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News : Apr 20 2010

Vitalux Plus Omega-3

Vitalux Plus Omega-3

Many of our patients with macular degeneration (AMD) are taking Vitalux nutritional supplements to help slow down the progression of this sight-threatening disease.

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in our elderly population. The macula (the part of the retina responsible for our central vision), deteriorates over time, causing the retinal cells to slowly die off, resulting eventually in poor or even missing central vision. This dry form of the disease account for about 90% of the cases of macular degeneration. In about 10% of the cases, the retina grows new blood vessels in an attempt to repair the damaged cells. However, these blood vessels are quite fragile and can suddenly break, causing blood to pool in the central vision area, resulting in an instantaneous and devastating loss of central vision. This is known as the wet form of AMD.

Ongoing research indicates that AMD is caused by a build up of chemicals known as free radicals that cause damage to the retinal cells. Free radicals must be neutralized by other chemicals, called anti-oxidants in order to prevent the damage. We know that exposure to ultraviolet light can increase the level of free radicals as well as exposure to toxins such as cigarette smoking and systemic diseases such as high blood pressure. Protecting your eyes from UV light with proper sunwear and promoting good overall health by stopping smoking and controlling blood pressure are some of the ways that we can prevent or slow down the progression of this disease. Eating a diet that is rich in anti-oxidants (dark, leafy vegetables such as spinach, collard greens, kale) can also help to neutralize the free radical damage.

However, many individuals will continue to show progressive damage from AMD, despite these measures. In these cases, patients are advised to begin taking nutritional supplements that are high in anti-oxidants to help destroy free radicals. In addition, vitamins such as Vitalux also contain Lutein which is a pigment found in the macula (central vision area of the retina) which acts as a natural sunglass and helps to block the harmful UV rays.

Taking Vitalux on a regular basis has been shown to successfully reduce the chances of progression of dry AMD and also help prevent the conversion of dry AMD to wet AMD.

Recent research has also indicated that Omega 3 oils (fish oil) can also play a large role in slowing down the progression of AMD. Omega 3’s help to strengthen the cell membranes in the retina, enabling the cells to withstand damage from free radicals more easily. In fact, it appears that the addition of Omega 3’s to the Vitalux formulation can almost double your chances of slowing down the progression of AMD and help to prevent the conversion of the dry to the wet form.

Novartis has done a great deal of research regarding the different types of Omega 3 fish oils and has determined the appropriate concentration and dosage of Omega 3’s to treat AMD. Apparently, not all Omega 3’s are created equal and it is important to take a supplement that has a ratio of 20% DHA and 40% EPA from a non-mercury contaminated fish.