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Your Eye Doctor Needs To Know This Supplement – InViteⓇ Health Podcast, Episode 529
Hosted by Amanda Williams, MPH
InViteⓇ Health Podcast Intro: Welcome to the InViteⓇ Health Podcast, where our degreed healthcare professionals are excited to offer you the most important health and wellness information you need to make informed choices about your health. You can learn more about the products discussed in each of these episodes and all that InViteⓇ Health has to offer at www.invitehealth.com/podcast. First time customers can use promo code PODCAST at checkout for an additional 15% off your first purchase. Let’s get started!
Amanda Williams, MPH:
[00:00:40] The COVID-19 pandemic changed our society and especially in regards to work, that commonly people are working remotely, so their meetings, their conversations, exchanging info and ideas is often virtual, and this is leading to spending a great deal of time on computer and smartphone screens. So people of all age groups are becoming aware of vision health and are increasingly seeking info on eye health. So many nutrients stand out when it comes to vision and eye health, and possibly chief among them is lutein. We’ll explain what that is later on and the foods that can supply lutein. So your screens, all those screens from your computer, your cell phone, your high-definition TV, your video games and of course, outside the sunlight, it depletes your eyes of lutein, but it also depletes the brain of lutein. So in healthy young people and also middle aged people, this leads to eye fatigue and even brain fatigue. But in our elderly, me included, this actually contributes to vision loss and even some memory loss. So in my opinion, the health benefits of lutein are strongly underestimated, and it is important for ophthalmologists and optometrists to inform their patients about lutein that could be derived from foods, but as you get older, it becomes increasingly important to supplement with lutein. So hi, my name is Jerry Hickey. I’m a licensed pharmacist specializing in nutrition, which I’ve studied for many, many decades. Welcome to my episode, Doctors and Supplements, Episode Two: Eye Doctors Need to Know About This Supplement. You can find all our InViteⓇ episodes for free wherever you listen to podcasts or go to invitehealth.com/podcast. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @invitehealth, and please subscribe and leave us a review.† [00:02:48]
[00:02:50] So let me get into this. It’s hard to say enough about lutein. Several decades ago, researchers at Harvard Medical School found that older people who ate a great deal of green leafy vegetables generally had better vision than their peers. Soon after, it was discovered that the most prominent nutrients in the greens were pigments called lutein and zeaxanthin. Now, lutein is a, an amber-orangish pigment, zeaxanthin is yellowish, in fact, you find it in corn. Corn is called zea maize. They named zeaxanthin after zea maize. So these are in the carotenoid family. We know of many, many, many hundreds of carotenoids. Many are very important to the human body, such as astaxanthin, which is the pink carotenoid you see in cooked shellfish and in flamingos or beta carotene that you find commonly in plants and also lutein and zeaxanthin, they’re very important… Lycopene, the red one in tomatoes and other fruits. They’re very important for human health.† [00:04:02]
[00:04:04] Now, an early study was from the Moran Eye Health Center, that’s at the University of Utah. They took a pretty good sized population of elderly people, and it gave them either a placebo, which is an inactive substance, or a supplement of lutein and zeaxanthin every day for a year. And they found that eye health improved, vision was better, in the people taking the, the lutein. So why… So that’s just an example of some of the evidence behind it. But there’s many, many, many hundreds, perhaps thousands of studies on lutein at this point in our health.† [00:04:41]
[00:04:42] So why the issue with lutein and electronic screens? Electronic screens like your cell phone and your computer use LED, light emitting diode, background technology. This gives greater clarity. It enhances the colors. It’s more, more vibrant a picture. And part of that is it emits blue light. Now, blue light has a very short wavelength, so millions of rays of blue light are hitting your, your eyes when you’re on your computer or cell phone. And this creates a glare. These flashes create a glare, and lutein is meant to absorb and protect the eyes from blue light. That’s one of its outstanding benefits because blue light can really damage the eyes. So a young person on computer screens all day long, they’re using up their lutein, their eyes and their brain get fatigued and simply reestablishing lutein takes care of that. In fact, some of the younger people I’ve known in college and also a lot of IT people, I’ve recommended lutein to them who were studying, who are doing intensive studies. So what are some sources of lutein? Well, egg yolks are a good source. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli and Swiss chard. Pistachio nuts have a little. As far as supplements, the major source has been marigold flowers, and there’s a great deal of research on that. These supplements absolutely work.† [00:06:20]
