Treating Dry Eye Disease with Diet: Just Add Water?

Treating Dry Eye Disease with Diet: Just Add Water?
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Causes of dry eye disease include LASIK laser eye surgery, but there are dietary approaches to prevention and treatment.

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Dry eye disease is one of the most common eye disorders, causing irritation and discomfort, and can decrease functional vision, and sometimes cause a dramatic deterioration in the quality of life. About five million American men and women over age 50 suffer from moderate to severe dry eyes, and tens of millions more have mild or episodic manifestations of the disease, at a cost of more than $50 billion.

In terms of treatment, there are a bunch of drops and drugs that can help. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars on things like artificial tears, but currently there is no therapy available to actually fix the problem. If drugs don’t work, doctors can try plugging up the outflow tear ducts, but they can cause complications, such as plugs migrating and eroding into the face, requiring surgical removal. Or surgeons can just go in and cauterize, or stitch up the ducts in the first place. There’s got to be a better way.

What about prevention? Well, dry eyes can be caused by LASIK surgery, affecting about 20-40% six months after the operation. With a million LASIK procedures performed annually, that’s a lot of people, and sometimes the long-term symptoms can be severe and disabling.

There’s a long list of drugs that can do it—antihistamines, decongestants, nearly all the antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, anti-Parkinson’s drugs, beta-blockers, and hormone replacement therapy, as well as a few herbal preparations.

In the developing world, vitamin A deficiency can start out as dry eyes, and then progress to become the leading cause of preventable childhood blindness. Vitamin A deficiency is almost never seen in the developed world, unless you do it intentionally. There was a report in the 60s of a guy who deliberately ate a vitamin A-deficient diet, living off bread and lime juice for five years, and his eyes turned into this. Better than this poor woman, the member of some cult who tried to live off just brown rice and herbal tea, whose eyes literally melted and collapsed.

There are also a couple case reports of autistic children who refused to eat anything but French fries, or bacon, blueberry muffins, and Kool-Aid, and became vitamin A deficient. And, there was a case in the Bronx written up as a vegan diet and vitamin A deficiency, but it wasn’t the kid’s vegan diet; he refused to eat vegetables, consuming only potato chips, puffed rice cereal with non-fortified soymilk, and juice drinks. His parents lacked skill in overcoming the child’s tendency to avoid fruits and vegetables.

A plant-based diet may actually be the best thing for patients with dry eye disease, those who wear contact lenses, and those who wish to maximize their tear secretions. People with dry eyes should be advised to lower protein, total fat, and cholesterol intake, and increase complex carbohydrates. Increase vitamin A content by eating red, orange, yellow, and dark green leafy vegetables; increase zinc and folate by eating whole-grains, beans, and raw vegetables—especially spinach; ensure sufficient B6 and potassium intake by eating nuts, bananas, and beans; ensure sufficient vitamin C by eating citrus; eliminate alcohol and caffeine; reduce sugar and salt intake, and increase water consumption to six to eight glasses per day.

Well, we know dehydration can cause a dry mouth; might dehydration cause dry eyes? Seems kind of obvious, but evidently it was never studied, until now. Is the answer to just drink more water? Well, we know that those suffering from dry eyes are comparatively dehydrated. They figure that tear secretion decreases with progressive dehydration, just like saliva secretion decreases, giving us a dry mouth. And indeed, as one gets more and more dehydrated, the urine concentrates, and so does tear fluid. But one can reverse that with rehydration, raising the exciting prospect that improving whole-body hydration by getting people to drink more water might confer important therapeutic effects for patients with dry eyes. The researchers recommend eight cups of water a day for women and ten cups a day for men.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Scott Robinson via Flickr.

Dry eye disease is one of the most common eye disorders, causing irritation and discomfort, and can decrease functional vision, and sometimes cause a dramatic deterioration in the quality of life. About five million American men and women over age 50 suffer from moderate to severe dry eyes, and tens of millions more have mild or episodic manifestations of the disease, at a cost of more than $50 billion.

