Vitamin C protects our eyes, as it has powerful antioxidant properties. It can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, and even lower the risk of developing of cataracts.
How much vitamin C do we need a day?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. Furthermore, pregnant women need at least 85 mg and lactating women need 120 mg of vitamin C a day.
Higher doses, especially from food, are beneficial, though. Furthermore, people on medication or smokers have higher vitamin C needs. For instance, smokers need at least 35 mg more vitamin C a day!
In any case, vitamin C supplements are considered pretty safe. The upper tolerable dose is 2,000 mg!
Certainly, we don’t need vitamin C supplements. We can get this dose from food. Above all, you should consult your health care provider before taking supplements.
How does vitamin C protect eye health?
Vitamin C is necessary for healthy eyes. Actually, vitamin C is concentrated in all eye tissues. Moreover, vitamin C is vital for the health of blood vessels, including the delicate capillaries in the retina of the eye.
We need antioxidants for good eyesight
As vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, it might help slow AMD progression. Antioxidants play a role in AMD development, as they fight oxidative stress. Pollution, sunlight, or smoking increase free radicals in the body and eyes. Too many free radicals can lead to oxidative stress. Consuming lots of foods high in antioxidants is the best way to prevent oxidative stress. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals.
According to a study, people at high risk of developing AMD who received antioxidants had a 28% lower risk of progression to advanced AMD.
Certainly, our main source of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, should be food. Fruits, herbs, and vegetables are the best sources!
Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen
Collagen is necessary for healthy eyes. Actually, collagen is a protein which provides structure to our eye. Especially, in the cornea and sclera. Low collagen synthesis could be a reason for the development of cataracts.
The human body can synthesize collagen naturally. But, we produce less collagen, as we age. So, we should provide the body with high amounts of all the necessary compounds, in order, to produce more collagen. Vitamin C is a key compound for collagen synthesis.
High doses of vitamin C may reduce the risk of cataracts
There are many studies that have linked high doses of vitamin C and decreased risk of developing cataracts. A daily dose of at least 300 mg of vitamin C seems beneficial for good eyesight.
According to studies, vitamin C intakes greater than 300 mg per day can reduce the risk of cataract formation by 70%. On the contrary, daily doses of 120 mg from supplements didn’t significantly lower cataract risk.
You may need higher doses of vitamin C, if you smoke, have diabetes, or take drugs. These are risk factors for cataracts, as they deplete the eye’s lens of vitamin C. In this case, you should consult your doctor, You may need a higher dose.
Vitamin E is also beneficial for lowering the risk of cataracts. Especially, when combining with vitamin C. Both are powerful antioxidants. We can take safely a daily dose of vitamin E up to 400 IU from supplements.
Vitamin C helps people with AMD
Age-related macular degeneration is closely associated with nutrition. People at high risk for AMD can benefit from taking 500 mg of vitamin C a day. This dosage, along with beta-carotene, vitamin E and zinc supplementation can slow the progression of advanced AMD by about 25%.
The number of people with AMD is expected to triple by 2025! AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 55 in the Western world.
Foods rich in vitamin C protect your eyesight
Actually, it’s pretty easy to get the recommended daily dose of vitamin C. 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day will provide about 100 mg of vitamin C. More than the recommended daily dose!
Foods high in vitamin C are oranges, kiwi, strawberries, grapefruit, papaya, pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens, and tomatoes. See the whole list here.
Certainly, the best source of vitamin C is food. Food can provide much more than vitamin C. Foods contain vitamins and other antioxidants, as well. The combination of these compounds is more beneficial for the eye.
Do we need vitamin C supplements for healthy eyes?
Unfortunately, many people fail to take enough vitamin C from food. In this case, taking vitamin C supplements may help you protect your vision. As a rule of thumb, a daily dose of 300-500 mg of vitamin C is beneficial for the eye.
In any case, a daily dose up to 2,000 mg is considered pretty safe. Much higher doses would be excreted through urine.
Tips to absorb more vitamin C
First, you should steam your veggies, instead of boiling them. When boiling, vitamin C leaches into the water.
Prefer fresh fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is vulnerable to heat. So, canned fruits and vegetables contain little to no vitamin C.
Furthermore, you should cut your vitamin C supplement in half. Our body can’t absorb too much vitamin C at once. Better consume two smaller doses of vitamin C than one big.