Epigenetic eye age - Muhdo

We’ve already looked in to James’ Biological Age and had a quick look at how his memory and brain were ageing in relation to his chronological/actual age.

Today we will have a quick look at how his eyes are actually ageing, then once again go through James’ lifestyle to see how it might be affecting his eye health.

James’ eye health, right off the bat, has never good and he attributes this to both of his parents wearing glasses and passing on this trait to him.

James was lucky enough to spend his early years wearing a delightful patch over his left eye, this then progressed to some beautifully hand-crafted brown NHS glasses.

James commeted: “I was so pleased with my new fashion accessory that I would on a daily basis race my mum home from school to try (in a thankless task) to bury them at the bottom of the garden.
This tactic never unfortunately seemed to work, so I was stuck with them.”

"I was surprised!"

Given the issues that James had with his eyes he was extremely pleased that his eye age was only 0.4 years older than his actual age.

How has he managed to do that?

He hasn’t gone out of his way to protect his eyes apart from wearing his glasses whenever at the computer and sunglasses in the summer.

Fundamentally, there are two main areas that we need to improve to try and reduce eye degeneration, which are inflammation and oxidisation. With both playing a crucial part in sustaining your eye health.

let’s drill down into a bit more detail to hopefully see how he’s kept his eyes from deteriorating over the years.

Below are some of the main areas which have a direct correlation for maintaining eye health.

Vitamin A

When we think of eye health we are instantaneously drawn to carrots as they are synonymous with helping us to see in the dark.

But vitamin A is a fairly complex nutrient that has a whole variety of health benefits, so below we will briefly explain the importance of vitamin A with regards to keeping your eyes healthy.

Vitamin A is more than just a single nutrient but a broad group of related nutrients, each providing us with differing health benefits.

Retinoids

There are some specific immune, inflammatory, genetic and reproductive-related benefits of vitamin A that can only be obtained from the retinoid (animal source) forms of the vitamin.

The retinoid will be especially important with respect to pregnancy and childbirth, childhood growth, night vision, red blood cell production and resistance to infectious disease.

Top five vitamin A retinoids foods

  1. Shrimp 4oz 102mcg
  2. Eggs 1 medium 75mcg
  3. Cheese 1oz 73mcg
  4. Yoghurt 250g 65mcg
  5. Salmon 4oz 56mcg

Carotenoids

Carotenoids act much in the same way as retinoids in providing us with unique health benefits.

They function as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, with some having a special role to play in the protection of our health.

The two forms aren’t just chemically different – they also provide us with different types of health benefits. Each providing us with specific immune, inflammatory and genetic benefits of vitamin A, with some that can only be obtained from the retinoid (animal source) forms of the vitamin.

Top five vitamin A carotenoids foods

  1. Sweet Potato 1 cup 3800mcg
  2. Carrots 1 cup 2000mcg
  3. Spinach 1 cup 1880mcg
  4. Kale 1 cup 1760mcg
  5. Mustard Greens 1 cup 1730mcg

In most instances we will be required to consume both retinoids and carotenoids. It is, however, possible in many individuals to convert carotenoids to retinoid, but many factors can contribute to possible problems with conversion.

Lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidant

Lutein and zeaxanthin are both extremely important macular carotenoids, which are high in antioxidants and that give plants and fruits their bright red and yellow pigmentation.

They are also extremely important for their protective quality for your eyes, as they provide natural filters for the blue light emitted from digital devices.

Astaxanthin antioxidant

Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant, which occurs naturally and provides a reddish pigment to a group of chemicals called carotenoids.

Studies indicate that they offer a whole array of benefits which suggest improvements to cancer, brain ageing and cardiovascular health.

Astaxanthin in found in much higher amounts/concentrations within the eyes and specifically the retina, and act in a similar way to lutein and zeaxanthin with regards to protection from blue light.

Highest natural sources of astaxanthin will predominantly be found in fish, shellfish and Algae.

With the highest concentrations in green algae, which has thousands of times more astaxanthin than salmonoids.

James has always had an abundance of carotenoids in his diet, whether that be from carrots, peppers or sweet potato.

He’s also never boiled his vegetables as doing so loses the majority of nutrients contained within that food group.

Green tea

For many years James has sacrificed his taste buds and endured green tea for the greater good.

Why? Well, cups of green tea could prove useful for keeping your eyes healthy thanks to a compound called EGCG (Eppy-gallow-CAT-akin gallate).
Various studies have looked at EGCG effects with regards to high levels of antioxidants being present in the eye tissue, leading scientists to believe that green tea could provide protective properties against common eye degeneration and diseases.

Zinc

James has always used a zinc supplement, whether in a ZMA formula such as MSC nutrition’s which he says is probably the best one he’s used to help him sleep like a baby, or in a vitamin C and zinc effervescent.

Zinc has a variety of important functions, such as improved immune, hormone and regeneration capabilities.

Deficiency can cause an array of symptoms, such as loss of taste or appetite, impaired vision to a lack of energy and inability for wounds to heal.

With regards to how it contributes to eye health, zinc is an essential nutrient for the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which helps to reduce oxidative damage to the eye.

Zinc is also vital for Vitamin A to produce an eye protecting pigment called melanin, which we normally associate with skin, eye and hair colour.

Blue light

The wonders of technology have many benefits, but with any action you’ll get an opposing reaction, and in some instances not always beneficial.

With our lives seemingly being taken over by our day to day tech, trying to negate the harmful effects of copious amounts of blue light from phones and laptops would be hugely beneficial.

One great habit of James’ is reducing his blue light during the evenings.

He now always uses a filter on his phone and doesn’t have a TV in his bedroom, so he doesn’t watch telly when he’s actually meant to be going to sleep.

Helpful information?

Hopefully some of the information that we’ve provided in these sections has been both insightful and useful?

Have a read through our articles on hearing age as well as inflammation levels.

Inflammation can be a confusing issue with the majority of people still not fully understanding what it actually means.

Hopefully we can shine some light on the subject and help explain it in more detail.

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