Nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin help prevent macular degeneration. Is there more that can be done to protect against this epidemic of blindness? A well-known eye doctor discusses how bringing back hormones that usually go down as people get older can stop and perhaps even turn around the damage caused by macular degeneration.
Research has shown that plant carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin help to prevent macular degeneration. Is there anything else that could be done to prevent this growing problem of blindness?
George W. Dr. Rozakis specializes in laser eye surgery and lens implants and has received training from Cornell University. A pioneer in the field of LASIK surgery, now Dr. Rozakis is involved in anti-aging medical research.
Dr. Rozakis’ focus is on a potential breakthrough in treating macular degeneration, which gradually destroys central vision. This condition, called age-related macular degeneration, is the leading cause of blindness in people aged 65 and older.
Dr. Rozakis believes that restoring the correct balance of natural hormones that decline with age can slow down and possibly even reverse the progression of macular degeneration. He is testing a hypothesis that he has and is looking for subjects to help him study it over a long period of time.
THE ANATOMY OF MACULAR DEGENERATION
Macular degeneration is a condition that results in the loss of central vision. It can make it difficult to read, drive, or watch a movie. Your peripheral vision remains intact even if you have glaucoma.
The retina is the layer of tissue at the back of your eye that senses light. The macula is located near the center of the retina, which is the layer of tissue at the back of your eye that senses light. The retina is a thin layer of cells at the back of the eyeball that contains millions of photoreceptors. These photoreceptors capture light and send signals via the optic nerve to the brain, where they are converted into images.
The accumulation of drusen, tiny yellow particles that consist largely of cholesterol, behind the eye and the resulting damage to photoreceptors causes age-related macular degeneration, which results in the degradation of vision. This is called dry macular degeneration and is the most common form of this disease. There is no known cure for the disease, though it usually progresses slowly.
Around ten percent of folks who have age-related macular degeneration have the wet form of the condition. The disease is characterized by the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina. These vessels leak, which can cause vision loss that is both rapid and irreversible.
While not all cases of dry macular degeneration lead to wet macular degeneration, the latter always begins as the former. According to the National Eye Institute, factors that increase your risk of developing glaucoma include smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, and being overweight or obese.
Hormones and Your Vision
The hormonal link with macular degeneration began to evolve when Dr. Rozakis met another medical pioneer, Sergey A. At a conference in Chicago four years ago, Dzugan, MD, Ph.D., gave a speech. Dr. Dzugan is an expert in cardiovascular surgery and anti-aging, and hormonal medicine.
According to Dr. Rozakis, Dr. Dzugan has carried out extensive research and published many articles linking low hormone levels to various health problems, such as atherosclerosis and high cholesterol levels. ” I was impressed by the evidence that restoring and optimizing levels of key hormones improve brain function, largely because the retina is part of the brain. As an ophthalmologist, I have seen firsthand how the retina impacts brain function. For instance, there is a lot of convincing evidence that testosterone can help to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Pregnenolone is extremely important for the brain and nervous system. It is vital for the proper functioning of progesterone and estrogens. Women whose progesterone levels drop develop negative personality changes.6 In animal models, pregnenolone and DHEA have been shown to profoundly stimulate the healing of a neurologic injury.7-9 Women who enter into menopause at a young age develop macular degeneration, presumably because of the absence of estrogens.10,11 Blocking estrogens with the anti-cancer drug tamoxifen is harmful to the retina. We wonder if optimal hormonal health has a positive impact on ocular health.
When an article was published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology that showed that DHEA levels are exceptionally low in patients with macular degeneration, Dr. Rozakis was surprised and excited. The discovery that hormones were part of the problem with macular degeneration was a major breakthrough.
“It serves as the foundation for subsequent hormone production, but also may have direct effects on the body, separate from its role as a precursor to sex hormones.” DHEA is important for hormone production and may have other effects on the body. If DHEA levels are low, it means that other hormones like pregnenolone, estrogens, and testosterone are also not at optimal levels. All of these hormones play an important role in making the body function properly, including giving people virility, fertility, and quick reflexes. Since the retina has hormone receptors, hormones must play a role in the physiology of vision.
The low levels of DHEA in macular degeneration might also help to explain the link between macular degeneration and heart disease. This is because it is already known that macular degeneration can increase the risk of having a stroke or coronary artery disease. The study found that those with macular degeneration were 5 times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 10 times more likely to die from stroke. After taking into account traditional cardiovascular risk factors, age-related macular degeneration was found to double the risk of cardiovascular death. Hormone deficiency is a possible cause of both heart disease and eye disorders, so it may be responsible for the connection between the heart and the eye.
A more detailed examination of the literature reveals an important review article from Italy explaining the role of hormones in the retina. The article demonstrates that the retina is capable of producing its own hormones, similar to the brain. ” Many of the hormones used in anti-aging programs, such as pregnenolone, DHEA, testosterone, estrogens, and progesterone, also play a role in the retina, according to the article. Few ophthalmologists and optometrists are aware of this relationship. What Dr. Rozakis is saying is that they had a hunch that something was going on, and then they found some evidence to support their idea.
