Nancy Dell: Vitamin C reduce cataracts; Vitamin D interferes with sleep – wwlp.com

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1. I take Vitamin C to reduce Cataracts. Does it really help?
Suzanne, Internet

Cataracts are a clouding in the lens of the eye that occurs as we age. In the US, about 14 percent of people over age 40 have cataracts. The older you are, the greater your risk.

Vitamin C foods can reduce the risk and progression of cataracts. A recent study done in the UK shows people with the highest intakes of vitamin C foods were 19 percent less likely to have cataracts and 33 percent less likely to have cataracts progress over the next 10 years.

In this study, people who took Vitamin C supplements were less likely to have cataracts but the supplements did not slow the progression of existing cataracts. Some earlier studies have shown a benefit from vitamin C supplements when they are taken for 10 years or more.

You  need on average 200 milligrams of Vitamin C to saturate the eye.  More is not better – in fact more may increase the risk of cataracts. Think of it like fertilizing your lawn. You put on too little fertilizer, the lawn is not healthy. Put on too much and your lawn is not healthy.

What are good food sources of Vitamin C? Peppers, especially red and yellow.  All cabbage family veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts., Plus citrus fruits, guava, kiwi, and strawberries.

2. Does Vitamin D interfere with sleep?
Jane, West Springfield

Many of us in New England take Vitamin D because the angle of the sun’s ray in the winter fails to make vitamin D when the rays hit our skin…and yes, that vitamin D supplement may prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

In 2013, a well-controlled study showd that high doses of vitamin D reduced the natural production of the brains sleep hormone called melatonin. Taking a dose of 800 IU’s a day did not cause a problem.

So if you have sleep problems and take vitamin D, work with your Doctor to find the dose that gets your blood Vitamin D in a normal range without interfering with sleep.

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