Vitamin D was recently proven to reduce the effects of aging in the eyes of mice and improve the vision of older mice significantly. The study, published recently in the journal Neurobiology of Ageing, gave researchers hope that the vitamin could have the same benefits for human eyes.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness for Americans age 55 and older, and affects more than 10 million people in the U.S., according to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation.
Study leader Glen Jeffery, of the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London, reported the link between vitamin D and age-related diseases may be associated with the evolutionary history of humans. Vitamin D comes from the sun, and for much of human history, humankind lived in Africa, without clothes and very much exposed to the sun, which triggered the production of the "sunny vitamin" in the skin. Now, however, in less sunny climates and with more clothes, humans may have become less adapted to the reduced exposure to the sun.
"Researchers need to run full clinical trials in humans before we can say confidently that older people should start taking vitamin D supplements, but there is growing evidence that many of us in the Western world are deficient in vitamin D and this could be having significant health implications," Jeffery said in the study.