[00:06:22] So what does lutein do in the eye? There’s this protective moat in the eye, a barrier called your macular pigment, and one of its activities is absorbing blue light. See, in the back of the eye where vision takes place, there’s a lot of little vulnerable organs that could be damaged by, by blue light. So the macular pigment, this kind of catcher’s mitt, blocks the blue light from getting into the back of the eye. It’s largely made out of lutein and zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin and there’s a lot of the mineral zinc in there, too. And inside the same macular pigment, there’s a little structure called a fovea, which looks like a broken egg yolk. That’s really important for core vision. When you’re looking at something, you’re really only clearly seeing something about the size of a breadbox in your vision. The rest of your vision is just kind of a little bit out of focus, right? That’s the full view. So if that gets damaged, if your macular tissue gets damaged, you develop basically a dark hole in the middle of your vision. It’s a form of blindness, in fact, it’s the most common form of blindness in elderly people. The most common form of blindness in young people, which happens in areas where there’s wars and famines is xeropthalmia, where they’re they’re lacking Vitamin A, A as is in apple. But in older people, it’s due to a lack of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are not Vitamin A, but they’re relatives of Vitamin A in their structure.† [00:07:52]
[00:07:53] But lutein is also important for brain power. So when you deplete lutein in the young, they develop eye fatigue and brain fatigue, but giving them a source of lutein refreshes the brain and the eyes, but… And this is true for middle aged people too. But in us elderly, when you deplete lutein consistently, it affects our memory as well as our vision. Now, here’s some interesting research on lutein and the brain. Studies, early studies from the United States showed that lutein is the prominent pigment in the brains of babies. 60% of the pigments in the brain of babies is lutein. But then people who are octogenarians and centenarians, the amount of lutein in the brain drops dramatically. In fact, it was this very interesting study done down south, I think it was done in Alabama, where they took a large population of centenarians people, 100 years or over 100 years of age, which is amazing, couldn’t have done that 20 or 30 years ago, right? Get such a good population. I think it was 100 elderly people. And when they checked their, their brain power, the ones with greater brain power had more lutein in their brain.† [00:09:18]
[00:09:20] So a systematic review is one researchers looked through evidence of something. It could be a drug, it could be a food, it could be a disease, whatever it is, something scientifically. They do a a screening of all the studies out there. And that’s easy to do today because we have all these electronic sources such as PubMed. That’s the Library of Congress website, where they collate all research on, on, on nutrients and medicine, etc. And there’s Embase and Ovid. There’s a whole bunch of these electronic websites where researchers can now go and very easily download studies on anything, basically anything to do with health, so in this case, it’s lutein, and then they do a meta analysis so they choose the study that are looking at exactly what they want. But the studies have to be high quality. They have to be well-designed, well-reported, lacking bias. That’s called a meta analysis. That’s important because when a meta analysis is done properly, it tells you of something either works or it doesn’t work. So there’s been many scientific reviews, meta analysis where they bunch these studies together and they find that lutein really does benefit older people’s eyes and also older people’s memory. In fact, throughout your age, throughout your life, your lifespan, whether you were an infant or an adult or elderly adult, lutein is important for your brain and vision.† [00:10:57]
[00:10:59] So this is the journal Nutrients, and this happens to be a meta analysis that was published May 2021. It’s the Department of Cognitive Health Sciences. That’s the University of Toshiko. It’s in their division where they also study memory, aging and cancer. And also researchers in England at the University of East Anglia in Cambridge. And they looked at nine studies in total. They found seven studies using brain scans using MRIs, functional MRIs, magnetic resonance imaging, and two studies where they used electroencephalograms of the brain. So nine studies in all, very high quality studies. They found that 10mg of lutein a day as a supplement, natural lutein… And always take lutein with food. It’s fatty-soluble. It’s absorbed better with food. It improved brain activity, but it also, well, it improved the structure of the brain, which was very