They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, but did you know that they can be an effective indicator of internal health and require a nutrition all of their own? Here's what to do to keep them healthy.
Like the hands, feet, ears, and tongue, the eyes can be a literal map to the internal body. In fact the study of Iridology provides maps of the iris and pupil and demonstrate which parts relate to which parts of the body. Various color changes, thickenings, or spots called "lacunas" can be a physical indicator that a body system could use some support.
Additionally, the experience of stress, trauma, injury, and our extensive screen times can change the visual field and set the stage for poor eye functioning.
With stress comes impairments of the senses, including the eyes and your experience of vision and/or eye health disturbances. Here's why:
Your nervous system is constantly scanning your environment so that it can alert you of threat or danger. It uses the sensory functions to do this, including the eyes as one of the main sensors and processing of stressors. Not only do the eyes SEE but they send visual cues from light, from color, from movement to the brain without you even knowing about it. You interpret these signals as WHAT YOU SEE, but there is more going on than you know as the retinas collect and transmit information that let's your brain know what to tell the body to do next. Interesting, right?!
We tend to assume eye disturbances are just something that comes with age. But we know that eye disturbances can actually be related to internal conditions of the body, stress and nutrition. There's actually more you can do than you think and, in fact, the eyes are an important sensory organ to use as an indicator of what you can do to support your body's needs. Let's talk about how to keep them healthy.
Therapeutic Foods and Lifestyle Interventions
You may not know that the eyes can tell a lot about your health; no organ is an island unto itself. For example, high blood glucose can affect the blood vessels in the eyes, so can high blood pressure. Balancing your blood sugar and getting early cues about metabolic disorders is an important prevention technique and could be a simple metabolic assessment at our office.
1. Certain medications, over 300 actually, are known to be photosensitizing agents, which increase the sensitivity of the lens to UV damage from the sun . It's important that people taking medications, from antibiotics to hypertensives, talk with their pharmacists about whether or not their meds are on the list so they can protect their eyes when out in the sun. Other medications can cause poor liver clearing, reducing glutathione, a powerful antioxidant and a major free radical scavenger in the human lens.  Talk to your natural health practitioner, nutritionist, or pharmacist on what you can do to protect yourself if you're on medications. We recommend light therapy as well as nutritional support.
2. Excessive alcohol intake is known to cause loss of B and fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K and raise the incidence of cataract formation. 
3. Exercise stimulates parasympathetic activity, an effect that is especially optimal for those with glaucoma and/or macular degeneration.  A university of Oregon study found that 30-40 minutes of walking only 4 times a week lowered intraocular pressure and improved aqueous flow to the lens of the eye. 
4. Sleep - Darkness is a time when the eyes, especially the retinae have a chance to recover, rest, and repair. All day, the structures of the eye are bombarded with light, and sleep provides the opportunity for necessary antioxidants and minerals to replenish the lens and other tissues of the eye 
Therapeutic Foods and Supplements to Consider
Your nutrition, timing of meals, and how you digest can make a big impact on the outcome of your whole body, including your eyes. Just like the rest of the body, there are specific nutrients to consider for every condition.
Cataracts respond to regular intake of antioxidant foods including those containing Vitamins A, C, E and selenium.  2 Brazil nuts per day are enough to meet selenium needs. You might like our Chewable Vitamin C and Liquid Multi Pro.
Diabetic retinopathy is a major cause of vision loss.  Individuals with diabetes should have regular yearly eye exams.  Careful control of blood glucose through meal timing and diet are important measures to take. Following along with an accountability program like our Diabet-Ease program might be a good approach for you to take control.
One common age related eye disease is called Macular Degeneration. A study on eye disease sponsored by the National Eye Institute found that taking antioxidants and zinc can reduce the risk of AMD by 25%. 
For multiple diseases of the retina, and preventative eye care, the omega 3 fatty acid DHA is particularly supportive , particularly if there has been any brain injury like a concussion that caused any visual disturbances.
Diets high in saturated fat, animal fat and trans fatty acids, smoking and abdominal obesity should be addressed and regulated. 
Protective foods for eye health include nuts, fish, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin. Interestingly, lutein and zeaxanthin are particle antioxidant nutrients that have a role in the destructive blue light coming from our screens, devices, and phones.  Nutrients like these are called "photosensitive antioxidants" and help to dispel the damage to cells and nerves from these harmful lights. You might find blue light glasses like those you'll find in ANMC's nutrition shop helpful.
Lutein foods include spinach, kale, collard greens, corn and eggs. People who consume higher levels of green leafy vegetables and regular lutein intake have a 20% reduced risk of cataracts  and studies on cataract surgeries show a correlation of greater need in those with a lower intake of these types of foods. 
Vitamin C, including citrus fruits, are major antioxidants providing support to the lens of the eye. The lens and aqueous humor of the eye concentrate ascorbic far more than other tissues of the body.  Studies have shown that those with regular intake of vitamin C seem to have lower risk of eye disturbances. 
Of course the best care is that of prevention and to correct your diet and stress levels early on. We recommend a Comprehensive Assessment to assess the overall condition of your body as well as a nutrition analysis to find out which of the nutrition recommendations are right for you. Working with your nutritionist, functional practitioner, and optometrist is a great team approach to take for regular exams if you are concerned about your eye health, or just to be proactive. If you don't know where to start, a free Strategy Session by phone or in person might be the way to start.
Favorites for eye health in the ANMC store:
- Eye sarcode - a homeopathic for healthy eye tissue
- Energy Catalyst - a homeopathic to drive nutrients and energy to the eye
- DHA 500-1000mg- omega 3 support for the aqueous humor
- Fruit and Greens, Alpha Lipoic Acid or NAC 600 for antioxidant support
- Optex, VisioPlex, EyePro, Lutein-Zeaxanthin - multiple options for eye care formulas
Send us a message for more information or help with these supplements.
If lifestyle behaviors are causative of eye damage, it would only make sense that there are therapeutics that are supportive for eye health as well! A favorite at our office is Far infrared therapy, which is a fantastic way to reduce inflammation and support healthy cell development.
You can use this link to schedule a session.
Cellular Bioenergetics Assessment- Bioenergetics is a non invasive, simple painless, poke-less, and drug free way to assess imbalances in the body. It can be used to see if your body is supporting the right nutrition for your concerns, including eye health. In person or through a mail in sample, it is an easy way for anyone, anywhere to seek help.
For a long time, it seems that people have been at the mercy of whatever happens, happens, when it comes to the eyes. But it's true that there actually is a lot more that you can do to keep those peepers healthy and disease free, and a lot of it has to do with your life choices. Learn about your stress and what it's telling your body, feed your body well, and apply simple lifestyle strategies.
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