Vision Vitamins: It’s not only WHAT you take but HOW you take it
Presently, we are witnessing new breakthroughs in helping people to keep and protect their vision. The National Institute of Health (NIH) is currently doing a study on over 4,600 people to follow the effect that nutritional supplementation can have in relation to cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma. This study includes the importance of not only what nutritional supplements to take, but how these nutrients should be taken.
The following is a chart that compares the absorption rates of different delivery systems:
Delivery System Rate of Absorption
Pills or tablets 10%
Transdermal Patch 45%
Sublingual (droppers) 50%
Intraoral Spray (under the tongue) 95%
* Refer to most recent Physician Desk Reference NPPDR #18
One way around this problem is to take the most important nutrients orally (under the tongue) if available. Again, it’s not how much you take but how much your body tissues absorb that is important.
Intraoral and sublingual absorption has become a viable solution with the introduction of liposomes. Liposomes are little fat containers that can hold nutrients, and provide an efficient transport system that allows for maximum absorption by the body. These fat containers bypass the stomach and take a quicker route by slipping through the sub-mucosal membrane under the tongue and directly into the bloodstream. With a greater concentration of nutrients in the blood, more nutrients reach their intended destination, thereby requiring a lower dosage intake.
The intraoral spray or sublingual method of delivery is also very helpful for individuals who have difficulty swallowing pills or capsules, and is also cost effective since a lower dosage of nutrients is needed.
Remember, more nutrients in a pill or capsule is not necessarily better. What is important is how accurately can we best insure the intake of “therapeutic dosages,” recommended in many Other variables affect the absorption rates as well including: 1) the quality of the nutrients, 2) whether they are buffered and time-released, and 3) how the nutrients are combined with other nutrients.
Often times we know how much nutrients we want patients to take therapeutically for patients conditions, but what we do not know is how much of the nutrients prescribed are absorbed into the patients bloodstream through their digestive tracts. We do know that as one gets older, one’s absorption rate through the intestinal tract reduces, sometimes significantly, particularly when combined with serious health conditions, or particular digestive disorders such as ulcers, diverticulitis, gastric problems, acid reflux, etc.
Other factors that affect absorption include the following:
1) Stress restricts the flow of blood in the body by tightening muscles, and restricting the free flow of fluids. Meditation, yoga, tai chi or even daily walks in nature can all help reduce stress significantly.
2) Eating slowly. We should be eating our food slowly and thoughtfully. Try never to eat on the run, and don’t eat while conversing, writing, doing work, etc. Make eating a special time for yourself.
3) Exercise helps the body rid itself of harmful toxins that build-up daily. Numerous studies have shown that even a brisk walk of 20 minutes per day can have a major impact in reducing development of disease such as heart disease, and has even been shown to reduce high eye pressures in cases of glaucoma.
4) Positive thinking. In Chinese medicine, excessive thoughts of anger, worry, resentment, grief and fear all have significant effects on the free flow of “energy” in our body.
5) Eating healthy food. Our bodies crave fresh food, particularly fruits, vegetables and grains. These foods provide energy to our bodies in the form of vitamins, minerals, and natural enzymes. Excessive intake of “dead” food such as fast foods, or highly processed foods, requires our bodies to use its own enzymes and energy to digest food in an attempt to separate whatever limited nutrients may be available.
Tips for Taking Vitamins and Maintaining Good Digestion
1) If possible take vitamins with food. Digestive enzymes are stimulated when eating and aid in nutrient absorption.
2) Limit fluids during meals to improve digestion. Especially avoid cold or iced drinks when eating.
3) If possible, use liquid and/or sublingual vitamins. They are the most easily assimilated by the body. Capsules are the next best choice.
4) If vitamin capsules cannot be swallowed, open up the capsule and mix the contents with juice or yogurt.
5) A small amount of apple cider vinegar, taken just prior to a meal, will stimulate production of digestive juices.
6) If taking antibiotics, take acidophilus supplements between dosages. This will help build up the good bacteria in the digestive tract destroyed by the antibiotics. It is especially important for elderly patients to take acidophilus on a regular basis.
7) Vitamin A and Lutein compete for absorption, so take separately.
(1) Scientific America 1987;256(1):103-111 – for more information on liposomes
(2) Physician Desk Reference NPPDR #18
About the author
Dr. Grossman has helped many people maintain healthy vision and even improve eyesight. He is best described as a Developmental/Behavioral Optometrist, dedicated to helping people with such conditions ranging from myopia and dry eyes to potentially vision threatening diseases as macular degeneration and glaucoma.
His combined multi-disciplinary approach using nutrition, eye exercises, lifestyle changes and Chinese Medicine provides him with a wide array of tools and approaches to tackle difficult eye problems.
Learn more at www.naturaleyecare.com