exciting. And this is in healthy older adults. So it improved the function of their brain during resting or during cognitive tasks. So when the brain was challenged with a test or doing math, et cetera. But they also found that it directly affected the volume of the gray matter of the brain. So in the gray matter, which is many, many billions of cells as well different estimates, sometimes 80 billion, 100 billion, 50 billion, but it’s a lot of cells. In a gray matter, memory takes place for the most part, and it has to be rich in lutein. And they found that when they gave these people, elderly people lutein, not only did it improve the function of the brain and support memory structure and memory activities, but gray matter volume increased. It actually supported the volume of gray matter. I mean that’s some interesting… I’ve only seen two things do that. One is lutein, and the other thing is type one collagen. Apparently, the brain has a large volume of type one collagen.† [00:13:10]
[00:13:13] So my recommendation? For young people, you can easily absorb lutein from food, and these foods are good for the heart, they’re good for the eyes, the brain. Obviously, they’re good for your, your circulatory system. They have anti-cancer effects. There’s a lot of benefits from these green leafy vegetables. But older people have more difficulty absorbing lutein from their food for some reason. So they really should supplement their diet with a good lutein supplement. There is one called Lutein 2020, and that also has zeaxanthin and other forms of zeaxanthin that are good for vision. Now other nutrients that are good for the eye? I mean, obviously the eye is complex, just like the brain. And interestingly, the supplements that have value for the eyes have value for the brain. So why should that be? For the supplements, for nutrients to get to your eyeball, they have to go through the brain first, and the brain grabs all the nutrients it needs, and whatever’s left over, it gets to the eyes. So if you’re not absorbing enough from your food, not enough is going to be there possibly for the brain, but certainly not for the eyes. So fish oils, omega-3 fatty acids, which are longer chain omega-3 fatty acids and shorter chain ones from like vegetables like flaxseeds. A little bit of omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in vegetable oils. They’re also found in evening primrose oil. You don’t want to overdo the omega-6 fatty acids because that can lead to inflammation. But omega-6 fatty acids are needed by the eyes. In fact, they found that dry eye disease and dry eye syndrome you can really help treat it with omega-3 like fish oils and omega-6 vegetable fat helps with dry eyes caused by things like contact lenses. Zinc is very important for the eyes, and it’s very important for the brain. We’ve done a number of podcast episodes on zinc for the immune system, for vision, etc. Very important element. And zinc is another nutrient that you absorb less with age. So older people really should consider taking a zinc supplement, especially since it’s so important for the immune system. Vitamin C, you could get that, of course, from fruits and vegetables. A Vitamin E, natural Vitamin E is very important for the eyes. They protect your eyes just like lutein and zeaxanthin shield the eyes, so do Vitamin C and Vitamin E and zinc. They work as anti-inflammatory antioxidant nutrients in the eyes. Beta carotene found in vegetables, very important for the eyes. Really should be natural beta carotene, synthetic beta carotene doesn’t work well. Just like Vitamin E should be natural. The synthetic Vitamin E doesn’t work very well. Beta carotene is converted to a form of Vitamin A that creates rhodopsin. So you could see clearly and you could see well at night, etc. B-vitamins are important for energy for the eye. A B2 directly works in the eyes. You know it’s called riboflavin. Magnesium and taurine are important for the eyes. Magnesium’s an amazing supplement. In fact, I did a podcast episode last week looking at magnesium for cardiologists. Taurine, on the other hand, is a sulfydryl amino acid. It’s kind of like in a class of its own. It’s very important for the brain, is very important for the, for the gallbladder and the kidneys. It’s very important for the heart’s circulation. It’s also very important for your vision. You could get taurine from fish.† [00:16:39]
[00:16:41] So thank you for listening to today’s episode. You can find all of our episodes for free wherever you listen to podcasts or go to invitehealth.com/podcast. Please subscribe and leave us a review if you can. You can also follow Insight on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @invitehealth. I want to thank you for listening to today’s episode. I hope you listen… I hope to see you again in future episodes. So this is sort of a continuing series on nutrients, key nutrients for specific doctors practices, but it’s important that you know these things. So thanks for listening and Jerry Hickey signing off.† [00:16:41]
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Please see below for a complete transcript of this episode.