In terms of treatment, there are a bunch of drops and drugs that can help. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars on things like artificial tears, but currently there is no therapy available to actually fix the problem. If drugs don’t work, doctors can try plugging up the outflow tear ducts, but they can cause complications, such as plugs migrating and eroding into the face, requiring surgical removal. Or surgeons can just go in and cauterize, or stitch up the ducts in the first place. There’s got to be a better way.

What about prevention? Well, dry eyes can be caused by LASIK surgery, affecting about 20-40% six months after the operation. With a million LASIK procedures performed annually, that’s a lot of people, and sometimes the long-term symptoms can be severe and disabling.

There’s a long list of drugs that can do it—antihistamines, decongestants, nearly all the antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, anti-Parkinson’s drugs, beta-blockers, and hormone replacement therapy, as well as a few herbal preparations.

In the developing world, vitamin A deficiency can start out as dry eyes, and then progress to become the leading cause of preventable childhood blindness. Vitamin A deficiency is almost never seen in the developed world, unless you do it intentionally. There was a report in the 60s of a guy who deliberately ate a vitamin A-deficient diet, living off bread and lime juice for five years, and his eyes turned into this. Better than this poor woman, the member of some cult who tried to live off just brown rice and herbal tea, whose eyes literally melted and collapsed.

There are also a couple case reports of autistic children who refused to eat anything but French fries, or bacon, blueberry muffins, and Kool-Aid, and became vitamin A deficient. And, there was a case in the Bronx written up as a vegan diet and vitamin A deficiency, but it wasn’t the kid’s vegan diet; he refused to eat vegetables, consuming only potato chips, puffed rice cereal with non-fortified soymilk, and juice drinks. His parents lacked skill in overcoming the child’s tendency to avoid fruits and vegetables.

A plant-based diet may actually be the best thing for patients with dry eye disease, those who wear contact lenses, and those who wish to maximize their tear secretions. People with dry eyes should be advised to lower protein, total fat, and cholesterol intake, and increase complex carbohydrates. Increase vitamin A content by eating red, orange, yellow, and dark green leafy vegetables; increase zinc and folate by eating whole-grains, beans, and raw vegetables—especially spinach; ensure sufficient B6 and potassium intake by eating nuts, bananas, and beans; ensure sufficient vitamin C by eating citrus; eliminate alcohol and caffeine; reduce sugar and salt intake, and increase water consumption to six to eight glasses per day.

Well, we know dehydration can cause a dry mouth; might dehydration cause dry eyes? Seems kind of obvious, but evidently it was never studied, until now. Is the answer to just drink more water? Well, we know that those suffering from dry eyes are comparatively dehydrated. They figure that tear secretion decreases with progressive dehydration, just like saliva secretion decreases, giving us a dry mouth. And indeed, as one gets more and more dehydrated, the urine concentrates, and so does tear fluid. But one can reverse that with rehydration, raising the exciting prospect that improving whole-body hydration by getting people to drink more water might confer important therapeutic effects for patients with dry eyes. The researchers recommend eight cups of water a day for women and ten cups a day for men.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Scott Robinson via Flickr.

77 responses to “Treating Dry Eye Disease with Diet: Just Add Water?

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  1. It have Myopia, a environmental cause? there for is myopia preventable ?
    it is another topic, related to eye vision that i will love to see in the coming videos.

    “Research proving the environmental cause of myopia. Some children are born with a high degree of myopia. This is a congenital birth defect. This can have many causes, such as drug use by the mother, and is not covered here. This site deals with acquired myopia, which is caused by an abnormal visual environment. Here is a sampling of research done in the USA during the past several decades that has provided evidence that this acquired myopia is not hereditary, but environmental.

    1) Since the eyes of certain monkeys are nearly identical to human eyes, a hood was used to restrict the vision of such monkeys so that they could see no farther away than 15 inches (38 cm). It was found that most of them developed high myopia just as humans do (Francis A. Young, “The Development of Myopia,” Contacto 15, no. 2, June, 1971). Monkeys living in the wild, however, do not develop myopia (Francis A. Young, “Visual Refractive Errors of Wild and Laboratory Monkeys,” Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Digest 27, August, 1965).

