Vitamin C May Lower Risk Of Cataracts

Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the world today. It is estimated that cataracts affect 20.5 million Americans older than age 40. By the time they’re 70, over one-half of all Americans have cataracts. This eye disease is truly a worldwide problem. Untreated cataracts result in blindness, so what can we do to prevent cataracts from developing?

A new study from King’s College in London links a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables with preventing cataracts, regardless of an individual’s genetics. Researchers from King’s College studied 1,000 pairs of female twins from the United Kingdom Twins Registry. All participants in the study were about 60 years old when they completed a food and nutrient questionnaire. The research team scanned the eyes of all participants to measure their progression of cataracts.

The participants who ate vitamin C along with two servings of fruits and vegetables each day were 20 percent less likely to develop cataracts than those who ate a less nutritious diet. A decade later, the researchers followed up with about one-third of the twin pairs. Those who originally reported eating more vitamin C were now 33 percent less likely to develop cataracts than those who ate a less nutritious diet (Source: Medical News Daily).

All of the participants who benefited from the healthy diet were not receiving their vitamins from pills. Instead, they were eating twice the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables. This would give credence to the assertion that vitamins in food are superior to vitamins in a capsule.

“We found no beneficial effect from supplements, only from the vitamin C in the diet,” study’s lead author Dr. Chris Hammond, the chair of ophthalmology at King's College said. ”This probably means that it is not just vitamin C but everything about a healthy diet that is good for us and good for aging.”