Chronic Inflammation, Part 2 – InViteⓇ Health Podcast, Episode 498
Hosted by Amanda Williams, MPH
InVite Health Podcast Intro: Welcome to the InViteⓇ Health Podcast, where our degreed healthcare professionals are excited to offer you the most important health and wellness information you need to make informed choices about your health. You can learn more about the products discussed in each of these episodes and all that InViteⓇ Health has to offer at www.invitehealth.com/podcast. First time customers can use promo code PODCAST at checkout for an additional 15% off your first purchase. Let’s get started!
Amanda Williams, MPH:
[00:00:40] Inflammaging part two. So I want to today define what nutrients are incredibly beneficial when it comes to targeting chronic inflammation. So we know that inflammaging, it’s going to be accelerated aging because of chronic inflammation. Not a good thing. So I’m going to talk about the nutrients and why it matters to make sure that we’re addressing that inflammation in the body. So I’m Amanda Williams, MD, MPH, and let’s get right to it.† [00:01:13]
[00:01:13] Let’s talk once again about chronic inflammation and why it is that when we think about the long-lasting impact of inflammation and how we can tie it to cardiovascular disease, to cancer, to diabetes, to chronic kidney disease, to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which we certainly see is on the rise here in this country in particular because of our diet of that high processed foods, looking at autoimmune conditions, neurodegenerative disorders, we see this. We know that there is evidence that the risk of developing chronic inflammation is known to obviously persist throughout our lives, but it goes up exponentially as we become adults because of underlying health conditions.† [00:02:08]
[00:02:08] Now what came first, the health condition or the inflammation? That’s always the big question. Well, we know that it’s the inflammation. It is through, say, glycation, for example, we have excess glucose. That glucose, which is now doing damage… The immune system is going to try to respond or react to that, so it drives up the inflammation. So a normal inflammatory response… Except in acute inflammation, we definitely want that. But it’s that chronic inflammation that we know is certainly the big issue. So seeing and understanding the implications of chronic inflammation is certainly majorly problematic.† [00:02:52]
[00:02:53] So let’s think about the outside factors that helped drive that. We can look at physical inactivity, we can look at obesity, we can look at gut dysbiosis, which is obviously going to affect our immune function, which then triggers that inflammatory response. The diet, the Standard American Diet, this is the primary causative reason for chronic inflammation. We can look at stress. If someone is continuously stressed, whether that be emotional or physical stress, this is going to drive inflammation. We can look at inadequate sleep, how that can drive inflammation. We can look at environmental exposures to different chemicals, how that can drive inflammation. And all of these are linked to metabolic syndrome, type two diabetes, cancer, depression, autoimmune conditions, osteoporosis, sarcopenia, which is age-related muscle mass loss. Immunosenescence, I talked about that in the Immune System podcast, so you can always check that out. I have a four-part series on immune health.† [00:04:01]
[00:04:02] So today, let’s talk about what we can do in the setting of chronic inflammation when it comes to nutrients. Now here’s the interesting fun fact. Oftentimes people think I have inflammation, I need an anti-inflammatory. If you are going out and taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory for your chronic inflammation, you are not doing your body any justice. Your ibuprofen is not going to help with that chronic inflammation that’s doing that systemic damage. What we need to do is we need to basically key in on the health of the cells and what those cells need. So we can look at very basic things, magnesium, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids. These are all key to making sure that, at that cellular level, that the cell can function in a much more efficient way.† [00:04:56]
[00:04:56] We know that magnesium has been associated with lower levels of inflammation. They’ve been able to assess that higher serum magnesium directly correlated to lower C-reactive protein levels, lower tumor necrosis factor alpha levels. And we know that many people have magnesium insufficiency or deficiencies.† [00:05:19]
[00:05:20] We can look at Vitamin D, our hormone vitamin, and see how this plays a role in terms of an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. It does this through the inhibition of NF-kappa beta, which is a master driver or regulator for inflammation in the, in the body. They’ve been able to see how low Vitamin D level was associated with higher levels of C-reactive protein, higher levels of NF-kappa beta.† [00:05:53]
