A Clear Fear of Aging: Loss of Sight

Dr. Sears Blog: Omega-3 May Improve Sight LossAmericans are aging. So what is their greatest concern? Surprisingly, it is not loss of memory, cancer, heart disease, amputation, loss of speech or hearing. According to a study from Johns Hopkins,1 it is the loss of vision. The reason being that losing sight has the greatest negative impact on daily lives leading to loss of independence.

However, more than half of the respondents didn’t know anything about macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness after age 50.

Types of Macular Degeneration

There are two types of macular degeneration: wet and dry. Only 10% of the population has wet macular degeneration. At least the wet form of macular degeneration can sometimes be controlled (but not improved) by monthly injections of a monoclonal antibody into the eye at a cost of around $4,000 per injection. However, 90% of macular degeneration falls into the dry category for which there is no known drug treatment. This means once you get dry macular degeneration, you will eventually go blind—unless you take action.

How to Treat Dry Macular Degeneration

Although there is no known drug to treat dry macular degeneration, there is a nutritional intervention that has been shown to dramatically improve the condition and restore much of the loss of vision. This intervention is high-dose fish oil.2,3 Within six months of taking 5–8 grams of EPA and DHA per day, vision is dramatically enhanced if the ratio of AA/EPA is reduced to less than 2. Since the average AA/EPA ratio in Americans is 18, you can assume that macular degeneration is nowhere under control in the United States. But ophthalmologists say fish oil doesn’t work. Of course it doesn’t— unless you’re taking a therapeutic dose of fish oil. This was recently pointed out by one of the leading ophthalmology researchers in the world.4

Lowering the AA/EPA ratio has such a profound impact in dry macular degeneration because it is an inflammatory disease. Once you reduce inflammation in the eye (specifically in the retina), the problem begins to resolve.

So, if you are aging and concerned by potential loss of vision, you can start your own vision recovery program today. Just make sure the fish oil is incredibly pure. OmegaRx 2 is the only product that meets that criteria, as its standards for upper limits of toxins such as PCBs are 10 times more rigid than a prescription fish oil product, and 18 times more rigid than a typical fish oil in a health food store or a supermarket.

How Much Fish Oil Do You Need?

Take enough OmegaRx 2 so that your AA/EPA ratio, measured by the Cellular Inflammation Test, is reduced to about 2. Of course, the day you stop taking OmegaRx 2, inflammation in the retina will begin to rise again. So, what are the long-term side effects of taking OmegaRx 2 for a lifetime? You will be happier and smarter. I only wish more drugs would have side effects like those.

References:

  1. Scott A et al. “Public attitudes about eye and vision health.” JAMA Ophthalmol 134: 1111-1118 (2016).
  2. Georgiou T et al. “Pilot study for treating dry age-related macular degeneration with high-dose omega-3 fatty acids. PharmaNutrition 2:8-11 (2014).
  3. Georgiou T and Prokopiou E. “The new era of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation: therapeutic effects of dry age-related macular degeneration.” J Stem Cell 10: 205-215 (2015).
  4. Souied EH et al. “Omega-3 fatty acids and age-related macular degeneration.” Ophthalmic Res. 55:62-69 (2015).

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About Dr. Barry Sears

Dr. Barry Sears is a leading authority on the impact of the diet on hormonal response, genetic expression, and inflammation. A former research scientist at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Sears has dedicated his research efforts over the past 45 years to the study of lipids. He has published 40 scientific articles and holds 14 U.S. patents in the areas of intravenous drug delivery systems and hormonal regulation for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. He has also written 14 books, including the New York Times #1 best-seller, The Zone, which have sold more than 6 million copies in the U.S. and have been translated into 22 different languages.

Comments

  1. Barry Sears

    Having Parkinson’s should be enough motivation. Parkinson’s is an inflammatory condition that can best be treated by an anti-inflammatory diet.

    Reply
  2. Jean

    I have been using the Zone diet and Zone fish oil for 15 years and have lost weight, have excellent blood pressure and blood sugar. At 61 yrs old, I am often mistaken to be in my 40s. I am very thankful for Dr Sears for his work!

    Reply
    • Barry Sears

      Our studies indicated a minimum of 5 grams of EPA and DHA per day for six months was sufficient for a statistically significant improvement in vision. This corresponds to about 6 capsules of OmegaRx 2 per day.. Subsequent studies demonstrated that 7.5 grams of EPA and DHA per day generated even better results. I would start at 5 grams of EPA and DHA per day for 60 days and then get a Cellular Inflammation test to determine your husband’s AA/EPA ratio. If it is higher than 1.5, then I would increase the fish oil and retest again another 60 days. There is no need for additional Vitamin K, but adding extra polyphenols such as Maqui Rx would be a great idea to reduce oxidative stress in the blood.

