Principles for Beating Macular Degeneration

The last chapter discussed ways to beat macular degeneration which included an extremely nutritious diet, supplements and, in addition, nutritional IVs for more advanced cases. Since macular degeneration is starvation of the retina1, excellent eye nutrition is the cornerstone of beating macular degeneration. Supplements are easy to take, but consuming a diet of the right high-nutrient foods may be even more important. There are also a number of damaging factors, influences and substances to avoid and lifestyle changes that can help you beat macular degeneration.

The first and most important principle for beating macular degeneration is to eat the best possible diet for eye health. This has become less easy to do over the last several decades as giant agribusinesses have replaced small family farms and the use of many agricultural chemicals has become the norm. Chemical fertilizers are very limited in the nutrients they contain and do not produce plants as high in trace minerals and other nutrients as grocery store produce contained decades ago.

Our meat and dairy products have also changed. During our great-grandparents' days, all animals were raised naturally and humanely. The chickens and turkeys pecked the ground looking for bugs to eat and the cattle grazed on grass. This yielded meat, eggs and dairy products with healthy ratios of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids.2

Artificial foods such as trans-fats did not exist before the 1940s. Highly processed and convenience foods were also products of the early and mid-20th century.

Wheat was intensively hybridized from the 1940s through the early 1980s to produce high-yielding wheat that is easier to harvest and thresh. This modern wheat is also higher in types of gluten that are more likely to cause celiac disease or gluten intolerance;3 hence the epidemic of these problems. To read more about this, click here.

Unsurprisingly, the incidence of food allergies has also risen dramatically in the last 25 years. Although the FDA did no testing before approving GMOs and insists that they are safe, the timeline associated with the epidemic of peanut anaphylaxis in children casts grave doubt on the safety of GMOs.4 In 1996, GMO soy, the first GMO food the FDA approved, came into widespread use. Soy and peanuts are both in the legume family, and it is not unusual for a person allergic to one member of a food family to react to other members as well. In 1997, the incidence of peanut anaphylaxis rose by 20%. This rate of increase in the United State has continued every year to the present time. When my children were elementary school students in the 1990s, none of their classmates suffered from peanut anaphylaxis. Now one in thirteen elementary school children has peanut anaphylaxis, meaning there are on average two to three sensitive students in each class.

In 1998, GMO soy was introduced in the United Kingdom, and the rate of soy allergies rose 50% in 1999.5 Although these examples may not constitute proof that consuming GMOs is unsafe, I personally do not want to develop more food allergies, so I avoid GMO foods. The current list of GMO foods in the United States includes soy, corn, sugar beets (beet sugar), canola (oil), cottonseed (oil), papaya, zucchini, yellow summer squash, some tomatoes, some apples (including non-browning apples), some potatoes (but not sweet potatoes or yams) and alfalfa. When you shop for these foods fresh, if you want to avoid GMOs, you must buy organic produce. For packaged foods, look for a logo that says the food is certified GMO free.

This book offers help for coping with the changing dietary demands modern life and food have given to an increasing number of people. Aside from a few wheat-containing breads, the recipes in Beating Macular Degeneration With Nutrition are gluten-free and food-allergy friendly. Therefore, readers who have these dietary challenges can improve their eye nutrition while adhering to their special diets and thus helping keep inflammation levels in check, which is important for limiting the progression of macular degeneration.

The second principle for beating macular degeneration is to protect your eyes from high levels of blood glucose,6 also called high blood sugar. Both the retina and lens of the eyes are adversely affected by high or widely fluctuating blood glucose levels. The information in this PDF helps macular degeneration patients with type II diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance or reactive hypoglycemia to achieve stable blood glucose levels. Ophthalmologists Marc and Michael Rose report that the majority of their patients with type II diabetes can achieve control of their blood sugar using diet, supplements and exercise.7 All the carbohydrate-containing recipes in Beating Macular Degeneration With Nutrition give carbohydrate units per serving to assist diabetics and others with blood sugar problems in planning their diets. Some recipes also give protein units to help individuals following the insulin resistance diet to link and balance protein and carbohydrate units in meals.

The third principle for beating macular degeneration is to protect your blood vessels. The choroidal capillaries in the macula are very small and can easily become clogged.8 Wet macular degeneration develops when "replacement" blood vessels grow and bleed or leak. This PDF gives nutritional and lifestyle advice to help keep the eye blood vessels in good condition.

The fourth principle for preventing or beating macular degeneration is to protect your eyes from damaging light. This includes ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB) and, according current sources, high energy blue light. This PDF explains how high-energy light damages the retina and provides information on nutrients and sunglasses that prevent damage.

The fifth principle for beating macular degeneration is to avoid drugs that may damage the eyes. This PDF tells how various drugs cause eye problems and lists drugs to avoid.

The sixth principle for beating macular degeneration is to avoid toxins and eliminate them from your body. Avoidance is covered in detail as is drinking sufficient water, a practice that will help clear your body of toxins. Other practices which may help eliminate toxins are also discussed briefly in this PDF.

The seventh principle for beating macular degeneration is to exercise. Strenuous exercise is not needed. Moderate exercise such as walking will help your eyes and, especially if done outdoors in a natural area, can be enjoyable.

The eighth principle for being kind to your eyes and to yourself in general is to pursue peace and promote dominance of the parasympathetic nervous system (the "rest and digest" part of the nervous system), as opposed to the "fight or flight" sympathetic nervous system.

At first, following the principles above may seem overwhelming. Getting help can make implementing them easier and optimize the effects of the changes you make. It may be beneficial to consult a naturopath, an expert in nutritional health treatment. Mark's naturopath ordered blood tests and spent considerable time talking to him to determine what he needed and how to personalize the principles here to produce te best results. To find a naturopath nearby, see the "Sources" section of Beating Macular Degeneration With Nutrition for a website that lists naturopaths by location.

Following these principles will promote better health of your whole body as well as your eyes. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

1 Abel, Robert, Jr. MD. The Eye Care Revolution: Prevent and Reverse Common Vision Problems. (New York, NY: Kensington Publishing Corp., 1999, 2014), 170

2 Servan-Schreiber, David, MD, PhD. AntiCancer: A New Way of Life. (New York: Penguin Group, Inc.,2009), 73.

3 Davis, William, MD. Wheat Belly. (New York, NY, Rodale, Inc., 2011), 25-26; also Gao, X; Liu, SW, et al. "High frequency of HMW-GS sequence variation through somatic hybridization between Agropyron elongatum and common wheat." Planta 2010 Jan;23(2)245-50.

4 O'Brien, Robyn. The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It. (New York, Broadway Books, Random House, 2009), 65.

5 O'Brien., 66, 89-90.

6 Rose, Marc R., MD and Michael R. Rose, MD. Save Your Sight! Natural Ways to Prevent and Reverse Macular Degeneration. (New York, NY: Warner Books, 1998),112.

7 Rose, 115-116.

8 Rose, 56.