Do You Have Cataracts?
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts Are Easy To Spot
Sun Damage To Eyes – Were Suitable Protection
Causes of Cataracts
Some of the most plausible causes include:
- Radiation. A study among pilots in Iceland showed commercial airline pilots are three times more likely to develop cataracts than people with non-flying jobs. Cataracts are also unusually common in persons who spend a great deal of time outdoors (the sun), and those exposed to infrared radiation, such as glassblowers.
- Smoking: But of course you don’t smoke, Healthy Options readers don’t smoke !
- Following trauma: eye injuries, penetrating injuries
- Oxidative stress – free radical production.
- Dietary factors – e.g.; the consumption of large quantities of milk by people who do not efficiently utilise the milk sugar called galactose. This in turn causes a deficiency of the B Vitamin riboflavin (B2). B2 has been found to important in recycling glutathione, which has been found to be very important in keeping cataracts at bay by exerting antioxidant effects in the lens of the eye.
- Obesity. There is much evidence which shows that obese people have a 200% greater likelihood of developing cataracts compared to normal, healthy humans.
- Diabetics (Type 2) are more prone to cataracts due to the inherent inability of a diabetic to properly metabolise carbohydrates. Excessive levels of a sugar (galactose – a component of lactose, the milk sugar) can accumulate within the eye, resulting in an increased water uptake – which may proceed to form cataracts via complex biochemical mechanisms.
- Pharmaceutical drugs: You may be quite surprised to know that certain drugs may be the cause of cataracts; these include corticosteroids (asthma, and many immune conditions like allergies, eczema, etc), various gout medications, phenothiazines (for certain psychiatric disorders) amiodorone (for treatment of heart ailments like irregular heart beating). And Ezetrol (ezetimibe – used to lower cholesterol) has also been implicated.
- Environmental toxins: environmental exposure to heavy metals may contribute to cataract formation. Cadmium, copper, lead, iron, and nickel have all been found in lenses which have developed cataracts. A high level of cadmium in the lens is associated with smoking and can contribute to accumulation of other heavy metals.
Conventional Cataract Treatment
Aspirin is being recommended by some practitioners to help prevent cataracts. I’ve heard it all before, Aspirin has been recommended for stroke and cancer prevention, and just about everything else. Aspirin may inhibit glycosylation (a process whereby proteins are cross linked) in the lens of the eye that is a causative factor in the development of cataracts. Although evidence shows that people who have used Aspirin on a daily basis for four months or longer may have a statistical reduction, the disadvantages of what Aspirin can do to the digestive system, in my opinion, far outweigh the benefits one would derive from this drug. Aspirin also depletes the body’s reserves of glutathione, and impairs absorption of calcium, potassium, and Vitamin C. These are the very nutrients which you need to prevent cataracts long term! Like all pharmaceutical drugs – short term gain, long term misery, and the only people who profit here are the drug companies’ shareholders.
Cataract Dietary Recommendations
- Avocado, asparagus, tomatoes, watermelon and grapefruits – these foods all have one thing in common, they are high in glutathione, the most important amino acid for cataract prevention. Parsley, capsicum, guava, red chilli, Brussels sprouts and kale – these foods are very high in Vitamin C.
- Fish : Regular consumption of cold water fish may help to prevent cataracts due to the Omega-3 content. It pays to take in Omega 3 oil daily, 5mls is a good daily dose.
- Brewer’s yeast – high in Vitamin B2, B5, and other B Vitamins
- Wheat germ, sunflower seeds – Vitamin E
- Brazil nuts – eat 4 – 6 daily for your selenium intake
- Grapes, green tea, lovage leaves, dill, cranberries, spinach – all high in Quercetin
Eric’s Recommendations for Cataract Prevention and Treatment
- Vitamin A Higher levels are associated with developing a lower risk of developing cataracts. Take 20,000 – 50,000iu daily to slow down progression.
- Vitamin C Preserves glutathione levels, protects against mineral imbalances in the lens. I would highly recommend that you maintain a good dosage for several years (daily) to really get the benefit long term from Vitamin C, there is no part of your body which doesn’t benefit from Vitamin C. . Aim for 1000 – 3000mg daily. Go for an Ascorbic acid which is balanced with Bioflavonoids in a 2:1 ratio, i.e.; 2 parts Ascorbic acid to 1 part Bioflavonoid. Why? This is how it is generally in nature.
- Vitamin E – An antioxidant, increases glutathione levels, for cataract prevention. Aim for 400iu daily. I can remember reading a paragraph in the Framingham Heart Study, which said the Vitamin E is best taken in the middle of the day. Take 1 capsule of 400iu with lunch, and have a little selenium with it, generally about 100 – 200iu per day.
- Vitamin B2 Vitamin B2 recycles the amino acid called glutathione. Take between 50 – 100mg per day, as part of a B Vitamin Complex. Some studies say the B2 may worsen existing cataracts, others say that there is no truth in this at all. My advice is to take one to two B Complex daily.
- Lipoic Acid This nutrient “spares” Vitamins C & E 300 – 400mg daily
- Quercetin Take this mainly if you have diabetic cataracts – Quercetin is an well known aldose reductase inhibitor. Remember the lactose in cow’s milk? Do avoid milk if you have any form of diabetes. Take 500mg two to three times daily, and Quercetin is better absorbed with a little fat.
- Bilberry Powerful occular antioxidant – one study showed that along with Vitamin E, bilberry can halt progression. Dosage between 120 – 600mg daily. The standardized herb is better.
- Carotenes Occular antioxidant, higher levels (lutein and zeaxanthin) are associated with a decreased risk of developing cataracts. Diet first & foremost here – spinach, kale and eggs.
- Glutathione A deficiency of this amino acid is noted in lenses with cataracts, the most important antioxidant in lens. Whey protein is a good source, and it makes more sense to eat proteins which are high in the amino acids glutamine, glycine and cysteine. Why? Simple – glutathione is called a tri-peptide – it is made up of these three amino acids. By eating sufficient high quality proteins, you will allow your body to have access to make it’s own glutathione. Forget it as a supplement, a lot of hype, fancy marketing and unnecessary expense to you. Let food be your medicine, remember?
Your Cataract Check list
- Wear sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat when in the sun – protect your eyes.
- Get your eyes checked – see your Optometerist.
- Understand the causes – you are then in a better position to prevent cataract formation.
- Are you taking one of the pharmaceutical drugs we mentioned? There will be an alternative.
- Watch out for the free radicals – smoking, poor diet, stress, alcohol, toxins, etc.
- Eat the right foods daily – particularly the carotenoids foods containing lutein and zeaxanthin.
- Check for mercury and other heavy metals, a Hair Analysis is a valid method.
- Are you a Smoker ? Well, you know my stand – what you sow you will reap.
- Avoid all cow’s milk and lactose containing foods, particularly if you have diabetes.
- Do take antioxidant Vitamins at the least – Vitamins A, C, E, B Complex and Bilberry
- Start NOW – be proactive, the sooner you start, the sooner you halt progression.
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