      Reply
    • Barry Sears

      Give yourself all the credit for following though with my recommendations.

      Reply
  3. Bruce

    I have been taking the Omega Rx fish oil for many years, and more recently Omega RX 2 fish oil. I am 74 years old, & I am in good physical shape. I take the equivalent of 3 teaspoons of oil daily. About 9 months ago, I saw a retinologist for an unrelated problem & was surprised to hear that I had dry macular degeneration. There was no geographical atrophy, or choroidal neovascularization. I was told that the causative factors are most likely due to the fact that I am Caucasian, of European ancestry, being elderly, and having a probable hereditary influence. I was told that large studies showed that omega 3 fish oils had no influence in preventing the development of drusen or preventing the progression to wet macular degeneration.

    Reference was made to the ARED 1 & 2 studies.These studies, according to the retinologist, have shown that the Areds 2 formula vitamins reduced the likelihood of progression to the wet state by approximately 25%. Most of the current literature seems to stress the importance of consumption of green leafy vegetables, dietary supplementation of lutein, zeaxanthin, & meso-zeaxanthin, & the avoidance of blue/violet/ultraviolet light with their associated free radicals.

    It would be helpful to correlate the number of.teaspoons of Omega RX 2 fish oil that would equal the equivalent of 5 grams?

    you have listed some references about omega 3 supplementation & AMD but since
    omega 3 fish oil supplementation has thus far been seemingly absent in the literature about the treatment and/or prevention of age related macular degeneration, could you print summaries of some of these pertinent articles for your constituents to read, since many of these journals require membership for access. Thank you for your consideration.

    Reply
    • Ruth

      I second this request! My husband would like try this regimen for dry macular degeneration but feel a little unclear of how much to start with, and build up to. Is there a need for vitamin k if he uses a high amount of fish oil? Any information (or how we can discuss this further) would be so helpful

      Reply
    • Barry Sears

      The AREDS 1 and 2 studies used 1 gram of EPA and DHA per day. Our studies have used between 5 to 7.5 grams of EPA and DHA per day. This is equivalent of between 6 and 10 capsules of OmegaRx 2 per day or 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of the liquid OmegaRx 2. The best results were obtained when the AA/EPA ratio was reduced to between 1 and 1.5. Both of my studies have been published, but in essence placebo doses of EPA and DHA will always generate placebo effects.

      Reply
  4. Eileen

    Question – does macular degeneration occur in older people with healthy retinas? I just saw an image of my retina and the doctor really liked the way it looked: nice yellow spot with think vessels and no sign of inflammation of the vessels

    Reply
    • Barry Sears

      If the retina is healthy (i.e. absence of inflammation) then macular degeneration will not occur. It is correlated with constant loss of vision.

      Reply
  5. bob long

    The problem with Dr. Sears and the Zone is that he’s about 10 years ahead of his time. I lost about 40 lbs on the zone type nutrition plan. It’s not sexy, it’s not easy, it doesn’t come in a box and doesn’t have any A-listers in bikini’s touting impossible results. Dr. Sears information is fact based and science tested. His information is great…only if you use it.

    Reply
  6. Barry thomson

    Hi Janet
    I’m a zone user. But not a quantum physicist!
    You don’t have to measure much,, just follow Dr Sears eyeball test
    Lean protein, the size and thickness of your palm.( slightly larger for fish). That will occupy about 1/3 of a dinner plate.
    Fill the rest of plate with steamed green vegetables.
    Drizzle some olive oil and a few nuts on the veggies…. and bobs your uncle..
    An example
    Founder filet( will be 4-5 oz)
    Fresh green beans( will be 1 1/2-2cups)
    Tablespoon of slivered almonds
    Fruit for desert,
    Best Regards
    Barry thomson
    PS you don’t need a month a week or so. Dr sears has
    a great book A week in the Zone ..you can get it on Amazon

    ,

    Reply
  7. Elle

    I wonder if going on the ZONES cruise would help. Sorry it doesn’t last a month but the benefits should. Also I would try for an appointment with Dr Leo Galland. Integrative functional medicine. Wish I lived near an area where this sort of medicine was available.

    Reply
    • Barry Sears

      The Zone Cruise is floating food lab in which the latest Zone Food developments are the core to all the meals with breaking science in the lectures during the days at sea. Although most Zone Cruise members are long-time followers of the program, it is also designed to immense the first time user into the technology.

      Reply
  8. Janet Morgan

    I have been introduced to the zone by quantum physicist Ryan Blackmore . I am showing Parkinson’s symptoms . I am so discouraged and it is a trip measuring the food . Do you have a place to go for a month to get motivated?

    Reply

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