Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Andn–3 Fatty Acids on Retinal Sensitivity to Blue-Light–Induced Damage.” Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science, vol. 52, no. 7, 2011, p. 3934. Crossref, doi:10.1167/iovs.10-5898.

In addition to this, broccoli also has sulphoraphane which boosts your body in protecting itself from free radicals.

Bananas and Macular Degeneration: Good or Bad?

Bananas can help in macular degeneration because it is a good source of carotenoids. Carotenoids help your eyes and can reduce the likelihood of the development of age related macular degeneration. This is further proven by a research paper in the Archives of Ophtalmology where it concluded that dietary carotenoid was independently associated with decreased likelihood of having neovascular AMD, geographic atrophy, and large or extensive intermediate drusen.

“The Relationship of Dietary Carotenoid and Vitamin A, E, and C Intake With Age-Related Macular Degeneration in a Case-Control Study.” Archives of Ophthalmology, vol. 125, no. 9, 2007, p. 1225. Crossref, doi:10.1001/archopht.125.9.1225.

Chocolate and Macular Degeneration: Good or Bad?

The flavonoids found in chocolates has been proven to help in reducing the risk of macular degeneration. A research done in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that increase in dietary intake of total flavonoids and total flavanones was associated with reduced odds of the prevalence of any AMD or age related macular degeneration.

Source: Gopinath, Bamini, et al. “Dietary Flavonoids and the Prevalence and 15-y Incidence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration.The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 108, no. 2, 2018, pp. 381–87. Crossref, doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqy114.

It is also worth noting that dark chocolates have a significantly higher levels of flavonoids than mild chocolate. Here is a table summary of the amount of flavonoids you can get on both dark and milk chocolate.

Dark ChocolateMilk Chocolate
Flavonoid Content1.156 mg g-10.703 mg g-1
Table Comparing Flavonoid Content of Dark vs Milk Chocolate

In summary, dark chocolate have about 2x more flavonoids than milk chocolate which means that dark chocolate is better when it comes to eye health.

Furthermore, the research also indicated that more flavonoids is significantly correlated to less risk of age related macular degeneration.

Sweet Potatoes and Macular Degeneration: Good or Bad?

Sweet potatoes are are good in macular degeneration because they are packed with vitamins and nutrients such as beta-carotene which turns into vitamin A in the body, it is also loaded with powerful antioxidants such as vitamin C and E. A good amount of these vitamins is related to decreased risk of age related macular degeneration and even cataracts.

Vitamin A is good for night blindness, furthermore antioxidants such as vitamin E helps protect the eyes.

A research study where 39,876 participants were checked for age related macular degeneration (AMD) in a 10 year period found out that 117 cases of people who take Vitamin E supplements that got AMD while 128 who don’t take vitamin E supplements got AMD.

While the result shows that there is only a little difference, and it is negligible, it shows that vitamin E can still reduce it in a certain amount.

Source: Christen, William G., et al. “Vitamin E and Age-Related Macular Degeneration in a Randomized Trial of Women.” Ophthalmology, vol. 117, no. 6, 2010, pp. 1163–68. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2009.10.043.

Apple and Macular Degeneration: Good or Bad?

Apples are good for the eyes as it has a good amount of antioxidant especially vitamin C which has been proven to help in good eye health. In addition, apples especially their skin have a lot of carotenoids which can help a lot in protecting your eyes from damage.

In fact, the skin has 5x more carotenoids than its flesh.

Carotenoids have been proven by research study that it helps in macular degeneration.

Yogurt and Macular Degeneration: Good or Bad?

Yogurt is good for your eyes. In fact, the zinc in yogurt is a helpful mineral in delivering nutrients to your eyes, especially vitamin A. Proper delivery of vitamins to your eyes is essential for a good eye health.

A 100g serving of yogurt contains 520mg of zinc which can really help in supporting the delivery of nutrients from your liver to your eyes.

In fact, a research paper from the Archives of Opthalmology has concluded that the group who took oral zinc had significantly less visual loss than the placebo group after a follow-up of 12 to 24 months.

Source: Newsome, D. A., et al. “Oral Zinc in Macular Degeneration.” Archives of Ophthalmology, vol. 106, no. 2, 1988, pp. 192–98. Crossref, doi:10.1001/archopht.1988.01060130202026.

Is Orange good for macular degeneration?

Orange is packed with vitamin C that it is very good for macular degeneration. Antioxidants are good for your eyesight and in fact, a research study reported that people who eat more than or equal to 1 serving of orange per day have a lower risk for age related macular degeneration compared to people who don’t eat that much.

This further implies that there are tons of benefits in adding oranges to your diet. It is also worth noting that flavonoids have also contributed to this result.

Source: —. “Dietary Flavonoids and the Prevalence and 15-y Incidence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 108, no. 2, 2018, pp. 381–87. Crossref, doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqy114.

Jason

Jason Ong is a YouTuber and the one who owns this site. He shares what he learned to people and make videos if necessary. He was a former lecturer. The things he taught are topics related to Clinical Laboratory Science or what others call Medical Technology. Right now, he is also working part-time in an app company as a production supervisor. You can visit his YouTube Channel on https://ongjason.com/youtube

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