    2) The vision of Eskimos living on the northern shore of Alaska was examined. It was found that the parents and grandparents, who were illiterate and living a typical outdoor life, were not myopic. Of the children, who had the benefit of compulsory education, fully 60% were myopic (Francis A. Young et al, “The Transmission of Refractive Errors within Eskimo Families,” American Journal of Optometry and Archives of the American Academy of Optometry 46, no. 9, September, 1969). Primitive or illiterate people around the world generally do not develop myopia. How can this be explained by the heredity theory?

    3) In a study entitled “Bifocal Control of Myopia,” Kenneth H. Oakley and Francis A. Young described how they used bifocals on children to reduce their rate of myopia progression to a fraction of what it would have otherwise been. (American Journal of Optometry and Physiological Optics, 52, no. 11, November, 1975). For the full report, read Bifocal Control of Myopia.

    4) Navy submarine personnel, working in a confined visual environment, develop myopia much faster than other personnel (Ira Schwartz and N. Elaine Sandberg, “The Effect of Time in Submarine Service on Vision,” Medical Research Laboratory Report no. 253; Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Navy Department project NM 003041.57.03).

    5) In a study entitled “Accommodation, Refractive Error and Eye Growth in Chickens,” and published in Vision Research., Vol 28, No. 5 pp 639-657, 1988, Pergamon Press, Frank Schaeffel, Adrian Glasser and Howard C. Howland found that:

    All eyes treated with positive lenses became consistently more positive (hyperopic).

    Negative lenses produced more negative (myopic) refractions (focal states) in all eyes.

    In a test of plus/minus lenses on left/right eyes, the eye with the plus lens moved in a positive direction. The eye with a minus lens moved in a minus direction.

    The control group did not change significantly in any direction.

    6) In a study entitled “Bifocals May Slow Progression of Nearsightedness in Children,” published in the January, 2010 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, and reported in Science Daily on Jan. 12, 2010, further proof was found:

    Desmond Cheng, O.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., then of the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbaine, Australia, and now of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled clinical trial among 135 Chinese Canadian children (average age 10.3) in one practice with progressing myopia. Participating children were assigned to one of three treatment groups: 41 wore single-vision lenses, 48 wore bifocals and 46 wore bifocals with prism, which helps the eyes work together.

    Of the 135 children, 131 completed the 24-month study. Progression of myopia was most rapid among those who wore single-focus lenses, slower among those who wore bifocals and slowest among those who wore prismatic bifocals.

    Recent statistics show that In the United States the prevalence of myopia for individuals aged 12 to 54 years was significantly higher in 1999 to 2004 than in 1971 to 1972 (41.6 percent vs. 25 percent, respectively).

    The amount of acquired myopia in the Far East is much higher than in the USA. The large amount of study needed to master and use oriental characters is thought to be a contributing cause. For a summary of research on this topic, see Myopia Prevalence in Asia.”

    .




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    1. in paralel to that, exist a correlation in cultures with more academic studies and the development of myopia..korea is an example of that , and India too.. as well that countries with no strong educational system have very little myopia in them ..
      that may mean that been constantly focusing close during the development of the eye may course a deformation that produce the myopia.. that’s not mean that is bad to study but is needed to expend more time looking far away for a healthy development of the eye..

      May be we have to find a way to study outside not only for the health of the eyes but the whole body of a kid is force to stay sit for 6 hs.. mowing that is bad for his health

      any way that’s still unclear.. so i whant to know whats the best science available says in relation to this problem..




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    2. I have no studies or proof but I thought the focusing of near and far is what gives you balanced eyesight .. and also doing it in daylight, outside .. something about vit. D helping with your eyes, and the constant change in focus from near to far objects, ? I dunno .. I’m a stumbler without my eyeglasses? So dad might of been right in saying too much T.V. will ruin your eyes, but then I was a heavy reader in my younger than now days.




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      1. I have two or three books on overcoming myopathy with eye exercises. Unfortunately I’ve never actually tried any of them…but with excellent nutrition, hydration and exercises perhaps we could all improve poor eyesight.

