Healthy vision is one of our most treasured
senses yet many of us take it for granted until it begins to fail. As with your
overall physical health, vision health benefits from proper nutrition, regular
exercise, and vitamin supplements. Whether you suffer from weak eyes, dry eyes,
macular degeneration, glaucoma, or vision problems, there are a myriad of
natural techniques you can use to help your eyes. I have attempted to cover some
Perhaps the most overlooked is
the fact that much of the health of your eyes depends on the strength of the
muscles of the eyes. And like all the muscles of your body, exercising your eyes
can produce rapid and profound positive changes. Taking a vigorous walk for at
least a half hour can temporarily reduce discomfort and pressure in the eyes.
In addition to eye exercises, there are also
nutritional protocols people can use when facing the most common eye problems
and diseases, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. Of course there are
medical treatments for these conditions, but they are often ineffective over the
long term, fraught with side effects and, to be honest, none really treat the
cause of the problem.
glaucoma, the fluid balance or drainage system to the eye is not working
properly. When fluid cannot flow and drain in and out of the eye properly, the
pressure in the eye can build up and cause severe damage. People with glaucoma
usually have generalized fluid balance problems throughout their body. They may
have high blood pressure, electrolyte and mineral imbalances, too much or too
little salt, long-term thyroid therapy, etc. Often they are on two or more
prescriptions. And commonly blood pressure drugs or diuretics are being used
order to help correct the fluid balance in the eye, the entire body must be
treated, with emphasis on the eye. Proper diet, physical exercise that also
includes eye exercises, the right nutritional supplements, and the correction of
underlying circulatory, kidney, or liver problems is a must.
to Dr. Bruce West of Health Alert, "When one is on a healthy
protocol that is normalizing these systems, two simple additional supplements
are often dramatically effective in normalizing fluid balance and pressure in
the eyes. These products are A-C
Carbamide and Iplex,
produced by Standard
Process Labs." (All
of the products he recommends are from Standard Process Labs.)
West says, "A dose of three to nine A-C Carbamide and three Iplex daily is
usually powerful therapy for people with glaucoma." He says to "allow
eight to 18 months for full effects. After four to six months, you can usually
go back to your doctor and discuss weaning off eye drops."
many people think eye drop drugs are innocuous, they carry a long list of side
effects. They can affect the heart and they are irritating to the eye itself. It
is not unusual for eye-drop patients to develop chronic eyelid inflammation for
which yet another prescription is needed. Normalizing eye pressure and
eliminating the need for these drops is a major benefit to your overall health.
degeneration (MD) is a deteriorating condition of old age that inevitably leads
to severe vision problems, bleeding in the eyes, and blindness. It usually
reflects long-term poor diet and health and there is little medical help
resists most treatment but recently Dr.
Merrill Allen, University of Indiana School of Optometry, has been treating
patients for the dry form of macular
degeneration using a combination of nutritional supplements and a TENS (Transcutaneous
Electrical Nerve Stimulator)
device. A TENS device delivers a specific electrical current to an area of
the body and has been used for years to help stop lower back pain. Dr.
Allen has seen a dramatic improvement in his patients that some call miraculous.
He believes that the treatment both improves blood flow to the eye and appears
to trigger re-growth of the retina and photoreceptors in the eye.
recent years it has become evident that those people with the most pigment in
their eyes seem to have the least occurrences of MD. Since eye pigments are
related to pigmented plant chemicals (phytochemicals), this finding led to
research to determine if increased amounts of phytochemicals might prevent macular
surmised after some study that the phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin, found in brightly colored vegetables and fruits,
the main factors involved in your body's attempts to prevent MD. However, after
several products were produced containing these phytochemicals isolated from
source materials, the results were dismal. Some of the lutein was isolated from
plants that are inedible for humans, like marigolds.
poor results caused a dampening of some research, the dropping of some products,
and the continued sales of products of dubious value for sufferers of MD. Then
came some new research on another plant chemical called sulfurophane, which is
found in the same plants that contain lutein and zeaxanthin. It turns out that
sulfurophane is a potent detoxifier in the body. When cancer was induced in
rats, those fed sulfurophane in its natural plant state showed a 95% elimination
of the cancer while the others simply died. When the sulfurophane was isolated
from its plant material, the cancer and toxin elimination dropped to less than
poor result of the isolated sulfurophane was powerful and damning news for most
nutritional supplement manufacturers. Because simply stated, two possibilities
were present. The single phytochemical surmised to be the potent factor may not
have been. Or, more likely, when the potent factor is isolated from its natural
substrate of plant or animal materials, it is rendered almost useless in the
basis of real, natural nutritional supplements is that they are made from whole
foods and plants, and that these plant materials, enzymes, and phytochemicals in
their entirety are contained in the pill or capsule itself. Since lutein and
zeaxanthin were found in plants that are generally not consumed in quantity by
most people, it became obvious how a deficiency of these plant chemicals might
occur. How much kale and Brussels sprouts have you consumed in the last year?
