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Increase the intake of specific ocular antioxidants in order to maintain a healthy retina, lens and eyesight during the aging years. The formation of free-radical and reactive oxygen species is linked to the formation of cataracts and macular degeneration1,2. For a review of this connection see The Standard, Volume 2, number 1.
The role of glutathione (GSH) is vital to maintaining antioxidant protection in eye tissues. Nacetyl cysteine has been shown to maintain levels of lens tissue glutathione 3. α-Lipoic Acid- a.k.a. thioctic acid.
• Multipurpose anti-oxidant
• Both water and fat soluble
• Inhibits aldose reductase, preventing the sorbitol induced leakage of important antioxidants from eye tissues.
• Able to “recharge” vitamin C, E, and glutathione.
• Used clinically for Glaucoma in Russia
Protects Retinal Tissue from oxidative damage:
•Caused by xenobiotics (chloroquine)5.
•Induced retinal detachment
•Illumination of the retina7.
•Induced diabetic retinopathy8.
The role of Ginkgo biloba extract in increasing blood flow, increasing neurological activity and protecting lipid membranes from oxidation make it a logical therapeutic approach for both cataracts and macular degeneration.
Carotenoids- Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Lycopene Prevent Retinal Damage by:
• Absorbing excess photons
• Quenching free radicals before lipid oxidation Research:
• Increased dietary intake of carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration10.
• Low serum levels of Lycopene have been shown to increase the risk of ARMD11. Zinc- a vital coenzyme for eye tissue.
Necessary component antioxidant enzymes:
• Superoxide dismutase
• Glutathione peroxidase
Studies on monkeys with oxidative stressed retinas showed a 60% reduction in the activity of catalase and glutathione peroxidase as well as a 4-fold reduction in zinc concentration compared with controls12. Enzymes responsible for digesting rod outer segments and preventing the build-up of lipofuscin are significantly less active in older individuals, but can be stimulated by adding zinc 13,14.
Bilberry- (Vaccinium myrtillus L)
Bilberry extract contains a high amount of the antioxidants known as anthocyanadins, similar to those found in grape seeds. Bilberry has a long history of use in the eyes. Its activities include:
• Inhibition of aldose reductase
• Improve capillary permeability, important for diabetic retinopathy.
• Pigmented antioxidant with affinity to retina.
Quercetin- Important Bioflavonoid.
Quercetin is the aglycone form of rutin.
• Potent inhibitor of aldose reductase
• Synergistic with vitamin E in the protection of induced retinal lipid peroxidation. Vitamin E alone-36% protection; Vitamin E + quercetin-91% protection. Quercetin at this dose had little to no effect alone, implying that it had an effect through or with the vitamin E15.
Taurine: A vital retinal nutrient
• Taurine Concentration are high in retina
• Required for retinal tissue growth
• Able to protect Rod outer segments from damage 16.
• Protects lens tissue from gamma irradiation induced protein leakage (cataracts).
Antioxidants within cells work together in coupled reactions allowing electrons to be passed from one to another. The figure above shows the normal progression of free radical formation to lipid peroxidation in the retina that leads to macular degeneration. Antioxidant cascade works at every step to reduce the oxidative load on these tissues.
As a dietary supplement, 2 capsules per day or as recommended by your health care professional.
Contraindication, Adverse or Other Reactions:
As there is a potential interaction between Ginkgo biloba Extracts and blood thinning agents, caution should be taken when on such medications and patients cautioned not to exceed recommended dose.
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1.Rose RC et al. Ocular oxidants and antioxidant protection-Minireview. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1998; 217(4):397-407
2. Van der Hagen AM et al. Free Radicals and antioxidant supplementation: a review of their roles in age-related macular degeneration. J Am Optom Assoc 1993;
3. Holleschau AM, Rathbun WB, Nagasawa HT. An HPLC radiotracer method for assessing he ability of L-cysteine prodrugs to maintain glutathione levels in the cultured rat lens. Curr Eye Res 1996; 15(5):501-10
4. Maitra I, Serbinova E, Tritschler HJ, Packer L. Stereospecific effects of Rlipoic acid on buthione sulfoximine-induced cataract formation in newborn rats. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1996; 221(2):422-9
5. Droy-Lefaix MT, Vennat JC, Besse G, Doly M. Effects of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) on chloroquine induced retinal alterations. Lens Eye Toxic Res 1992; 9(3-4):521-8
6. Pritz-Hohmeier S, Chao TI, Krenzlin J, Reichenbach A. Effects of in vivo application of the ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761 (Rokan) on the susceptibility of mammalian retinal cells to proteolytic enzymes. Ophthalmic Res 1994; 26(2):80-6
7. Droy-Lefaix MT, Cluzel J, Menerath JM, et al. Antioxidant effect of a Ginkgo biloba extract (Egb 761) on the retina. Int J Tissue React 1995; 17(3):93- 100
8. Grosche J, Hartig W, Reichenbach A. Expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), glutamine synthetase (GS), and Bcl-2 protooncogene protein by Muller (glial) cells in retinal light damage of rats. Neurosci Lett 1995; 185(2):119-22
9. Szabo ME, Droy-Lefaix MT, Doly M. Direct measurement of free radicals in ischemic/reperfused diabetic rat retina. Clin Neurosci 1997; 4(5):240-5
10. Seddon JM, Ajani UA, Sperduto RD, et al. Dietary carotenoids, vitamin A, C and E and advanced agerelated macular degeneration. Eye Disease Case-Control Study Group. JAMA 1994; 272(18):1413-20
11. Mares-Perlman JA, Brady WE, Klein R, et al. Serum antioxidants and agerelated macular degeneration in a population-based case-control study. Arch Ophthalmol 1995; 113(12):1518-23
12. Nicolas MG, Fujiki K, Murayama K, et al. Studies on the mechanism of early onset macular degeneration in cynomolgus monkeys. II. Suppression of metallothionein synthesis in the retina in oxidative stress. Exp Eye Res 1996; 62(4):399-408
13. Cingle KA, Kalski RS, Bruner WE, et al. Age-related changes of glycosidases in human retinal pigment epithelium. Curr Eye Res 1996; 15(4):433-8
14. Wyszynski RE, Bruner WE, Cano DB, et al. A donor-age-dependent change in the activity of alpha-mannosidase in human cultured RPE cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 1989; 30(11):2341-7
15. Ueda T et al. Preventative effect of natural and synthetic antioxidants on lipid peroxidation in the mammalian eye. Ophthalmic Res 1996; 28:184-92
16. Lombardini JB. Taurine: retinal function. Brain Res Rev 1991; 16(2):151-69
17. Bantseev V, Bhardway R, Rathbun W, et al. Antioxidants and cataract: (cataract induction in space environment and application to terrestrial aging cataract). Biochem Mol Biol Int 1997; 42(6):1189-97
** Information for health care professionals only.
** These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure any disease. Consult a physician before taking. Should you experience any serious physical side effects from taking these nutritional supplements, discontinue and call your doctor immediately.