Tag Archives: macular degeneration

Why EFAs help Macular Degeneration

[excerpted from the book: Natural Eye Care Series: Macular Degeneration for more information click here]

Omega-3 fatty acids. 2,000mg–3,000mg per day. Omega-3 fatty acids are a specific type of essential fatty acid known to reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, are a primary component of retinal photoreceptors and of the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve fibers in the eye.

They are so essential to the retina that when omega-3 levels begin to fall, the retina begins to recycle DHA within the eye. The typical American diet is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids but has too much omega-6s (from vegetable oils and refined grains).

There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in plant oils; eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) used primarily in the brain and retina, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) used primarily in the heart and circulatory system; the latter two are found in fish oils. EPA and DHA are not naturally present in the body; we can synthesize them from ALA, but this ability declines with age. Therefore, it is important to get adequate EPA and DHA from other sources.

The primary omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, may protect the retina through expression of genes, retinal cell differentiation, and survival. There has been extensive research about these two omega-3’s and much less about alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It is likely that the three have very specific and independent roles in protecting against disease.

AMD. DHA has been found to have antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, antiapoptotic, and anti-angiogenic (limiting growth of new blood vessels) effects. While it is known that a low-fat diet (10% from fat) lessens AMD risk, it has been found that omega-3 fatty acids and olive oil further reduce AMD risk.Eighty-five percent of AMD patients over age 70 experienced improved vision after four weeks of supplemental omega-3s. Other reports, such as a meta-analysis of more than 270 studies and papers, a longitudinal study of over 1,800 people over 12 years, and a large 10-year study evaluating the diets of nearly 40,000 women confirmed these findings.A derivative of DHA protects retinal pigment epithelial cells from oxidative stress. Unlike the effect of DHA in other parts of the body such as the liver, it does not appear to be subject to lipid oxidation in the retina.

  • DHA reduces inflammation in retinal microcapillaries and in the retina, changing potent inflammatory agents to less powerful ones.[xx] Omega-3s reduce neuroinflammation.
  • EPA and DHA have the capacity to regulate formation of blood vessels, which is important with respect to the advanced form of AMD, choroidal neovascularization. They are able to encourage immune cell movement toward the site of extraneous formations of blood vessels that distort vision. The results indicate promising potential for omega-3 as a nutritional therapy that includes other conditions involving both inflammation and neovascularization
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for nerve conduction in the retina and for retinal blood flow. Omega-3 DHA is present in large amounts in retinal epithelial cells, acting towards neuroprotection; this understanding presents possibilities for future therapies.


  • Cold-water fish, especially mackerel, lake trout, sardines, tuna, and salmon. Also, halibut, river trout, catfish, cod, red snapper, and tuna packed in water.
  • Some microalgae, anchovies, salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna, and halibut. Also, liver, fish oil, and eggs from grass fed poultry.










Coronary problems, eye disease and homocysteine levels.

Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid that is a breakdown product of the essential amino acid methionine. If your levels are high you may be at risk for coronary problems, cancer, deep vein thrombosis, stroke, kidney disease, hypothyroidism and reduced physical performance in older women. High levels also have been linked to aging eye disease such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

Normally homocysteine is converted into a harmless amino, cysteine or back into methionine but gluten sensitivity may increase the buildup and thwart its normal conversion. The usual problem is low B vitamins and low folate (B9)* which helps homocysteine normalize as well low levels of B6 and B12. Since stomach acid is required to produce B12 and adequate folic acid absorption, the aging body may suffer because they have reduced stomach acid. Also if you use acid-blocking heartburn drugs to reduce stomach acid that will affect your ability to process the B vitamins.

Routine blood tests can confirm B vitamin deficiencies but you should also ask to have your homocysteine levels checked. If low and if you have stomach acid problems you may want to supplement.

*folic acid is the synthetic version of  folate… not as good.

…Check out our sponsor for a liquid that contains the B complex vitamins: Daily Metrix  www.longlifenews.com


Computer Blue light and Eye’s

Blue light is not necessarily bad. Certain wavelengths of blue light can help boost mood as well as alertness, memory and even cognitive function. But, recently researchers are warning that overexposure due to the time we are on electronics that generate thee wavelengths can cause eye problems over time.

According to an article in the American Optometric Association journal “Early research shows that overexposure to blue light could contribute to eye strain and discomfort and may lead to serious conditions later life such as age-related macular degeneration which can cause blindness.” Other research has shown that overexposure to blue light can accelerate the aging of eyes and lead to dry eye and eye fatigue even when you view your electronic screen for only short periods of time.

To protect yourself if you have to be on the computer a lot you could supplement with lutein and zeaxanthin. Both are found naturally in the eye and are responsible for protecting the eye from light-induced damage. Studies have shown that increasesed consumption of these ingredients lowered risk of developing macular degeneration.