        I’ve always been more of an indoor type, loving reading, sewing, knitting, embroidery, and, as a child playing jacks, pickup sticks, and dolls. No wonder I was in glasses for myopia by age 12! I also enjoy hiking, walking in town, some gardening, etc., but that all came later, long after the need for glasses.




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  2. personally i suffer from dry eye for few years, specially during night after been in the computer for few hours.. then i cudt open my eyes in the morning.. i have notices a relation with sodium intake and fat.. (basically when i went to eat outside) but probably salt make me dehydrated, i dont know… but for me changing to eat more plant food and take away cheese and eggs from my diet have cure the problem complete.




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    1. HA! Well… as you are correct about bananas I must defend the good doctor as he named beans and nuts as potassium sources. Of course we have more on potassium and what foods have the most.

      I agree with Seedy – love the comments!




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  3. I’m on a pretty nutritious vegan diet, but inmy late 50s I developed dry eyes. My doctor prescribed artificial tears. It was a huge drag, even with the medicine. Online, I saw recommendations to raise omega 3’s. Started taking flax 1.5 T a day religiously, fixed it right away. (Might have also gotten a bottle of algae DHA). 5 years later still no problem at all. I’m sure I was drinking 6 to 8 glasses of liquids a day all along. But as a side note, I now find I do much much better on twice as much hydration, drinking 11 to 16 cups of fluids a day. It improved my asthma as well. (the increased water).




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    1. lilyroza: Thanks for sharing your story. That sounds like a really great tip for people who are experiencing the same problem. Also, when I read your post, I thought to myself how clever it was of you to take advice about omega 3s and turn to flax instead of fish oil. Smart person!




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    2. My story is very similar. Whole food vegan in 2007. Dry eyes came on a couple years later around age 50. I remember increasing DHA supplementation, I think to 500 mg/day and the problem disappeared right away and hasn’t come back. (I now take Minami brand vegan dha, 3 caps/day which is 600 mg) My dry skin also disappeared this way, although I think Vit D supplement may have also contributed to the improvement.




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    3. great to hear others confirm this – i was taking just flax and it seemed to help a bit but then read that flax mostly converts to just EPA (if our bodies can process it from ALA at all, as they have to have a host of other elements present), but read to add algae as that mostly converts to DHA, so now am using both to get the balance of both DHA and EPA. So, fish oil apparently gives both in easier to process fashion but although I don’t have to stay with a vegetarian supplement, lots of articles seem to be against fish sups – why?




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      1. I just realized that you left this reply. My understanding is that the conversion of flax omega 3 oils to epa and dha are facilitated by obtaining the right balance of omega 3s to omega 6 oils in the diet. For a person eating plant based, that means making every effort to keep omega 6s in the diet low, which has many other health benefits. I believe I got that from Becoming Vegan, the nutrition book. An easy way to know if you are consuming fats in proper ratios is to use cronometer.com, though i believe this benefit is only available to paid subscribers ($5 a month?) As for your question about fish oil, just search it in the search field of this website. Dr Greger explains it very well. Enjoy this free service, aren’t we lucky?




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      1. you can find the graphics creator under Acknowledgements (right beside Sources Cited). People make their works available under the Creative Commons license.




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  4. Also, omega-3 fatty acids and gamma-linoleic acid, which is found in black currant seed oil and evening primrose oil, have been shown to help dry eye. There are supplements on the market containing these fatty acids that are recommended for dry eye. A friend of mine, who had dry eye, tried them and they helped her overcome it.




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    1. yes that is cool too, our bodies need these oils in balance omega 3 and omega 6 but we do tend to get rather a lot of omega 6 from other foods, and not enough omega 3 generally – they are great for brain, skin, nerves, cell function, a whole host of reasons to get this right, as well as for the eyes




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  5. Had lasik, got dry eyes from the operation. It can be irritating. Although I have to say I was nearly blind, so the trade off is basically worth it for someone like me. I wouldn’t recommend it for someone with mild vision problems though.




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  6. Does drinking herbal tea count towards the necessary 8 cups a day required for women? How about green tea? Would that make things worse? I have dry eyes and dry mouth syndrome. Mostly at night. Thank you for your help!




