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Vision & Balance

Nutrients beneficial in glaucoma and vertigo

Vitamin B3 improved vision in glaucoma

In the back of the eye, the retina contains millions of optic nerve cells that send light images to the brain, allowing us to see. One type of optic nerve cell, the retinal ganglion, is particularly vulnerable to damage from increased fluid pressure in the front of the eye, a hallmark of glaucoma.

Earlier studies found vitamin B3 (nicotinamide) is low in those with glaucoma, and also that it helps protect optic nerve function, but there were no prior glaucoma studies on B3.

In this study, 57 people with glaucoma on regular medical treatments took a placebo or 3 grams of vitamin B3 per day. After 12 weeks, visual function of the retinal ganglion cells had improved significantly for the B3 group.

Discussing the findings, doctors said, “For the first time, we have shown that daily high doses of B3 can lead to early and significant improvement in those lowering eye pressure through traditional glaucoma treatments.”

Reference: Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology; 2020, 10.1111/ceo.13818

Vitamin D, calcium reduce vertigo

A sudden change in head position can give a sense of spinning, a condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). The cause is calcium carbonate crystals, normally embedded in gel in the inner ear, breaking loose and migrating to the semicircular ear canals. In this study, about half of 1,030 people with BPPV took 400 IU of vitamin D plus 500 mg of calcium carbonate per day, while the other half took no supplements. Compared to this group, after one year, those taking D with calcium saw BPPV recur 24 percent fewer times per year.

Reference: Neurology; 2020, Vol. 95, No. 9, 10343

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