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Two in three Brits are missing key nutrient that is 'vital' for health – how to get it

A new report co-authored by public health nutritionist Dr Emma Derbyshire and optometrist Francesca Marchetti has revealed that a lack of omega-3 DHA in our diets is causing concern for eye health.

Dr Derbyshire warned: “Worryingly, there are significant dietary shortages in key nutrients of importance to the eye the omega-3 DHA – because too few people eat oily fish and vitamin B2 because fruit and vegetable intakes are so low.

“Nutrients are key for eye health with long chain omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA), found in oily fish such as salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel as well as some types of microalgae, being among the most important. DHA is key in contributing to normal vision, a beneficial effect obtained with 250mg DHA daily.”

Despite government recommendations to consume one portion (140g) of oily fish each week, a recent survey for MacuShield discovered that 73% of Britons do not meet this guideline, leaving just 27% adhering to the dietary advice for oily fish consumption, reports Gloucestershire Live.

Optometrist Francesca revealed: “Carotenoids (lutein, meso- zeaxanthin and zeaxanthin) form part of the eye structure, specifically the macular pigment in the macula at the back of the eye. Our bodies cannot make these carotenoids so they need to be obtained from the diet or a dietary supplement formulated for the eyes.

“There is no recommended intake for these carotenoids, but the average diet in Europe and the USA is thought to contain no more than 1-2mg of lutein or 3mg of combined lutein and zeaxanthin daily which may not be enough. Lutein is found in vegetables and fruit, particularly dark green vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli and zeaxanthin in yellow and orange vegetables and fruits such as orange peppers. Only 33% of adults in the UK meet the 5-a-day recommendation, suggesting that the UK population’s intake of macular carotenoids is minimal.

“The Great Britain Nutrition and Health Claims (NHC) register officially recognises that riboflavin (vitamin B2) contributes to the maintenance of normal vision, yet according to the latest NDNS data, UK adult dietary intakes of vitamin B2 are not always high enough to meet our nutritional needs. Vitamin B2 is found in dairy food, eggs, lean meat and salmon.”

Dr Derbyshire summed up: “While nutrients for eye health can be obtained from a healthy diet, there are shortfalls, including for omega-3 fatty acids. We all need to be focusing on the consumption of foods that are linked to our overall health like oily fish, fruits and vegetables, wholegrains and lean protein.”

She further recommended: “For those who don’t eat a healthy diet a dietary supplement such as MacuShield Original+ Omega 35 which provides the omega-3 – DHA – at 250mg – and vitamin B2 which each (DHA and vitamin B2) help to maintain normal vision is available. LMZ3, the blend of all three macular carotenoids lutein, meso-zeaxanthin, and zeaxanthin are also included in this supplement.”


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