We are all increasingly aware of the harm environmental chemicals can cause to our health. To underline that fact, a recent study by the University of Exeter, UK studied the urinary presence of environmental chemicals in a cross-section of people. They discovered a worrying correlation between the presence of heavy metals and vision health. That's the bad news. The good news is that vitamin D supplements can counter the presence of toxins that may cause poor vision health. Here's the lowdown:

Environmental Chemicals Associated with Macular Degeneration

A recent UK study determined a definite correlation between the presence of environmental chemicals and poor vision health. Heavy metals, arsenic, pesticides, environmental bisphenols and phthalates are part of everyday life and are present to a greater or lesser degree in the environment. Information was gathered from a cross-sectional study on demographics and household interviews or questionnaires were conducted to ascertain information about those suffering with vision, hearing and balance disorders. A selection of the study participants then submitted urine samples for mass spectrometry in order to measure the contaminants present.

The results showed that where urinary cadmium, molybdenum and tungsten concentrations were present, they were clearly associated with vision disorders. The presence of other named contaminants was associated with hearing disorders and balance disorders.

The study found a clear and worrying correlation between environmental chemicals present in urine and neurobehavioral impairment. Unfortunately the study was cross-sectional and therefore could not establish a direct cause, so specific clinical trials are required to establish a firm conclusion.

Vitamin D Means Healthy Eyes

In the meantime, as we cannot change our environment, preventative health decisions can greatly improve our vision health. The main supplement found to boost the quality of eyesight and reduce the risk of macular degeneration is vitamin D.

Good eyesight is dependent upon each person having adequate vitamin D intake on a daily basis. Conversely a deficiency of this vitamin has been shown to be responsible for a range of health issues, including poor eyesight. Research consistently shows that people with high levels of vitamin D in their blood are less susceptible to age-related macular degeneration while those with higher levels of vitamin D have a 60% reduced risk of vision loss.

Researchers from the University College London (UCL) understood that vitamin D was able to eliminate amyloid plaques in the brain which are associated with the presence of Alzheimer's disease. They hypothesized that vitamin D may also be the key to eliminating toxic molecules that cause macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.

Lab tests performed on mice over a six-week period (the equivalent of 5.75 human years), found that administering a solution of safflower oil and vitamin D reduced the presence of macrophages which cause inflammation. The presence of amyloid beta protein, a toxin associated with poor eyesight, were also significantly decreased with the increased intake of vitamin D compared to mice given a placebo.

The study concluded that vitamin D supplements are "a very simple and effective route to limit disease progression" , from eye disease to heart disease and even Alzheimer's disease. Are you getting enough vitamin D to counter the damage that environmental toxins cause to your vision and overall health?