Micronutrients and the
By: Sumayya Naseem Optometrist CHEF International
(Double Gold Medalist K.M.U.)
COT COA JCAHPO (USA) MMSPH (Abasyn University)
In the name of ALLAH, most gracious, most merciful
Contents of the Presentation
1. Nutrients and Types of Nutrients
2. Vitamins (A,C,E)
3. Omega 3 Fatty Acid
4. Lutein & Zeaxanthin
5. Zinc & Selenium
Chemical substances that constitute food and are
responsible for the functions of food and also protect the
body from various disorders.
I. Macro Nutrients
II. Micro Nutrients
Types of Nutrients
(Based on the amount required by the body)
Micronutrients are the nutrients required by the body in a little amount.
"We need an orchestra of nutrients, not just one player" for good eye health.
The nutrient "players" at the top of the good eye-health chart are largely
found in fruits and veggies. So, make sure you're consuming a total of five
servings of fruits and vegetables every day. That's a minimum!
Vitamins....The Vital Amines
It's always best to get the vitamins we know help vision from foods
as foods may contain many other nutrients we aren't aware of that
may help, too.
Vitamins important for eye health are:
• Contributes towards the production of retinal pigments needed for vision in dim
• Maintaining healthy corneal epithelium.
• Animals: Liver, eggs, butter, cheese, whole milk, fish and meat – cod liver oil
• Plants: Green vegetables, yellow fruits - Carrot
• Fortified Foods: Banaspati Ghee, Margarine, Milk, Bread
VITAMIN A DEFICIENCY - a public health problem
• Night Blindness
• Bitot’s Spots
• Conjunctival Xerosis
• Corneal Xerosis
Vitamin B2 (RiboFlavin)
• Plays an important role in cellular growth
• It is a cofactor for a number of enzymes involved in energy metabolism
• Deficiency may lead to circumcorneal vascularisation, keratitis, susceptibility to
• Rich sources are eggs, liver, green leafy vegetables, milk & Products
• This fat-soluble vitamin and potent antioxidant, may help in
prevention of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration
• Broccoli, pumpkin, spinach, carrots, turnip greens, papaya,
Vegetable oils, Cotton seed, Sunflower seed, Egg yolk, Fortified
Cooking Oils and Butter.
Oil seeds like:
• Ground nut
• Milk and Eggs
•Fats on meat
• Fats on Fish
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
• A water-soluble vitamin and effective antioxidant, vitamin C helps keep eyes young
and healthy by protecting the eyes against damage caused by ultraviolet light.
(Antioxidants are substances that help protect cells from the natural but
damaging effect of oxidation).
• Delays the Cataract formation.
• But studies indicate we might need as much as 300 milligrams, possibly more, for
a cataract-preventive effect.
Fresh fruits like citrus, guava, mango, strawberries, raspberries and pineapple. Also
green leafy vegetables, germinating pulses and amla.
Omega 3 Fatty Acid
• Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that your body uses to
produce new cells, muscles, nerves and organs.
• Omega-3 fatty acids may help protect our eyes from age-related macular
degeneration (AMD) and dry eye syndrome. Our body cannot produce
omega-3 fatty acids, so you must get them from food or supplements.
Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
• The foods richest in omega-3 fatty acids are cold-water fish such as
herring, salmon and tuna. Other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids are
flaxseeds, walnuts and dark green leafy vegetables.
Zinc & Selenium
• Zinc: This trace mineral has a protective effect on the development of
some forms of early AMD. As zinc is acutely concentrated in the eye, and
is "very important for the retina.’’
Sources: Wheat germ, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, sunflower seeds,
almonds, tofu, brown rice, milk, ground beef, oysters, nuts, seafood, red
meat, beans, dairy and chicken.
• Selenium: Selenium treatment of ocular symptoms (retro bulbar pain,
edema, and pain with eye movement) in patients with Graves' disease
significantly improves their quality of life
Sources: Brazil nuts, whole grains, tuna, beef and dark meat turkey.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
• Lutein and zeaxanthin are compounds called xanthophylls, which are yellow
pigments that occur naturally in many plants and vegetables.
• Xanthophylls belong to a class of organic compounds called carotenoids,
which also includes orange and red plant pigments. Though lutein is
considered a yellow pigment, in high concentrations it appears orange-red.
• In nature, lutein and zeaxanthin appear to absorb excess light energy to
prevent damage to plants from too much sunlight, especially from high-
energy light rays called blue light.
• Recent research has discovered a third xanthophyll in the macula, called
meso-zeaxanthin, this carotenoid is not found in food sources and appears
to be created in the retina from ingested lutein.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
• Lutein and zeaxanthin appear to have important antioxidant functions in
the body. Along with other natural antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta
carotene and vitamin E, these xanthophylls guard the body from damaging
effects of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can destroy cells
and play a role in many diseases.
• It is believed that lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin in the macula
block blue light from reaching the underlying structures in the retina,
thereby reducing the risk of light-induced oxidative damage that could lead
to macular degeneration (AMD).
• The best natural food sources of lutein and zeaxanthin are green leafy vegetables.
• Among these, cooked spinach top the list, according to the U.S. Department of
• Non-vegetarian sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include egg yolks. But if you
have high cholesterol, you're much better off getting most of these yellow
nutrients from fruits and vegetables.
• Lutein can be found in yellow peppers, mango, bilberries, and
green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, chard and broccoli.
• Zeaxanthin can be found in orange sweet peppers, broccoli, corn,
lettuce (not iceberg), spinach, tangerines, oranges and eggs.
• Many of these overlap with food types in which vitamins A, E & C
Key points to remember for Good Eye Health:
• Eat a good, balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables instead of
• Also take Multivitamins, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Zinc and Omega3 in food and
• The biggest avoidable risk is smoking.
• Protect your eyes from sunlight. Use good quality Sunglasses.
• Wearing a brimmed hat also offers very good protection.
• Get your eyes tested at least every year and more frequently if Possible.
• Take Special care if having Diabetes and Hypertension.