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Blog posts of '2012' 'September'

Vitamin D3, the Sunshine Vitamin, May Benefit Healthy Vision, Too

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Vitamin D3, the Sunshine Vitamin, May Benefit Healthy Vision, TooThanks to ongoing research, the list of benefits to vitamin D3 supplementation just keeps getting longer. In addition to supporting calcium absorption for healthy bones, the immune system, and cellular health, scientists now believe that vitamin D3 may also support eye health.

Animal Studies on Vitamin D3 Show Great Promise

Initial studies conducted on mice have shown that vitamin D3 may help reduce the accumulation of amyloid beta in cone cells inside the retina. The central retina, especially the macula of the eye—which is a region containing yellow pigment cells that filter out harmful blue light—contains a large number of cone cells that are responsible for high-contrast vision. Amyloid beta deposits around the macula may affect blood circulation reaching the cone cells, therefore affecting vision. Mice contain fewer cone cells in their eyes than humans, but small amounts of vitamin D3 were shown to have a significantly large effect in reducing amyloid beta accumulation in their eyes. Given these promising results, researchers believe that the effects of vitamin D3 in human eye health may be far more beneficial.

The Importance of Visual Protection

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the reduction of macular pigment in the retina. It is the leading cause of visual health challenges in adults aged 60 and older. Dietary intake of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin help support macular health, and they are crucial because they are the only two carotenoids capable of filtering blue light rays that may damage the inner rods and cones of the eyes. Bright red and orange fruits and leafy vegetables contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. But poor eating habits may not get you enough of these important carotenoids from your foods, which is why you need to have a healthy balance of fruit and veggies in your meals. Now that you know vitamin D3 may also back up the protection of your macula, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement, too. Although vitamin D is referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because your skin produces it when you’re out in the sun, it never hurts to have added protection—especially where your eyes are concerned.

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Do You Have the Right to Know What’s in Your Food?

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Do You Have the Right to Know What’s in Your Food?As election time draws near, one of the proposals in the upcoming California state ballot is Proposition 37, also known as the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, which requires companies to report whether their products contain any genetically modified ingredients. If passed, Prop 37 would make California the first state in the nation to have food manufacturers change the way information is listed on the nutrition facts labels on food products. The ruling will not affect supplement facts labels on dietary supplements, which are generally stricter than regular food items.

New Label Requirements Will Create Greater Transparency

Proponents of Prop 37 say that the new label guidelines will create more honesty in the food industry, separating truly organic food manufacturers from companies claiming to be organic, but who use processed or genetically modified ingredients. Organic food consumers expect higher standards from the products they purchase and the new labeling requirements are designed to create greater transparency between the manufacturer and consumer, so people know exactly what they’re paying for. To date, organic producers have raised around $2.8 million to push greater awareness for Prop 37. By contrast, opposition against Prop 37 has been raised by companies including Coca-Cola, General Mills, Nestle, and Monsanto, which have raised almost $25 million to push their agenda. These companies claim that the new labeling measures may mislead consumers into thinking that genetically modified foods are somehow inferior or unhealthy when compared to organic foods, creating an unfair competitive advantage. They also argue that in the long-run, food prices will go up. Although Prop 37 will only require changes to labels of food for sale in California, many manufacturers will be unable to produce custom labels just for California sale, so the new label format may make its way out of state.

What Does This Mean to Consumers?

Other countries such as Japan, China, and some European nations already label their genetically modified foods. Also, about 40-70% of food already sold in California grocery stores contains genetically modified ingredients. The California Right to Know group, which is leading the pro-labeling initiative, argues that Prop 37 merely seeks to inform consumers so they can make their own food choices when more information is made available to them. To our readers in California: The decision is yours when the polls open in November.

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