Thanks 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.
- Lee V, Rekhi E, Kam JH, Jeffery G. Vitamin D rejuvenates aging eyes by reducing inflammation, clearing amyloid beta and improving visual function. Neurobiol Aging. 2012;33(10):2382-2389.
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration Overview. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/macular-degeneration/age-related-macular-degeneration-overview.