A Higher Level of Natural Treatment
Dr. Rozakis believes that restoring hormones to their proper levels could improve the results of previous studies, which have shown that certain nutrients can help to slow down the progression of age-related macular degeneration. The National Eye Institute conducted a long-term study called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). They found that if high-risk patients aged 55 to 80 supplement their diet with anti-oxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and the mineral zinc, they reduce their risk of developing advanced stages of macular degeneration.
The specific amounts of nutrients used by the study researchers were:
- 500 mg of vitamin C
- 400 IU of vitamin E
- 15 mg of beta-carotene
- 80 mg of zinc
- 2 mg of copper.
The formula includes copper in the form of cupric oxide to prevent anemia, which can be caused by high zinc intake.
As a result of the AREDS trial, many ophthalmologists are now advising their patients with age-related macular degeneration, or those at a high risk for it, to take supplements containing the dosages of vitamins and minerals that were used in the study.
Dr. Rozakis is in the process of designing his own study to investigate whether there is a correlation between low DHEA levels and macular degeneration. The focus of our study will be on overall hormonal balance, and we will also include the supplements used in the AREDS study, says Dr. Rozakis. ” Our goal is to prevent macular degeneration as much as possible. Hormones being more powerful than vitamins means there is potential for greater results.
What to Eat When You Have Macular Degeneration
A diet that consists of a variety of different fruits and vegetables is important, especially those that contain high levels of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Fatty fish, nuts, seeds, oil, lean protein, whole grains, legumes, poultry, and dairy can all be included as part of a healthy diet.
A diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables is important for overall health. The following items are especially rich in vitamins, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. If possible, try to have a piece of fruit or a vegetable at every meal.
If you’re looking to improve your diet, one suggestion is to make sure that vegetables make up at least half of your plate at every meal. If you want to be healthier, you should focus on eating vegetables, and view grains, starches, and protein as side dishes. Fruits and vegetables contain filling fiber, which can help you feel fuller and can help remove cholesterol from your body.
Studies have shown that consuming nuts and seeds regularly can improve diet quality. This is due to the amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds with antioxidant potential that they contain. There are many benefits to eating nuts, such as preventing and treating some chronic disease-related risk factors, like glycemic and lipid metabolism, oxidative stress, and inflammation.
You can add some chopped nuts to your oatmeal or salad or grab a handful and pair it with a piece of fruit. If you want to be creative, you can use nuts as a protein-rich topping instead of bread crumbs. Just grind up your favorite nut and use it in the same way as you would bread crumbs.
Legumes are a great way to get fiber, protein, and zinc into your diet. Olives are an important part of the Mediterranean diet, and they can provide vegetarian protein. Try adding some lentils to your next soup or salad or even to your favorite whole grain dish. You can make hummus for dipping vegetables and whole grain pita.
Whole grains contain many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They contain high levels of B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, and fiber. You can improve how you feel and your energy levels by making sure most of the grains you consume are whole and having them every day. This can help to stop big changes in your blood sugar levels. Whole grains are a great choice because they are versatile and there are many different kinds to choose from. If you want to make your diet more whole grain, try eating oats for breakfast, quinoa in your salad, popcorn for a snack, and tabbouleh for dinner. Tabbouleh is made from bulgur, a type of whole grain.
Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of fat that must be consumed through diet. The cell membranes in your body are made up of fats. DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, is especially high in the retina (eye), brain, and sperm cells. This is due to the fact that DHA is a major structural component of cell membranes, especially in the central nervous system.
Olive oil is a healthy fat that is common in the Mediterranean diet. This type of fat is beneficial for your heart and can help lower bad cholesterol levels. It is believed that monounsaturated fatty acids can help to lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Extra virgin olive oil is particularly high in phenolic compounds, strong antioxidants that scavenge for free radicals. You don’t need a ton of oil to cook. A little goes a long way. To cook vegetables, add a tablespoon of oil to a pan and saute them. Or, you can drizzle oil over root vegetables before roasting them. Olive oil is an excellent oil for salad dressing.
Herbs and Spices can make meals more flavorful, textured, and colorful while also adding some micronutrients. They do this with relatively few calories and fat. Not only are they useful, but they also look good and smell great. Add them to grain dishes, salads, eggs, fish, and vegetables. You can use fresh or dried.
A varied diet consisting of nutrient-rich foods is generally considered healthy. You should monitor your intake of green leafy vegetables if you take blood-thinning medication, as these are rich in vitamin K and can affect the way your medication works.
If you are considering beginning to take supplements, always consult with your healthcare provider first. Vitamins in high doses can be harmful.
Beta-Carotene supplements are not recommended for smokers or recent quitters, as large doses can increase the risk of lung cancer.
Some people with early stages of AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) may benefit from taking specific supplements and vitamins, according to their healthcare provider. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation says that certain amounts of vitamins and supplements may help to prevent or slow down the progression of AMD. It’s best to speak to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements yourself.
The following eating plan meets dietary guidelines for calories, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, and protein, as compared to the USDA MyPlate recommendations. People who eat less dairy or go vegan will need to learn how to get enough calcium. To get enough calcium without drinking milk, choose non-dairy milk and yogurt that is fortified with calcium, and eat lots of green leafy vegetables, almonds, and tofu. If you still have unmet needs, you may need to take supplements. Another nutrient that may warrant consideration is Vitamin D. If you’re not including egg yolks, fatty fish like salmon, and vitamin D-fortified dairy or other foods in your diet, you may not be getting enough vitamin D.