Glaucoma and vitamin B3
In the near future vitamin B3 supplements may support existing glaucoma therapies.
Nicotinamide adenine nucleotide (NAD+), a derivative of vitamin B3, is essential for function and energy metabolism in nerve cells. With age, the levels of NAD+ decrease leaving cells more prone to damage. It's suggested that consumption of vitamin B3 can increase NAD+ levels in retinal ganglion cells thus improving cell function and protecting against glaucoma. Melbourne researchers have shown some promising results in a world first trial in people. Patients who were already receiving traditional treatments to lower eye pressure were given daily doses of three grams of nicotinamide for 12 weeks, and compared to patients receiving traditional treatments with a placebo. In some people, high-dose nicotinamide significantly improved nerve cell function in the eye. A larger and long-term study is on the way to determine whether vitamin B3 should be taken on an ongoing basis by glaucoma patients.
Vitamin B3 intake for glaucoma is still considered experimental but some people choose to take supplements because they are readily available. It's important to consult with your doctor before starting vitamin B3 as it is contraindicated in some conditions, including pregnancy. Dietary sources of vitamin B3 include turkey, chicken breast, peanuts, mushrooms, liver, tuna, green peas, grass-fed beef, sunflower seeds and avocado. An Australian favourite, Vegemite is also a great dietary source of vitamin B3.