Monday, January 25, 2010

Manic Monday

My guest today is John from I Have Dreams. John is a Christian,nutritionist, and a new husband! He recently moved to America from Malaysia. What I really like about John's blog is the research he does when discussing health issues. I hope you enjoy today's post and stop by John's blog soon.


Firstly, before I start writing anything else, I would like to thank Inge' for giving me the chance to guest blog here :) She had been a great bloggy friend to me in many areas, and blessed me through her blog in many ways (she might not realize this). And in fact, this is the first time I had been invited to guest blog in my whole blogging life :D Thanks Inge'!

I want to write about AMD (aka ARMD), and I hope that this will be something that will bless Inge' and her blog followers. Not about AMD itself but what you CAN do NOW to prevent that from developing in later years, especially from the nutritional point of view. This also goes out to those who might already have early progression of AMD (called dry AMD).

This year's February happens to be AMD Awareness Month, so I believe that this topic is very timely indeed. Did you know that there are currently more than 2 million Americans over the age of 50 suffering from AMD, and the number is growing? You can refer to the full report here:

If you refer to the report on page 6 of the document, you will find that if you are a white female over the age of 50, your chances of having AMD is very high. Of course, one might say that these numbers compared to the total U.S. population (308.5 million), the percentages are not that great. But I believe that with proper nutritional supplementation and some form of intervention, this is something that can be avoided, if not completely prevented. And oh, for Inge's interest, Elvisland is ranked #18 highest, but that doesn't mean much, since that could be due to Elvisland being the 17th most populous state in the U.S.

I won't elaborate on what is AMD, as you probably can google it yourself. The National Eye Institute has a good explanation if you want more info about it. The link is below:

Some of you might wonder... is this something you should seriously take notice of? I should think so, since AMD causes loss of sharp central vision, something very essential for many activities in our lives like reading (this blog post, for instance!) and driving. It will also affect your overall mood and emotions, since it is something not pleasant, having always to see a blurred image in the center of your vision.

Now, because AMD causes no pain, people fail to notice the advancement of AMD. They do not realise the little change in their vision, because AMD progresses ever so slowly. BUT there are also cases where AMD progressed faster and led to a loss of vision in both eyes. AMD is a leading cause of blindness in Americans 60 years of age and older.

So, YES, this is something you should seriously take note of, and take precautions to slow or prevent it from developing. It can be done. I had done the research and read the clinical papers to find out about what can be done, and yes, thank God it is possible to even avoid getting it. Below is the list of clinical papers I take reference from:

1. Johnson (2010)
2. Sangiovanni et al. (2009)
3. Bertram et al. (2009)
4. Carpentier et al. (2009)
5. Roberts et al. (2009)
6. Hammond (2008)
7. Neelam et al. (2008)
8. Hahn & Mang (2008)
9. Rhone & Basu (2008)
10. Leung (2008)

Looking at the risk factors, I disagree with the notion that the greatest risk factor of AMD is AGE. You can't blame it on aging... I mean, they are saying, if you GET IT, you DESERVE IT, because YOU ARE OLD (OR GETTING OLD)!!! Hello??? Now that's not very nice, is it? It renders one hopeless and helpless. The same goes for RACE, FAMILY HISTORY & GENDER. They are saying whites are more likely to get it, if your parents or grandparents have it, you are likely to have it too, and women are at greater risk than men. I can't really accept these as reasonable risk factors, because tell me, how do you explain the many more OLD, WHITE, FEMALE and FAMILY-HAS-IT Americans who don't get AMD? That's because they must have done something right in their lives, something which studies had proved strongly that they had done things in their lives that prevented AMD.

So, what did they do? Here you go... They...

1. Didn't smoke.
2. Watched their weight.
3. Went for regular eye check-ups by a certified ophthalmologist, NOT an optician (hope you know the DIFFERENCE!).
4. Maintained a normal blood pressure.
5. Exercised regularly.
6. Ate a healthy diet high in dark-green, leafy vegetables and/or took nutritional supplements regularly.
7. Avoided prolonged exposure to sunlight or wore an effective dark glasses.

It's never too late to start doing what they did right. Ok, I'm not going to preach about #1 - #5, I mean, you don't need someone to lecture you on those stuffs, right??? Most probably you'd already know 'em, so... nuff said.

You know what, the funny thing is Inge' never told me how long I am allowed to write... LOL... :p

Now before I end this post, I want to talk a bit on #6 and #7. Firstly, a disclaimer need to be set in place: I am not advocating any brands or products. I know that most of you are probably already taking some form of multivitamins or multiminerals daily. That's good. In fact, you should be! But that's not going to get you far in fighting AMD. Of course, this CAN be offset by consuming copious dark-green, leafy vegetables DAILY, but alas, this can be quite difficult to achieve for most people, hence, consuming the appropriate nutritional supplements is necessary.

Are there specific nutrients for eye protection? Yes there are...

1. Lutein (usually comes together with zeaxanthin and probably meso-zeaxanthin too)

That's what all those dark-green, leafy vegetables are rich in. So you can count on spinach and kale, ok. This is a well-researched carotenoid and antioxidant. In fact, the macula - the part of our eye where AMD might occur - is naturally, highly, and solely concentrated with lutein and its isomers meso-zeaxantin and zeaxanthin, which gives the macula the nickname of the "yellow spot". The clinical papers all point to one thing... those with lower daily intake of lutein, lower concentration of lutein in the macula, are more susceptible to getting AMD in later life. Are there any side effects of consuming too much lutein? Yes, there is, and only one... which is bronzing of the skin, where your skin turns yellowish or orangy. No worries... this is reversible by simply reducing or cutting down on lutein intake.

2. Other antioxidants

Most of them, such as vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and the mineral zinc, are found in most multivites/multimins. So you really don't have to take an extra supplement just for antioxidants. Choose either one, or you can always alternate between the two. Just a note of precaution... those who smoke... well you shouldn't smoke really... should avoid beta carotene. And I strongly advise against taking vitamin A, since overdose of that is highly toxic and dangerous, especially for pregnant women. Beta carotene will convert to vitamin A when your body needs it, so it's a much safer source.

3. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil

The good news is, not only is this good for the eye, omega-3 fatty acids also helps in preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, supports immune function and brain health, and also has a role in joint health.

So if you somehow can't act on #1 - #5, probably #6 will still get you safely through... somehow :)

Now, lastly, a very serious note on #7. I had the privilege of talking to many renown ophthalmologists, and learnt that, if your dark glasses are cheap, please discard them NOW. Usually, cheap dark glasses are ineffective in reducing hazardous sunlight. In fact, they will cause your pupils to dilate, allowing even more sunlight to enter your eye and reach the macula. You might want to check with your certified optician before continuing using your current dark glasses.

For those of you who are fans of the sun, sunlight, sun tanning, Sun God, whatever... well, I am not here to pour cold water on you and say that the sun is bad, sunlight causes this or that. The clinical evidence is very clear. People who had been exposed to more sunlight throughout their lifetime have a higher risk of getting skin cancers and AMD in later life. So still thinking about getting that nice tan this summer?

I think that's about it. Um, I think I should make a conclusion. The conclusion is... the AMD threat is real, and you CAN prevent it. Thanks for reading this and thanks again to Inge' for letting me guest blog here! Have a blessed week ahead! :)

Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. (Proverbs 4:25 KJV)


Post a Comment

Template by:
Free Blog Templates