Category Archives: Mayo Clinic

Vision & Vitamins: No clear evidence Coenzyme Q10 helps eye health

By | Calgary, Cataracts, LASIK, Mayo Clinic, Ophthalmologist, Refractive Surgery, Vision & Vitamins | No Comments

eyelabeledCoenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has become a popular supplement which is said to help with a number of health issues including cataract and macular degeneration in the eye, but the Mayo Clinic gives it a “C” grade for its benefits in the eye (meaning the evidence is unclear to support its use).  CoQ10 is also called Q10, Vitamin Q10, ubiquinone, and ubidecarenone.  It acts as an antioxidant in the body and has a role in producing ATP which is a molecule which provides energy to cells.  CoQ10 deficiency has not been reported in the general population and it is estimated that a varied diet will provide up to 25% of the measured plasma CoQ10 and that the body naturally makes the remainder.  Primary CoQ10 deficiency is a rare inherited disorder that causes neurologic and muscular dysfunction.

For healthy individuals there is not strong evidence to show that CoQ10 supplements improve athletic performance or prolong life.  There may be some specific circumstance where CoQ10 supplementation may be helpful.  There is some scientific evidence to show that it may be helpful in chronic heart failure and in the treatment of high blood pressure but more studies are needed.  CoQ10 has also been thought to be helpful in specific cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.  There are not enough studies to show that CoQ10 is helpful for eye conditions such as macular degeneration.  According to some sources CoQ10 should not be used for diabetes, hepatitis C, or Huntington’s disease.

There have been some studies that use CoQ10 eye drops for some specific conditions affecting the retina, cornea, and optic nerve.  While early studies are promising for specific diseases, more studies are needed.  More commonly studies have used a tablet or capsule, injection, or intravenous (IV) CoQ10.   There are some side effects including insomnia, elevated liver enzymes, rash, heartburn, and fatigue that have been reported when using CoQ10.  As with all supplements be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting to take CoQ10 as it may interact with other medications (in particular blood thinners).

Foods that contain higher amounts of CoQ10 include beef, herring, chicken, soybean, canola oil, rainbow trout, roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, pistachio nuts, broccoli, cauliflower, orange, strawberries, and eggs.  A varied diet is helpful in providing a wide variety of nutrients and since CoQ10 appears to act in concert with other vitamins such as vitamin E, having a dietary source of this vitamin may help provide CoQ10 along with other nutrients and co-factors that will aid in absorption and in action.  CoQ10 naturally declines with age so maintaining a healthy diet is increasingly important.  Given the scientific evidence to date it seems unlikely that CoQ10 supplementation is helpful for vision in healthy people.

If you have questions about laser vision correction or wish to book a complimentary evaluation with Dr. Anderson Penno, contact Western Laser Eye Associates.

 

 

 

Vision & Vitamins: Ginkgo Biloba, Glaucoma, and Macular Degeneration

By | Epi-lasik, Epilasik, Eye health, FDA, Food for thought, Ginkgo Biloba, glaucoma, Health Canada, Laser Eye Surgery, Laser vision correction, macular degeneration, Mayo Clinic, Ophthalmologist, Ophthalmology, Opthamologist, Optometry, Pubmed, Refractive Surgery, science, Uncategorized, Vision & Vitamins | No Comments

Vitamins and natural herbs have become more and more popular for alternative treatment as additional treatments for medical conditions.  Ginkgo Biloba has been used for centuries as a traditional treatment which may help blood flow to the brain and aid in treatment of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  It might help treat leg pain that results from blood vessel disease, and there is some suggestion that ginkgo biloba might also help PMS symptoms, depression, multiple sclerosis, and ADHD.  Ginkgo Biloba is extracted from the leaves of the Ginkgo Biloba tree.  As far as vision and eye health are concerned, it is possible that Gingko Biloba might be helpful to eye health but as with many natural products the scientific studies show some favorable and some unfavorable results.

There are some scientific studies that have been reported in the peer reviewed literature which is a data base of articles that have been reviewed by scientists with expertise in the particular field of study before the article is allowed to be published.  Peer review helps to make sure that studies are done in a way that will provide strong statistical evidence for or against a specific area of study.  The most powerful studies are randomized and double-blinded which means the researcher and the subject who is taking the supplement do not know if it is the actual supplement or a placebo being taken.  The “placebo” effect has been well studied and up to 30% of people taking a fake pill who are told it will have beneficial effects will report that it helps whether or not there is any measurable effects.  By double-blinding and using large and randomized numbers of subjects the results will show with more confidence that a particular supplement is helpful or not for a specific condition.  Because there are a lot of different conditions that are being studied, so far there are only a few published peer reviewed scientific studies that have been done to find out if Ginkgo Biloba is good for your eyes.

According to the Mayo Clinic there is some scientific evidence suggesting that Ginkgo Biloba may be helpful in preventing worsening in age related macular degeneration which can lead to central vision loss, but there is little evidence to suggest it might be helpful for treatment of glaucoma.  In the peer reviewed literature there are a few studies including this 2012 study by Cybulska-Heinrich, Mozafferieh and Flammer that suggests supplementation with Ginkgo Biloba might be helpful in addition to traditional medical treatment in cases that are not responding as well as needed to these traditional treatments.  They suggest that antioxidant effects along with a variety of other effects on blood flow might be responsible for the beneficial effects of supplementation with Ginkgo Biloba.  The American Academy of Ophthalmology reported there was a single small randomized trial that showed promise for using Gingko Biloba to slow macular degeneration.

A commonly reported dose of Ginkgo Biloba is a standardized extract, standardized to 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones starting at 40 milligrams of that extract three times daily, but there does not seem to be enough evidence in the scientific studies to prove the most effective doses for a specific condition.  Risks and side effects of Ginkgo Biloba supplements include headaches and dizziness, bleeding, and other side effects.  If you are on a blood thinner or aspirin, or are on other medications you should talk to your pharmacist and/or doctor to make sure that there won’t be dangerous interactions.  There is also some question about the quality of the products in some cases and as with all supplements it is important to be sure you are getting a high quality product.  In Canada a DIN or NPH number can be found on products that have been reviewed by Health Canada.  In the US the FDA does not require approval of supplements before the product is marketed but does collect information on adverse events.  The other thing to consider is the cost of a product like Ginkgo Biloba versus the proof that it will be helpful for your health.

Whether you already had LASIK, Intralasik, EpiLasik, PRK, wear glasses or contacts, reading glasses or no glasses at all you should be sure to get regular checks with your eye care specialist (optometrist or ophthalmologist) in order to optimize your vision for the rest of your life.  If you have questions about laser vision correction or wish to book a complimentary evaluation with Dr. Anderson Penno, contact Western Laser Eye Associates.