According to a report published earlier this year, the number of people with one of the most fearsome diabetes complications is on the rise. Prevalence of diabetic retinopathy, which occurs as a result of damage to the small blood vessels in the retina of the eye, increased by 89 percent between 2000 and 2010!
Prevention, along with early diagnosis and treatment of diabetic retinopathy are very important, because this condition is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in Americans younger than 75. Here are some supplements that can help.
Natural Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment Options
Mirtogenol™ is a combination of two herbal extracts: Mirtoselect® (bilberry) and Pycnogenol® (French Maritime pine bark). Both extracts have antioxidant properties and have been shown to strengthen the capillaries in the retina, making them a first-line defense against retinopathy. Furthermore, bilberry contains anthocyanosides and other flavonoids that improve circulation and discourage inflammation in eye tissues, and pine bark also helps increase blood flow throughout the body.
Studies have also found that bilberry and Pycnogenol are effective natural diabetic retinopathy treatments (as well as glaucoma). In one study, people with diabetic retinopathy took 20–160 mg of Pycnogenol daily. After six months, none of the participants had experienced any additional vision loss. Look for Mirtogenol in products targeting vision health, and use as directed.
Grape seed extract is another powerful antioxidant that protects blood vessels and capillaries from free radical damage. Research shows that grape seed extract can help prevent diabetic retinopathy. The recommended dose of grape seed extract is 1 mg per pound of body weight (round your weight up or down to the nearest 50 pounds), in divided doses with meals, for the first week. Then continue with a maintenance dose of half that amount. For example, if you weigh 210 pounds, take 200 mg a day for the first week, and then continue taking 100 mg a day.
- Benfotiamine is a fat-soluble, highly absorbable form of thiamine (vitamin B1). According to researchers, benfotiamine blocks three of the major culprits responsible for blood vessel damage in patients with elevated blood sugar levels. As a result, it helps prevent retinopathy and other diabetes complications. The suggested dose is 300 mg of benfotiamine per day.
- Magnesium. Studies show that people with the lowest levels of this important mineral are the most likely to have severe diabetic retinopathy. I recommend taking 500–1,000 mg of magnesium per day for diabetic retinopathy treatment.
While the therapies I just outlined are effective at addressing retinopathy, I also recommend taking a targeted vision formula that contains lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and other nutrients that support eye health.
Now it’s your turn: Do you know of any other natural diabetic retinopathy treatments?
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