Additional research has shown that children are a greater risk as their crystalline lenses are more transparent and more susceptible to these short wavelengths associated with blue light and LED lighting found in many classrooms.Food that contain lutein are fruit, vegetables such as broccoli, grapes, kale , kiwi, spinach, zucchini many of which also contain zeaxanthin (also found in egg yolk, orange tangerines and turnip greens).

Cutting your blue light exposure is key but not always possible in our tech-centered culture. To change the light so it is not so blue after dark, search online for a download that alters your screen color to a more rose shade. This will also reduce the attack on melatonin of which the production is hampered by the blue light. This will help (especially your teenager who is on a screen until the last moment at night) reduce insomnia.

see the full article: http://www.wholefoodsmagazine.com  August 2018

Study show D deficiency linked to Macular Degeneration.

Researchers from the University of Buffalo did a study on 913 women age 54-74 on the effects of vitamin D and macular degeneration (Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study). More than half of the group had adequate levels of Vitamin D but the others had inadequate.

The new data published in  JAMA Opthalmology suggested that sufficient levels of vitamin D may help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in women who are at high genetic risk for the disease. It showed that those in the deficiency group had a 6.7-fold increased chance of developing AMD and two genetic risk markers for the disease. They also explained that dosages of more than 12 ng/ml (1200 iu) didn’t further lower the risk.

JAMA report

A hidden cause of cardiovascular illness, dementia and fibromylagia.

So I went for my physical and lo and behold I had plaque in my artery – and me a vegetarian and organic food person! In my quest to find out why this had happened I discovered my homocysteine levels were elevated.  What this meant is that high levels can raise heart disease risk independent of other known risk factors.  High levels are also associated with depression, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease, age-related macular degeneration and more!


I was allergic to sulfur and so was put on a sulfur-free diet and my homocysteine levels came down. My nutritionist instructed me to then take methyl B12 and methyl Folate to help keep the homocysteine levels down and thus hope to reduce the plaque building in my artery. Another tested supplement to reduce homocysteine levels as shown in clinical studies is TMG (trimethylglycine). In clinical studies a daily dose of 6g reduced homocysteine by 15 percent (or a 6-9% reduction in cardiovascular disease). Folic acid reduced levels by 13-25 % with daily doses of 200-800 mcg and adding B12 at 500 mcg/day offered an additional 7% reduction as per clinical studies. These studies also revealed that folate may have a potential role as a supplement to help treat depression.


Studies also found that Alzheimer’s patients had higher homocysteine levels than controls, but more research is needed to confirm this. A study on 12 women who had both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome were found to have increased homocysteine levels in the cerebrospinal fluid. And other studies found that patients with elevated serum homocysteine and deficiencies in B12 and folate were found to be associated with an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration.

-excerpted from “High Homocysteine Levels and Nutraceutical Treatment” by Gene Bruno, MS, MHS; Vitamin Retailer, Sept. 2014



Saving your vision.

As we age we are susceptible to the perils of age-related macular degeneration that can lead to loss of vision and potentially, blindness. One in ten people over the age of 65 have some vision loss due to AMD. Some nutrients that can help protect the eye from this condition include a diet low in saturated fats and high in fish. The antioxidant carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin can both prevent and treat AMD. Food containing these substances include carrots, dark leafy greens, eggs, corn, winter squash, pumpkins and sweet potatoes. If you choose to take a supplement make sure it contains 10-15mg of lutein per day

Vitamin C and Zinc are also a good preventives as is Taurine, B vitamins, selenium, acetyl-L-carnitine, coQ10 and vitamin E. Ginko biloba has also been shown to improve vision in patients who have AMD already. Glutathione is a universal antioxidant in the retina that may be helpful in maintaining retinal function. Older adults exhibit lower levels of glutathione so a good supplement to take is MSM, the only form of sulfur that your body can utilize to produce glutathione.

 One of the big preventives is wearing sunglasses that block UV rays. Also get regular check-ups with your eye doctor. For more information on these and other eye conditions read Dr. Michael Geiger’s book Eye Care Naturally available at Amazon.


Are you at risk for macular degeneration?

We need to pay attention to our eyes. It is believed that nearly half of Americans have low macular pigment optical density which is a possible risk fact for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This condition gradually destroys sharp, central vision and affects reading and watching TV among other things. People over the age of 60 are in the greatest risk group. Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula break down. This accounts for about 90 % of the cases. Wet AMD is caused when new blood vessels grow under the retina and then bleed or leak damaging the macula. 90% of all AMD blindness is caused by this type. Prevention includes proper diets rich in lutein and zeaxanthin found readily in spinach and kale. Flavonoid carotenoids found in goji berry, spinach and ginkgo biloba hae good active levels of these phytocompounds. Along with lutein and zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, omega-3s and bilbery extract are among the extracts that have been utilized in supporting vision health. Dr. Michael Geiger has written a good little book called Eye Care Naturally. It is available on amazon.com and gives you good information on combatting not only AMD but cataracts and other eye conditions that we may face as we age.