February 9, 2011

How to stop eye damage
caused by a poor diet

You probably already know that a poor diet can make you sick. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough eye doctors telling their patients that a poor diet is contributing to their eye disease. But we now know that a high-sugar diet contributes to eye disease. Unfortunately, too many people struggle to change their diet. But a new study suggests that the right supplements can reduce your risk of eye disease without significant changes in your diet.

The massive epidemic of diabetes in Western cultures is causing another epidemic. This one is the eye disease macular degeneration. The reason? The same diet that leads to diabetes also causes an excess of a normal molecule in your body. And this excess greatly fans inflammation.

The molecule is the white blood cell cytokine interleukin-g (IL6). Cytokines are extraordinarily powerful chemicals. Some of them promote inflammation. Others prevent it. IL6 causes the inflammation that contributes to rheumatoid arthritis. If you have rheumatoid arthritis or know someone who has it, you know how inflamed such joints can get. But IL6 contributes to eye disease as well. Here’s how it works:

Angiotensin 2 is a hormone. When your glucose levels are high, this hormone accumulates in your eyes. Angiotensin 2 promotes inflammation, which is necessary for healing. But in the eye, angiotensin 2 can mix with IL6 to produce inflammation. And this inflammation can cause serious damage to your eyes.

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With IL6, angiotensin 2 causes your white blood cells to stick to the inner lining cells (endothelial) of your retinal capillaries. This slows blood flow and creates more inflammation. But it also produces vascular growth factors that cause leakage and thickening of the vascular lining. Retinal cells gradually starve for oxygen and nutrients. Your body then makes new blood vessels to save them, but these new vessels are weak. They can leak or break, which causes further visual loss.

Scientists proved this in a recent study. They injected angiotensin 2 into the eyes of mice lacking IL6. The damage was minimal. But when they gave the animals IL6, the damage progressed. So the conclusion was that IL6 contributes to diabetic retinal disease.

The good news is you can control IL6 without drugs. All you have to do is eat and take plenty of phytochemicals. These plant chemicals lower IL6 activity and reduce the inflammation it causes. The best bioflavonoid to do this with is epicatechin (EC). It naturally reduces production of IL6 and other major inflammatory interleukins. Green tea is rich in EC.

But other flavonoids help too. Those found in supplements like
Advanced Vision Formula, other similar eye products, green tea, curcumin, quercetin, etc. are a key to lower inflammation in your eyes, and perhaps elsewhere.

Of course, the best way to reduce inflammation is to eat whole living colorful veggies, fruit, and spices (such as curry). But when it comes to your eyes, I hold nothing back. I strongly recommend you take supplements along with a healthful diet!

PS. Dear Arizona friends, I’d like to invite you to the Arizona Homeopathic and Integrative Medical Association's (AHIMA) meeting in Phoenix the weekend of March 4-6, 2011. The group has asked me to be their luncheon speaker on March 5, and to invite you to come, have a healthy lunch, and meet me. AHIMA has offered a special admission price of $50 to include lunch. It will be held at The Buttes, A Marriott Resort, in Tempe, AZ. Aside from getting to meet me, you'll have an opportunity to meet some of the most advanced practitioners in the country, practicing right in your backyard, which may be a great advantage to you if you need a good integrative physician. If interested, please visit www.ahimaconference.com.” You also can call 602-263-3589 or send an email to [email protected]. Hope to see you there!

Ref: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 1-10; Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2009 Mar;30(1):131-8.

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