[00:05:53] We can look at the impact of Vitamin E when it comes to inflammation. Most people think of Vitamin E just in terms of its antioxidant properties, but we actually know that Vitamin E has this anti-inflammatory action to it through the inhibition of COX-2. So when we think about the different pathways to which chronic inflammation has driven up, COX-1, COX-2, the lox pathway, the arachidonic component to this, we can see how when people have adequate Vitamin E exposure, that their levels of C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor alpha are lower. So through supplementation of Vitamin E, you’re actually helping to support the cellular ability to fend off inflammation.† [00:06:43]
[00:06:47] So all of these basic things, magnesium, Vitamin D, Vitamin E… Omega-3 fatty acids are kind of that go-to when it comes to targeting inflammation. We know that the omega-3 fatty acids with their special unique properties with the resolvins and the protectins can help to target inflammation and help the body when it comes to a better response.† [00:07:17]
[00:07:19] And of course, we can look at many of the other plant-based nutrients that have been shown to be incredibly beneficial when it comes to targeting chronic inflammation, things such as resveratrol, curcumin, those powerful polyphenols that come from green tea, the EGCG. We can see the downregulation of an inflammatory response and the positive impact the body has in the exposure to EGCG coming from green tea. We know that the trans-resveratrol helps to target those inflammatory pathways through cyclooxygenase, tumor necrosis factor alpha, NF-kappa beta. Hence, why resveratrol was always touted as the anti-aging supplement. Well, think about anti-aging, what’s one of the main drivers for aging is inflammation. So technically, we can call resveratrol the inflammaging-targeted nutrient. It’s targeting that inflammation to support healthier aging.† [00:08:30]
[00:08:33] So we have all of these different ways to which we can just take these nutrients in via supplementation, so making sure we’re taking our magnesium, our Vitamin D, our Vitamin E, our omega-3 fatty acids coming from fish oil or krill oil. Adding in nutrients such as resveratrol, the Resveratrol HxⓇ is an excellent choice, powerful amount of that trans-resveratrol. We can look at adding in the Bio-Curcumin 5-Loxin. The combination of those powerful curcuminoid oils along with boswellia extract to target once again those inflammatory pathways. There are many things that can help to potentiate a better immune system response and hence lower inflammation in the body.† [00:09:30]
[00:09:33] Our diet and our exercise certainly make a huge difference as well. So adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet as opposed to a pro-inflammatory diet, which is the Standard American Diet with the high processed foods and the sugar, the bad carbs and the bad fats. Adherence to that Mediterranean Diet is going to help the body with a more normalized inflammatory response. So we’re not walking around like this slow-burning forest fire. So I can go on and on and on with all of the different nutrients that we know target inflammation in the body. You know, cumin extracts or the Black Seed with Rosemary & Cordyceps. Very good choice. We have the InflamMune, which is the green-lipped muscle along with the perilla extract. We have many different formulations that are very specified to targeting inflammation to optimize our health. But even if we just look at the basics and we say, “Let me make sure I’m taking my magnesium, my Vitamin D, my Vitamin E, my omega-3 fatty acids. Let me just start there.” That in and of itself can do so much to combat that chronic inflammation that we know drives so much of the detrimental effects from all of these different health conditions that people generally succumb to when you think about cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular mortality. We want to maintain the health of all systems, and the way to achieve that is through the regulation of inflammation. So we don’t want inflammaging. We want to age gracefully and our key to success in doing this is through targeting inflammation.† [00:11:22]
[00:11:23] So that is all that I have for you for today. I want to thank you so much for tuning in to the InViteⓇ Health Podcast. Remember, you can find all of our episodes for free wherever you listen to podcasts or by visiting invitehealth.com/podcast. Now, do make sure that you subscribe and you leave us a review. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @invitehealth and we will see you next time for another episode of the InViteⓇ Health Podcast.† [00:11:23]