to people like Dr. Mark Anderson of Colorado and Standard Process Labs, fields
of organic kale and Brussels sprouts were planted, harvested, and manufactured
into a product called Phytolyn. The manufacturing process
maintains all the delicate plant enzymes, vitamins, minerals, trace elements and
plant chemicals, including lutein and zeaxanthin.
Bruce West of Health Alert, did an informal (not a double-blind) study of
the product on 20 people suffering with macular degeneration. He provided them with enough product to supply four capsules daily for six months.
He felt the results of
the study were quite remarkable.
that MD is a disease that progresses and worsens almost uniformly for its
sufferers. Eighteen people responded to his questionnaire. After just six
months, 16 people had eyes and vision that remained stable, seven of these
people reported less problems, two reported better vision, and two
reported a slight worsening in one eye.
results seem to show that the nutrients in Phytolyn can stabilize macular
degeneration, reverse the deterioration in some cases, and actually improve
vision for some with a disease that is incurable and untreatable. Of course, a
double-blind study should be instituted at this point to make an even better
more information on Macular Degeneration and Cataracts, see AGING.
dosage for Phytolyn is three to six
capsules daily for MD. You can also add three Iplex
tablets daily. Anyone with this condition should make the appropriate changes in their diet and
consider using these supplements for at least two years.
in mind that, as with all things, diseases do not occur as isolated incidences.
They almost always represent abnormal processes in the body that may involve
organs far removed from the problem (in this case, your eyes). So, besides
supplements, it is always a good idea to have a thorough examination and blood
tests to determine just how your body is doing in relation to your primary
problem (like macular degeneration).
and Dry Eyes
it comes to vision loss in this country, our only choice of therapy is surgery
or corrective lenses (glasses). Yet these contribute to weakening eyes and you
generally need stronger and stronger glasses over time. However, it is now known
that you can actually change the way you see and improve your vision with proper
exercise. Adding half an hour daily of eye exercises for a few months can make
dramatic changes in your vision.
the wonderful side effects of exercising the eyes is better fluid balance in the
eyes. This means less dry eyes, irritated eyes, weak eyes, lazy eyes, and all
the other problems associated with weak eye muscles and poor fluid balance. When
exercising eye muscles, you are improving the circulation to and through the
eyes. It is this circulation that carries the nutrition to your eyes. This
includes phytochemicals like lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as organic minerals
that are also needed by the eyes.
already know that a deficiency of phytochemicals in the eyes can contribute to
macular degeneration. And now we know that lack of exercise and mineral
deficiencies can cause one of the most common eye problems -- chronic dry eyes.
Dr. West again prescribes three to four Organic Mineral tablets daily for
chronic dry eyes. He says, just increasing mineral nutrition alone can eliminate
some cases of dry eyes.
same can be said for dry mouth. After prescription drugs, mineral
deficiency is the next most common cause of dry mouth. If you have ruled out
prescriptions (any prescription) as a cause of this problem, Dr. West advises
Minerals as described in the preceding paragraph. He says, after a few
weeks or months, most people are pleasantly surprised at how their mouth dryness
improves and disappears.
it comes to eye exercises, there is definitely a science to it. There are a few
courses in eye exercises out there, but one of the best is the
Clearly Method (800) 600-7189. Using a video or audio cassette,
this course shows you exactly how to exercise, and it makes it relatively easy.
For more information and a free video, click on the above link. When you combine the See Clearly exercises with good
nutrition and the right supplements, you have a powerful therapy. If you have no
eye disease or condition and just wish to improve your vision, you can take three Iplex daily.
Diet can affect Eye Health
maintain healthy eyes, eat foods rich in essential carotenes (in particular
lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin), flavonoids, the amino acid glutathione (see AGING
for details on glutathione) and other nutrients found in natural foods. These
nutrients support flexible lenses and the health of the retinal area. Such foods
include eggs, fresh fruits, dark red and green vegetables, berries, nuts and
Fruits and vegetables also help subdue oxygen free radicals. Long-term free
radical damage is now recognized as the greatest contributor there is to
age-related health problems. The best fruit sources for protecting eyes from free
radical damage are prunes, raisins and
blueberries. For vegetables, it's kale, raw spinach and Brussels sprouts.
