Vitamin E and Selenium Ineffective at Preventing Cataracts

by Carey on 20/02/2020

preventing cataracts with supplements

The development of cataracts is a common eye problem that can occur with age. Taking steps towards preventing cataracts is wise, and those steps can include seeing an eye doctor regularly for checkups, eating right, leading a healthy and active lifestyle, and taking supplements that can help fill in nutritional gaps. But, can selenium and vitamin E, in particular, help with preventing cataracts?

Research into These Nutrients: What Experts Discovered

There are many medicines that were developed to help prevent cataracts as a result of aging. In addition to medicines, there are supplements that supposedly help in preventing cataracts. One of the most popular such supplements is for vitamin E and selenium. Tests carried out on animals suggested that these supplements can help with age-related cataracts. To authenticate these results and see if they are the same in humans, further investigation was carried out.

William Christen and his colleagues at the Harvard Medical School analyzed data collected from previous studies. These studies were randomized and placebo-based. The trial was conducted to study the effects of vitamin E and selenium on age-related cataracts. However, the trial was not initially designed with a focus on preventing cataracts. In actuality, the trial was designed to study the effects of vitamin E and selenium on prostate cancer. This is why the participants in the study were men.

The Study Results

The study involved more than 30,000 men who were asked to consume either selenium or vitamin E. Some of these men were given a placebo. Once the study began, more than 10,000 men were asked to report their condition. The aim was to see if the individuals who were part of the study underwent surgery for cataract removal.

The study was conducted for an extensive period of time. The supplements were administered for a period of six years. During these six years, patients were asked to report if they suffered from age-related cataracts. During these six years, more than 300 cases of age-related cataract were reported.

However, the results were not promising enough. There were two groups of men who were part of the study. One group consumed vitamin E, and the other consumed selenium.

  • The men who were consuming selenium reported 185 cases of age-related cataract. The selenium group that was given placebos reported 204 cases.
  • On the other hand, the men who consumed vitamin E reported 197 cataract cases. The placebo group reported 192 cataract cases.

These results suggest that preventing cataracts has nothing to do with the consumption of vitamin E and selenium supplements. In other words, the individuals who consumed the supplements and the ones who didn’t had an equal risk of developing cataracts as they aged.

The Right Vision Supplement Can Help with Preventing Cataracts and Other Conditions 

Although selenium and vitamin E might not be as effective as experts once thought when it comes to preventing cataracts, these nutrients are still helpful when it comes to supporting eye health. Therefore, taking a vision supplement that contains these nutrients is a smart step.

  • Selenium can help your eyes if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, and this nutrient can also support the health of the retina.
  • Vitamin E may help diabetics protect their eyes, as they are at a greater risk of developing eye problems. Plus, according to the American Optometric Association, when it is combined with zinc, beta-carotene, and vitamin C, it might also help protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The key is to find an eye health supplement that will give you the right combination of high-quality vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that will support your vision as you get older. Vitamin E and selenium are important, so be sure to get them in your diet and in supplement form to be certain you are getting enough of them for your eyes and your overall health.

More Research Is Continually Being Done on Eye Health

There still are studies underway to devise methods and supplements that can help in preventing cataracts, but there have not been any promising developments so far. For now, however, one can be sure that selenium and vitamin E supplements do not have any significant effect on the development of cataracts.

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