Photo courtesy of Flickr user woodleywonderworks.
It's been all over the news this week, that increasing vitamin D intake from dietary sources like fresh cold water fish, leafy greens, milk, and cereal (especially oatmeal) can help stave off age-related macular degeneration in women. If you're so inclined, check out all 90 articles here.
Age-related macular degeneration (often referred to as AMD -- and not to be confused with the awesome chip-maker) is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans 65 and older.
Visual disability is a heartbreak for anyone. We techies often list it as a major worry since so much of our time is spent staring at displays. In fact, our ability to make a living is directly related to being able to continue to do so.
Age-related macular degeneration involves blurring at the center of the vision, and a gradual loss of central vision with a greater dependence on the peripheral. For more information about this common condition, visit the Macular Degeneration Partnership.
If you check out the 90 articles in the link above, some of the sources say that by upping vitamin D intake from the RDA of 600 IU to 750 IU, younger women (from ages 40 to 75) can cut their risk of developing age-related macular degeneration in half.
Although the study was performed at the University at Buffalo by researcher Amy Millen on 1,313 female subjects, I would imagine that a couple of cups of fresh spinach can't hurt our male friends, and may actually help. After all, Popeye ate it, and he was what he was.
The vitamin D in question for this purpose is obtained from the diet, not from the big yellow thing in the blue room, so we geeks need not fear (one thing at a time, my techie friends, one thing at a time).
On a random website, I found a list of the top ten natural sources of vitamin D. Don't take my word for it. Don't even take the word of some random website for it. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about it.
It's a good idea to do this because simply deciding to live on salmon from here on in could increase mercury levels in the body. Deciding to start chugging milk right from the carton might aggravate lactose intolerance. Oatmeal may sound like a great idea, but might seriously harsh the buzz of the carb-conscious.
Make sure you carefully wash all your greens (even those convenient bagged ones that say they've already been triple-washed) to avoid that nasty e-coli we've all heard about in the news.
Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, taking supplements by the fistful is a very bad idea. Fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K) are not excreted in the urine but stored in the body, so toxicity is of concern. Just because the right amount is good, doesn't mean huge amounts are better.
As always, reading studies and taking supplements is no substitute for actual medical advice. If a supplement is in order for you, let it be decided upon in conjunction with a wise learned medical practitioner who knows you well, and takes care of your health personally.
And remember to get your eyes examined on a regular schedule. Prevent Blindness America suggests "that everyone receive a comprehensive eye exam through dilated pupils regularly as recommended by your eye doctor."
This is important because many serious eye problems arise without noticeable symptoms, and early detection through testing gives the greatest chance for successful treatment.
I've got to run now...I have to go make an eye appointment. It's been over a year, and it's time.
TalkBack below about your great big beautiful eyes.