David Williams recommends the following Whey Protein Shake recipe for a good
source of glutathione. The whey powder he recommends is called the Ultimate Whey
Designer Protein available in health food stores, or you can order it directly
Next Proteins International, PO Box 2469, Carlsbad, Ca 92018.
until smooth: Serves one.
cup of skim or soy milk
1 dash of cinnamon
3 ice cubes
1 tablespoon flax seed oil
1 tablespoon lecithin granules
2 level scoops of vanilla or chocolate whey protein powder
1/2 banana or 1 cup of fresh fruit (mangoes, strawberries, blueberries,
cherries, peaches, etc.)
Food Allergies can affect Healthy Vision
Studies show that increased intraocular pressure may be triggered by food
allergies. Here are some suggestions for dealing with food allergies:
Keep a detailed chart of everything you eat,
drink and are exposed to along with the time of exposure. Indicate any symptoms,
like headaches, blurred vision, and so on, and the times they occur. (Note: it
could take from 30 minutes to a day before you see symptoms of exposure to an
allergen). After a couple of weeks, a pattern may develop; make dietary changes
You can also use this pulse test:
1. Take and record your pulse for a full minute before you get out of bed
each morning. (Normal resting pulse is between 60 and 80 beats a minute.)
2. Take your pulse again right before you eat any
one food that you suspect is an allergen or you'd like to rule out.
3. Don't eat any other foods, and take your pulse
again at 30 minutes and at 60 minutes after eating the food in question. Keep a
record of the foods you test.
pulse increases more than 10 to 15 beats or goes over 85, there is a strong
possibility you are allergic to that food. (Remember that other factors can also
increase your pulse.)
Limit your Intake of Sugar
Studies show that simple sugars like D-glucose, D-galactose, and so on, move
from the fluid in the eyes into the lens, impairing healthy vision. Read food
labels and make sure sucrose, dextrose, fructose, maltose, lactose and other sugars
are not listed among the first four or five ingredients. Especially steer clear
of corn syrup, a high-fructose sugar.
Vitamins and Minerals
Glutathione transports the minerals calcium, potassium and sodium in and out of
the lens, protects certain proteins from oxidizing, and slows the breakdown of
DNA within the lens. Low levels of glutathione lead to hardened, inflexible
You can increase your glutathione level by taking either glutathione tripeptide
(500 mg a day) or a precursor of glutathione, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) (500 to 600 mg a
day). NAC increases glutathione levels in the body which in turn helps to
neutralize toxins. Among other things it protects the lens of the eye from
oxidation and cataract development. The minimum dose of NAC would be 250
mg a day.
To enhance glutathione's effectiveness, take a multivitamin/mineral supplement
containing selenium (which is necessary for glutathione to work properly), and
vitamin C (which helps to "recycle" glutathione).
As far as your diet goes, increase your intake of glutathione-rich cruciferous
vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, bok
choy, cress, mustard, horseradish, turnips, rutabagas and kohlrabi. See
Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo's book Eat
Right 4 Your Type to find out which foods will benefit you most.
is one of two primary carotenoids found in your macula (the central part of the
retina). A study published in the November 1994 issue of JAMA looked at
more than 350 people between the ages of 55 and 80 with advanced macular
degeneration (AMD). Researchers found that an increased intake of
zeaxanthin and lutein (another carotenoid) was strongly associated with a
decreased risk for AMD. The normal preventative dosage is 600 mcg daily.
Supplements for Healthy Eyes:
The amino acids; glycine (100 mg daily), cysteine (200 mg daily), and
(150 mg daily). These natural substances help support healthy protein and
glutathione levels in the lens of the eye.
Complex (phylianthus emilica,
terminalia belerica, terminalia chebula): 50 mg daily
Standardized Extract (80 mg daily). Bilberry (a European relative of the
blueberry and cranberry) helps regenerate rhodopsin, a pigment in the eye
responsible for night vision. Scientists first began to take note of bilberry
during the 1940s, when World War II pilots who ate it reported dramatically
improved vision during their night patrols. Bilberry has also been shown to
block the progression of cataracts by increasing circulation to the eye which
also helps to improve nearsightedness, myopia, and overall visual clarity.
three to six tablets daily and Iplex, three daily from Standard
Minimize your intake of aspirin. Aspirin reduces the blood's ability to clot. If
small blood vessels hemorrhage in the retinal area, aspirin inhibits the body's
ability to stop the leak and damages your vision.
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