If You Could Prevent Cataracts Naturally, Would You?
Updated: Dec 23, 2019
This past week a very dear friend of mine had cataract surgery on the second eye. I realize it’s not a very big deal to many but if you can avoid any type of surgery then wouldn’t you do so.
For those not familiar with what a cataract is it is the gradual clouding of the lens inside the eye which decreases your vision and can lead to blindness. It’s similar to looking through a fogged window.
While many believe it is an inevitable part of aging, there are natural interventions that can be used to slow down or possibly reverse the progression. So, here are a few tips that I found on how to prevent cataracts.
Avoid cholesterol-lowering statin drugs:
From two decades of research, it has been recognized that statin drugs have the potential to cause the progressive clouding over the lens of the eye. Furthermore, studies have shown that when taken alone or with other drugs which inhibit their metabolism, the drugs increase the risk of cataracts of those patients. One reason for this, is due to the cataractogenic potential of these drugs being able to gain systematic distribution throughout the body and passing through the blood-brain-barrier entering the cortical region of the lens producing damage.
Curcumin or Turmeric extract: This is an amazing plant that aids in so much including protecting against the development of cataracts.
Many of the compounds in turmeric can help counteract the lifestyle and other health factors that can promote cataracts and may even help stop or limit their formation. This includes supporting , controlling levels, and boosting which integrative medicine experts also suggest can also keep eyes healthy. Further studies also show that the anti-aging effects of calorie restriction, which some of the compounds in turmeric mimic, can help delay the formation of cataracts.
Lutein: During a two-year double-blind placebo-controlled study, lutein was found to have improved visual function in patients with age-related cataracts. You can find lutein in foods such as dark leafy greens, green peas, squash, pumpkin, brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrots and even egg yolks.
Wheatgrass: A study published by Biogerontology in 2005, notes that wheatgrass may actually reverse lens opacity associated with cataracts. You can check out that study found below in the references.
Wear UVA/UVB protection sunglasses: Ultra-violet light can hasten the formation of cataracts.
STOP SMOKING! Did you know that smoking increases your risks of developing cataracts? Well, guess what so does alcohol consumption. So, limit your alcohol intake as well.
There are hundreds of foods, herbs and spices, that aid in the prevention premature aging including the eyes. By learning how to incorporate these into our daily diet we can prevent many ailments along the way.
For example, you can add turmeric, black pepper, and garlic powder to a shaker and mix well. Use this blend on eggs in the morning any other meal. Turmeric also aids in inflammation that causes arthritis but as all herbs and spices do, it aids in other areas as well, including eye health. You can take supplements but the most effective way of keeping well is by eating fresh ingredients when possible. By doing so, we get better tasting meals with all the great health benefits to keep us moving better. A win-win if I don’t say so myself!
To learn more about the studies referenced above please check out the references below.
Do you have any tips you would like to share about this topic? Feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
R J Gerson, H L Allen, G R Lankas, J S MacDonald, A W Alberts, D L Bokelman. The toxicity of a fluorinated-biphenyl HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor in beagle dogs.Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1991 Feb ;16(2):320- PMID: 2055362
Julia Hippisley-Cox, Carol Coupland. Unintended effects of statins in men and women in England and Wales: population based cohort study using the QResearch database. BMJ. 2010;340:c2197. Epub 2010 May PMID: 20488911
R G Schlienger, W E Haefeli, H Jick, C R Meier. Risk of cataract in patients treated with statins. Arch Intern Med. 2001 Sep 10 ;161(16):2021-6. PMID: 11525705
S Awasthi, S K Srivatava, J T Piper, S S Singhal, M Chaubey, Y C Awasthi. Curcumin protects against 4-hydroxy-2-trans-nonenal-induced cataract formation in rat lenses. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996 Nov;64(5):761-6. PMID: 8901798
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R Manikandan, R Thiagarajan, S Beulaja, G Sudhandiran, M Arumugam. Effect of curcumin on selenite-induced cataractogenesis in Wistar rat pups. Curr Eye Res. 2010 Feb;35(2):122- PMID: 20136422
Ramar Manikandan, Raman Thiagarajan, Sivagnanam Beulaja, Ganapasam Sudhandiran, Munuswamy Arumugam. Curcumin prevents free radical-mediated cataractogenesis through modulations in lens calcium. Free Radic Biol Med. 2010 Feb 15;48(4):483-92. Epub 2009 Dec 10. PMID: 19932168
R Manikandan, R Thiagarajan, S Beulaja, S Chindhu, K Mariammal, G Sudhandiran, M Arumugam. Anti-cataractogenic effect of curcumin and aminoguanidine against selenium-induced oxidative stress in the eye lens of Wistar rat pups: An in vitro study using isolated lens. Chem Biol Interact. 2009 Oct 7;181(2):202-9. Epub 2009 May 27. PMID: 19481068
S Padmaja, T N Raju. Antioxidant effect of curcumin in selenium induced cataract of Wistar rats. Indian J Exp Biol. 2004 Jun;42(6):601-3. PMID: 15260112
B Olmedilla, F Granado, I Blanco, M Vaquero. Lutein, but not alpha-tocopherol, supplementation improves visual function in patients with age-related cataracts: a 2-y double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Nutrition. 2003 Jan;19(1):21-4.PMID: 12507634
Andrea Basso, Giuliana Rossolini, Anna Piantanelli, Domenico Amici, Isabella Calzuola, Loretta Mancinelli, Valeria Marsili, Gian Luigi Gianfranceschi. Aging reversibility: from thymus graft to vegetable extract treatment-- application to cure an age-associated pathology. Biogerontology. 2005;6(4):245-53. PMID: 16333758