Lycopene Benefits For Eyes
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment
Vision is a true blessing for all of us. But in this age of ever-increasing environmental pollution and digitalization, the stress over our eyes is worrisome.
On a routine basis, our eyes are exposed to harmful toxins present in the environment. And with everything going digital the screen time is also going up. The rays emitting from laptops, mobile phones, television screens, and other devices are not only affecting our eyesight but can also cause other problems related to vision.
So what is to be done? Firstly you need to protect your eyes from pollutants and decrease your screen time. Secondly, you can incorporate such foods in the diet that are good for your eyes. And if you’re someone who is not good at eating healthy then lycopene supplements are a treat for you. They have strong antioxidant properties and can protect your eyes from oxidative stress.
Following is a detailed description of what actually lycopene is, what are its health benefits and how can it protect your eyes from certain diseases.
Lycopene is a naturally occurring pigment found in fruits and vegetables giving them pink to red color. It belongs to the carotene family and is a powerful antioxidant. It protects cells from damage by free radicals and thereby is beneficial in many diseases of the heart, brain, eyes, skin, and other parts of the body.
Lycopene is found in almost all naturally occurring foods having pink or red color. Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene. Below is the list of some other common foods that contain a good amount of lycopene:
- Pink grapefruit
- Red orange
- Sweet red peppers
Lycopene supplements are also available in the market. These are well tolerated and easily digestible and are equally beneficial for your health like naturally occurring lycopene in fruits and vegetables.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF LYCOPENE
Free radicals are harmful compounds that damage DNA and cause numerous diseases. Antioxidants fight free radicals and prevent that damage. Lycopene is one such nutrient with great antioxidant properties. It can protect us from different types of cancer, skin burn, heart diseases, vision deterioration, etc.
· PROMOTE HEART HEALTH
Lycopene lowers the risk of developing heart disease. It reduces free radical damage, total cholesterol, and bad cholesterol aka LDL. It increases the amount of HDL (also referred as good cholesterol) and can significantly decrease the risk of stroke. Lycopene's protective effects are also evident in people who have diabetes or people who smoke.
· PRESERVES BRAIN FUNCTION
Your brain is highly susceptible to degenerative changes that come with age. One such change is Alzheimer’s disease in which beta-amyloid plaques deposit in cerebral tissues. Lycopene reduces oxidative damage by beta-amyloid plaques and prevents seizures and dementia seen in Alzheimer’s disease.
· PREVENT CANCER
The strong antioxidant nature of lycopene enables it to prevent and slow down the progression of different types of cancer. It has been protective against prostate cancer, lung cancer, and breast cancer.
· PROTECT FROM SUN BURN
Lycopene can also protect you against the damage by UV rays from sunlight. It reduces the redness followed by sun exposure and prevents severe skin reactions. Lycopene undoubtedly has protective functions for your skin but it is not considered a replacement for sunscreen. Therefore, even if you are taking lycopene supplementation never ditch your sun block when going out in a sunny day.
· STRENGTHEN BONES
Lycopene is said to support bone density and provides strength to the bones. Its antioxidant property also prevents the death of bone cells and keeps the bones strong and healthy.
· LOOK AFTER YOUR EYES
With its ability to fight free radicals lycopene prevents and delays cataract formation and also lowers the risk of macular degeneration. This makes it a super nutrient to be used for improving your eye health.
LYCOPENE USES FOR EYES
Now when you are well aware of lycopene and its benefits let’s dig into the uses of lycopene for promoting eye health. Just like any other part of your body eyes are also susceptible to oxidative damage. Lycopene fights off this oxidative stress and prevents you from developing certain eye conditions that can eventually lead to blindness
Lycopene plays an important role in the prevention of the following eye diseases:
1. MACULAR DEGENERATION
Macular degeneration is typically seen in old age and is attributed to aging. It can dramatically affect your eyesight and can also lead to vision loss.
Macular degeneration is a result of the accumulation of fat deposits below the retina. When free radicals hit the sensitive tissues of the eyes, it can cause fatty deposits to accumulate. This leads to deterioration of vision.
Lycopene battles against oxidative stress and reduces the risk of macular degeneration. It can also slow down the progression of diseases once it has been developed.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness, especially in older individuals. When the flow of aqueous humor is blocked it begins to accumulate in the eyes. This leads to increased pressure within the eyes and in turn causes oxidative stress.
Lycopene prevents the eyes from oxidative damage caused by increased pressure and protects the eyes from any degenerative changes. This will improve both your eyesight and overall eye health.
Cloudiness over the lens of the eye is known as a cataract. Initially, it affects your eyesight to some extent but if it is not treated timely it can lead to complete loss of vision.
One of the risk factors for developing cataracts is oxidative stress. Blue light emitting from digital devices like mobile phones, computers, and television penetrates the retina and causes oxidative damage to sensitive cells and tissues of the eyes.
Lycopene being an antioxidant prevent and delay the development of cataracts. It also hinders the progression of already existing cataracts so that no more damage can occur.
Lycopene also forms a protective barrier in the eyes to prevent oxidative damage to cells of the retina.
When you incorporate lycopene in your daily routine it will protect your eyes against degenerative disorders, improve your eyesight and boost overall eye health.
Adults usually intake 15-45 mg of oral lycopene supplements for up to 6 months. But the dosage can vary from person to person depending upon their age, nutritional status, and medical conditions. Therefore it is recommended to consult your physician for an accurate dosage specific to your needs.
Lycopene is a natural product and is considered safe for consumption but the following are some of the conditions in which precautionary measures are recommended:
- Pregnancy- lycopene supplementation can cause pre-term labor and low birth weight babies. Hence it is recommended not to use lycopene supplementation during pregnancy unless prescribed by your physician.
- Breastfeeding- when a mother consumes lycopene supplementation it can transfer lycopene to the baby via breast milk. Therefore when you’re breastfeeding take lycopene only if it is recommended by the child’s pediatrician or your physician.
- Surgery- lycopene interferes with blood clotting and thereby makes you prone to bleed during and after the surgery. Discuss lycopene supplementation with your surgeon and try to stop taking it at least two weeks prior to the surgery.
- Anticoagulant therapy- As we already know that lycopene inhibits blood clotting so taking it with medications that also slow down the clotting mechanism can put you at the risk of bruising and bleeding.
LYCOPENE INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER DRUGS
Lycopene is a fat-soluble pigment and requires fat for its absorption. So if you are taking drugs such as lipase inhibitors (that decreases fat absorption in body) then that can affect your body's ability to uptake lycopene.
Hence, before starting lycopene supplementation consult with your physician regarding your ongoing medications and how to take lycopene with them.
SIDE EFFECTS OF LYCOPENE
There are no adverse side effects of lycopene supplementation, specifically no immediate effects. But long term consumption of lycopene in large quantities can cause a benign skin condition called lycopenodermia. In this disease, a yellow or orange discoloration of the skin is seen which is reversible within a few days to weeks if you stop consumption of lycopene supplementation.
IN A NUTSHELL
As you grow older your eye health naturally deteriorates and in today’s era of technology, your eyes are also prone to damage at a younger age by virtue of environmental toxins and harmful rays from electronic devices. All these things affect your eyesight and can also cause certain eye disorders.
To counter these adverse effects a strong antioxidant like lycopene can be used on a regular basis which will fight free radicals and prevent the eyes from the harms of oxidative stress.
Check out Vorst’s natural Lycopene with Zinc and Selenium 30 mg capsule here.
Also, check out Vorst’s OPC-8 Vegan Capsules containing lycopene.