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Macular degeneration is one of the most feared diseases of the elderly because of its devastating effects on vision. The macula is the site where light rays entering the eye are focused. Damage to this portion of the retina is crucial because all the fine detail of vision occurs in this portion of the retina. Age related macular degeneration afflicts about 2 million persons over the age of 60. It is the leading cause of blindness in this age bracket.
The two forms of macular degeneration are called wet and dry. The wet form affects about 10% of MD patients. In this condition there is excessive blood vessel growth with fluid leaking in this site. This form of MD is treated with lasers to stop blood vessel growth and is more likely to result in blindness. The dry form of MD has a build up of metabolic waste products in deposits on the retinal surface called Drusen’s bodies. These deposits interfere with blood flow to the macula and lead to impaired function of light sensitive cells. This dry form progresses less rapidly than wet MD but can cause significant visual impairment over time.
Daily supplements such as 500 mg of Vitamin C, 400 I.U. of Vitamin E, 25,000 IU beta carotene, 80 mg of zinc and 2 mg of copper were able to slow the progression of MD. Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant which protects retinal cells from free radical damage. This simple bedtime therapy taken in a dose of 3 mg. at bedtime after 6 months had allowed most treated patients to remain stable with less retinal deterioration than expected.
Diet Influences Development and Progression
Diet plays a very important role in the cause and progression of MD. Eating an abundance of green leafy vegetables is associated with less risk of MD. These vegetables are a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, caretenoids found in the macula that filter out harmful wave lengths of light. One study showed that the persons who ate the most spinach, kale, collards and other leafy green vegetables had a 43% lower risk of MD than the group eating the lowest quantities of these green vegetables.
Australian researchers followed 2,335 persons age 49 and above for 5 years. Those individuals eating oily fish once weekly had a 40% reduced risk of MD and those persons eating 3 servings of fish weekly had a 75% lower risk of advanced MD.
The type of carbohydrates eaten is important. Individuals eating high glycemic foods(foods causing rapid blood sugar rises such as rice, potatoes, corn, pasta, bananas, sugar) were more likely to develop MD than persons eating low glycemic carbohydrates such as beans and vegetables. Rapid high blood sugar values promote excessive insulin releases which leads to inflammatory diseases like Macular Degeneration.
Valuable Therapies For MD
Hyperbaric oxygen HBOT and intravenous nutrients have proven to be valuable at Whitaker Wellness Center. Patients receiving hyperbaric oxygen are placed in a chamber where 100% oxygen is administered under pressure. The high level of oxygen in tissues regenerates damaged tissues by saturating all cells with oxygen. The HBOT therapy also produces release of stem cells which become transformed into whatever type cells are needed for healing. The results in MD can be dramatic . In a small study the visual acuity of three patients doubled and a 4th patient’s visual acuity quadrupled.
The intravenous infusion of nutrients bypasses gastrointestinal absorption producing higher blood levels of the antioxidants benefiting eyes(taurine, selenium, and other vitamins and minerals).
Many diseases are related to lack of oxygen at the tissue level. This appears to apply to arteriosclerosis, cancer, cataracts, gingivitis, emphysema, asthma, systemic candidiasis, multiple sclerosis, all infections(viral, bacterial, parasitic, fungal), migraine headaches, allergic diseases, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, macular degeneration and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Therapies that improve tissue oxygen levels can be curative or beneficial for the above diseases. This includes hyperbaric oxygen, intravenous hydrogen peroxide, photoluminescence (treating blood with ultraviolet light before reinfusing into the patient), EWOT exercise with oxygen therapy and ozone. There is tremendous resistance to using some of these therapies because they can impact the earnings of the pharmaceutical industry. Health care practitioners who dare to use intravenous hydrogen peroxide, photoluminescence and ozone may face legal problems with state licensing boards. As usual it is all about money.
1, Age Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. A randomized placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation AREDS Report No. 8 Arch Opthalmol. 2001 Oct; 119;1417-36
2, Chiu CJ Dietary glycemic index and carbohydrate in relation to age-related macular degeneration. Am J Clin Nutr 2006 Apr; 83(4):880-6
3, Jain KK et al Textbook of Hyperbaric Medicine Hogrefe & Hogrefe Gottingen, Germany
4, Whitaker, Julian Health & Healing Sept 2006 Vol 16, No. 9 pg 3