Nutrition matters, and because we are what we eat, it is important to eat well to feel well. A healthy and balanced diet provides the essential nutrients that are needed for both overall health and ocular health.
Currently, the standard North America diet does not provide the proper balance of essential fatty acids, namely the omega-3s eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and decosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The Canada Food Guide recommends that Canadians consume at least 2 servings (75 grams) of oily fish per week. According to a Statistics Canada report from 2012/2013, an estimated 72.7% of Canadians aged 20-79 consume less than 1 serving of oily fish per week.
In addition to diet, many factors – including aging – can reduce the amount of other important nutrients that the body makes, such as Vitamin D. Health Canada recommends that people over 50 years of age take a daily vitamin D supplement.
While having a diet that includes fresh fish, seafood, fruits, nuts, and green leafy vegetables is an important factor when it comes to both overall and ocular health, the recommended daily amount of essential nutrients may still be lacking. To supplement a patient’s diet and to help account for other factors that can cause reduced amounts of essential nutrients to be absorbed in body, eye care professionals can recommend a nutritional supplement to balance out what is missing.
Essential fatty acids, which are the omega-3 fatty acids and the omega-6 fatty acids, are necessary to maintain good health, but they cannot be synthesized by the human body. Therefore, it is important to consume the recommended daily amounts of these essential fatty acids.
“There is definitely an imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the Western diet, we have too much omega-6. To fix this, we need to decrease the amount of omega-6s we eat, and we need to increase the amount of omega-3s we take. Fixing the diet plus adding in an omega-3 supplement is what I recommend!”
Shaun MacInnis, OD
Owner of Island Eyecare in Sydney, Nova Scotia
Consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, namely, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is essential for overall and ocular health, but most Canadians are not getting the recommended daily amounts of these nutrients from diet alone.
A daily dose of a multi-vitamin and/or omega-3 will enhance the maintenance of both overall and ocular health and can be an effective way to reduce the onset of dry eyes and/or inflammation in patients that show signs of marginal osmolarity.
While omega-6 fatty acids are over-abundant in the current Western diet, gamma-linolic acid (GLA) is an important omega-6 that is not easily accessible since there are few readily available dietary sources of GLA.
This anti-inflammatory omega-6 plays a role in the body’s ability to regulate and balance inflammation. GLA has also been shown to have positive effects specifically for dry eye and for increasing the tear production in patients with Sjögren’s syndrome.
Taking a nutritional supplement that contains the proper balance of both the anti-inflammatory omega-6 GLA, along with the omega-3s EPA and DHA is important because the human body cannot produce these essential fatty acids directly. These fatty acids are an important factor in the maintenance of good health.
Vitamin D plays many roles in overall health, such as helping in the absorption and use of calcium and phosphorus. It also helps with the development and maintenance of bones and teeth. Vitamin D may help lesson dry eye symptoms and may also offer protection against the development of dry eye disease.
Vitamin D is a unique nutrient because it is synthesized by the body after the skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight. However, various factors can impede a person from getting enough vitamin D absorbed into their body. These factors can include the season, time of day, cloud cover, and sunscreen.
It is very difficult to get vitamin D from natural dietary food sources. These are mainly limited to fatty fish and egg yolks. However, in Canada there are foods that are fortified with vitamin D, such as cow’s milk and margarine.
Health Canada’s recommended daily amount of vitamin D is 1000 IU. To ensure that you are getting enough vitamin D on a daily basis, please consult with your doctor to find out if you should be taking a nutritional supplement.
I-MED Pharma omega-3 supplements are meticulously formulated in consultation with industry and clinical experts, and molecularly distilled in a licensed facility.
I-VU® OMEGA-3 PLUS capsules and I-VU® OMEGA-3 liquid provides these important omega-3 fatty acids in the re-esterified triglyceride form (rTG). This involves removing the alcohol content from the synthetic alcohol-based omega-3s and converting them into the purified re-esterified triglyceride form. This additional purification step causes the bio-availability of omega-3s to be much higher than the ethyl ester form. The benefit to the patient is a higher percentage of fish oils is absorbed into the bloodstream. As a result, the product is more potent and effective.