Eyes for Life ‘Retina Plus’ – Recommended for stabilisation / slowing progression of RP
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- WHAT IS RETINITIS PIGMENTOSA?
- RESEARCH PROGRESS
- HOW DOES Eyes for Life ‘Retina Plus’ HELP TO STABILISE OR SLOW THE PROGRESSION OF RP?
- GENE INHERITANCE
1. WHAT IS RETINITIS PIGMENTOSA?
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the name given to a large group of hereditary diseases of the retina of the eyes. The condition is characterised by the loss of rod cells in the retina. The rod cells are photoreceptors that provide much of our peripheral vision. With the progression of the condition the field of vision gradually diminishes so that when looking straight ahead, one sees less to the side, upward or downward. Hence the term ‘tunnel vision’ is often used for RP.
The rate of degeneration varies considerably from person to person and with each form of RP. A general description of the process of degeneration would be that a person with RP gradually experiences a decrease in their field of vision, sometimes noticeable only from mid-thirties (although there are some juvenile forms affecting children before they reach the age of ten). For many, degeneration may continue slowly to ages 50, 60 or even 70 maintaining at least a small degree of detailed central vision, while others may lose their central vision altogether.
2. RESEARCH PROGRESS
Scientists have identified almost 200 genes responsible for 200 forms of RP. Each gene in its normal state controls the production of a different protein for the normal functioning of the photoreceptor cells. When this protein is not present or different to what it should be, the biochemical cycle that would normally ensure healthy cells can no longer be completed – the cycle is interrupted and the cells are therefore prone to die prematurely.
Since there are so many different forms of RP it is unlikely that one method of treatment can provide a permanent solution for all people with RP. However an unprecedented volume of research has been underway for decades and phenomenal progress has been made to understand and identify the many steps necessary to overcome the biochemical anomaly presented by each form of RP.
3. HOW DOES Eyes for Life ‘Retina Plus’ HELP TO STABILISE OR SLOW THE PROGRESSION OF RP?
Nutritional supplements are not considered to alter the genetic condition associated with the RP gene. However, while research efforts are heading in the direction of finding permanent solutions to the many forms of RP, taking appropriate nutritional supplements can greatly benefit the individual with RP by reducing the rate at which the degeneration process progresses or stabilise the progression.
3a. OXIDATIVE STRESS COMMON TO ALL FORMS OF RETINAL DEGENERATION
Landmark research has shown that one of the common occurrences in the loss of photoreceptor cells in all forms of retinal degeneration is due to a process of cell oxidative stress – a process where the ‘normal’ biochemistry of the body results in the production of molecules known as ‘free radicals’ that destroy normal cells unless they are ‘captured’ by other molecules which are derived from ‘antioxidants’. A healthy body has circulating within it antioxidants to fulfil this process. However, this is dependent on many factors including a balanced diet, exercise and with management of physical, emotional and mental stress.
3b. ANTIOXIDANTS COUNTER OXIDATIVE STRESS
All the ingredients in Eyes for Life ‘Retina Plus’ are antioxidants: Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Glutathione and Vitamin C. Only Glutathione is produced by the body in association with physical exercise, whilst all other antioxidants must be consumed in our food. Unfortunately it would appear that an individual with RP requires considerably more of the antioxidants in ‘Retina Plus’ than most people consume in their food. This may not be surprising when considering that within the eyes alone an individual with RP may require many more times the concentration of antioxidants to counter oxidative stress than someone who’s eyes function with no biochemical disruption.
Since 2007, when ‘Retina Plus’ was first introduced, many individuals have reported stabilisation of the degenerative process – see Testimonials section.
4. GENE INHERITANCE
An individual who has inherited an RP gene from their parents may either show the condition or be a carrier of the condition. In both cases they may or may not be passed on to their children – different probabilities of passing the gene on to offspring is related to the type of RP gene in question. Hence the need to identify which gene is present for appropriate counselling and suggestions for management of the condition.