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Vitalux (Multi-Vitamin)

Vitalux is a range of vitamin products designed to provide the vitamins needed by the eye.

There are three formulations:
Vitalux® AREDS, the only multivitamin/multimineral specifically formulated in response to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study; it also contains lutein and zeaxanthin. Vitalux®-S, a new multimineral supplement that, except for beta carotene, contains the same ingredients that were shown to delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and reduce vision loss in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). The absence of beta carotene is in response to another major study that linked supplemental beta carotene taken by smokers and recent ex-smokers to an increased incidence of lung cancer and an increased risk of death from lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other causes.

Vitalux® Time Release was the first widely available multivitamin/multimineral to contain lutein and zeaxanthin. The retina is particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress. Contributing factors include:
A high consumption of oxygen
A diet high in polyunsaturated fatty acids
Cumulative exposure to irradiation
Free radicals initiate local molecular instability leading to cellular damage. Formation of free radicals is caused by metabolism, sunlight (blue-light spectrum), other free radicals, lack of antioxidants, and other factors. This process may lead to deteriorating vision due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and other diseases.

Antioxidant supplementation with certain nutrients may counteract the chain reaction of free radical damage by neutralizing the electron imbalance. Replenishing the antioxidant potential of the retina may effectively decrease oxidant stress and slow or decrease retinal deterioration.

The Role of Nutrition in Age-related Macular Degeneration: Popeye, the spinach-guzzling cartoon character, may have been on to something after all. Although it may not help build huge muscles, there's now solid evidence that certain nutrients found in spinach and other leafy green vegetables may help prevent or slow down age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Antioxidants: To understand the connection between AMD and diet, it's important to first understand what antioxidants are, and why they are important to your health.

Antioxidants are a group of vitamins, minerals and carotenoids that form one of the human body's first lines of defense against "free radicals".
Free radicals are a natural by-product of the body's metabolic process that can damage or even kill healthy cells throughout the body - including those in the eyes. One of the roles of antioxidants is to seek out and neutralize the free radicals. Antioxidants include Vitamins C and E, as well as carotenoids such as beta-carotene.

Healthy, well-nourished people usually have an ample supply of antioxidants to help protect them against free radical damage. But people whose antioxidant levels are low due to unbalanced diets or other factors may be at increased risk for AMD and other diseases.

The Macula: The macula is the small "spot" of central vision-related cells in the center of the retina. If you could see it, it would appear yellow. This is because the macular pigment contains high levels of antioxidant carotenoids, the yellow pigments found in many fruits and vegetables. In particular, two important carotenoids - lutein and zeaxanthin (loo-teen and zee-zan-thin) - make up the bulk of the macular pigment. What's surprising however, is that our bodies do not make their own supply of lutein (although zeaxanthin appears to be made in the retina from lutein). This means that our supply of these two carotenoids must come entirely from outside - from what we eat. Research is starting to show that the more we eat of foods high in lutein, the higher the density of our macular pigment. Conversely, the less lutein we consume, the lower our macular pigment density.

So, why is the macular pigment density so special? One very good reason is that people with low macular pigment densities have been shown to be more prone to developing AMD. In part, this could be the result of there being fewer antioxidants available to protect the macula from free radical damage. Another good reason has more recently come to light: the macular pigment may help protect against damage from blue light.

Blue Light Damage: Visible blue light, much like ultraviolet light, can't actually be "seen", but over time, it can cause damage to the retina, especially the important central vision-related cells in the macula. Exposure to this type of blue light has been identified as another potential risk factor for AMD.

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