Carotenoids have long been the mainstay of critical supplementing for eye health—with good reason.

But decades of studies are showing that omeg-3 essential fatty acids (EFA’s) also play a critical role in eye health.

Dr. John Paul SanGiovanni, PhD is chief of a little-known division at the National Institutes of Health, is one of the advocates. His department may be obscure, but that doesn’t negate the fact that he is the go-to person with regards to eye health research.

His research has been cited more than 12,000 times, and it frequently points to the importance of omega-3s relative to a number of critical health benefits.

Dr. SanGiovanni emphasizes that both DHA and EPA have critical roles in the retina, which is one of the most metabolically active tissue in the body.

DHA is present in high concentrations in the retina, where it plays a key role in maintaining healthy cell membranes. The retina is a “highly charged metabolic environment” and cannot function optimally without this essential facilitator.

“The concentration of DHA is the retina is far higher than in other tissue. In fact about 60% of the lipids in the retina are DHA,” Dr. SanGiovanni said in an interview with NutraIngredients-usa.com.

“It’s very important when you talk about cell signaling to have a very fluid membrane, and DHA imparts this characteristic that allows proteins that sit in the membrane to move.”

According to SanGiovanni, research done as far back as in the mid-1990s showed that people with lower risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) had higher levels of DHA in the blood.

Further research, which examined intake as opposed to status, showed that people who consume higher amounts of EPA and DHA have about 30% to 40% lower risk of developing AMD.

Dr. SanGiovanni asserted that this finding has been verified at least ten times in subsequent studies.

The best food sources of EPA and DHA omega-3s are coldwater fatty fish and algae; however, due to toxic contamination of the world’s seafood, fish needs to be eaten in moderation.

For this reason EFA supplements are a must-have for most people today. Though

To avoid the contaminants found in fish oil supplements, choose a vegetarian product such as Optimal E.F.A. from Optimal Health Systems.

Optimal E.F.A. utilizes algae grown in pollution-free vats, along with borage oil and flaxseed oil.

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Sources: NutraIngredients.com, National Institutes of Health.