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    1. Nancy: The information from the following NutritionFacts video may be an answer for you:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-many-glasses-of-water-should-we-drink-a-day/

      Specifically note: “We can also get water from all the other drinks we consume, including caffeinated drinks, with the exception of stronger alcoholic drinks like wines and spirits. Beer can leave you with more water than you started with, but wine actively dehydrates you.” But the devil is in the details. So, I recommend watching the whole video, including the parts at the end.




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      1. Thank you Thea. I did watch the video that you suggested. At the end though, Dr. Greger said that the tests for cancer and heart disease only tested actually water, not other drinks. So maybe I should drink less herbal tea and more plain water. I follow a plant based diet but still have had breast cancer and a heart bypass operation. Now I have dry eyes and dry mouth. I have found that Xylimelts helps so much with dry mouth at night. I am 75 years old.




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    2. herbal tea does count as the same as water, and in some ways better as green tea for example includes a fantastic antioxidant…… just make sure it is proper herbal teas and not infusions…….. juice etc does not count as water as it has sugar which just undoes any good effect – also if we have fresh juice at all it needs to be WITH the fibre so the body can process it right and get the benefits




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  7. Interesting and glad to see a video on dry eyes. I have had severely dry eyes (especially at night) for 4.5 years. Mine is not due to lack of drinking water and I have not had lasik surgery. My eye symptoms started within days of taking a T3 therapy to ‘jumpstart’ my sluggish thyroid (per an
    ND) 4.5 years ago. The ND told me I might feel awful, and I did, so I hung on until I couldn’t take it any longer—extreme fatigue, very dry eyes on waking in the middle of the night, hard to sleep, night sweats, pain in my feet on waking in the middle of the night. I stopped after 6 weeks and slowly began to feel a little better, but the dry eyes have not gone away, and the pain in the feet only slowly—still some ‘knumbness and tingling’ at times.

    But it wasn’t until a month or so ago that I found out that ALL of my symptoms (life-long symptoms–including migraines, PMS, preterm labor, terrible morning sickness with my 2 pregnancies, life-long irritability, bladder issues, constipation, night sweats, hot flashes, memory issues, premature,
    skin wrinkling, cataracts, excessive spider veins, DRY EYES, and more) are due to LACK OF MAGNESIUM. I am now using transdermal magnesium, oral magnesium (ReMag from Dr Carolyn Dean), some oral mg citrate as Calm (but not too much….it causes diarreaha and this is the reason I was not getting much Mg and did not know it) and some mg citrate capsules, and finally, I am noticing some changes. In two weeks of supplementing, I am sleeping better, less constipation, and have more energy than I have had in 4.5 years, my feet feel better, and my eyes are not as dry. Still not normal, but getting better. I am also using magnesium CL drops in my eyes when they get dry. A mix of distilled water and MgCl (Ease MgCl…see Dr Mark Sircus’s article about this).

    One thing I notice is that my eyes get markedly more dry at night when I have eaten something salty during the day. The salt may be displacing water in the cells…..and possibly worsening my magnesium deficiency.

    I hope Dr Greger does a video on the many, many symptoms of magnesium deficiency and how much proper mg supplementation can reverse many of them. I have found the answer I have been looking for for over 20 years.




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  8. What a refreshing post coming on the heels of the NYT post a few days ago that claimed that drinking lots of water as a health benefit was not scientifically substantiated. Water lubricates! And it can lubricate not only eyes, but also, in my case, my spinal column. When I went on a 6-8 glass-a-day water regimen a few years back, my trips to the chiropractor all but disappeared. Thanks, Dr. G!




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  9. My mother has this issue for years and that is trouble some. Could the global deshydratation be linked to a deficiency in salt ? Or with a lack of something ? Because she is drinking far enough (even if not regulary, I’ll ask her to test that out).
    Will try the vitamin A way too, as it did work wonders on getting my sight sharpness back. Can’t wait to see other videos on that matter.




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  10. And do avoid LASIK Surgery! Go to http://lasikcomplications.com for ten major reasons why. Some suicides were done because of the big harms that resulted from LASIK surgery!
    I researched and decided to not let my two daughters do LASIK! My Letter to the Editor of my local paper concluded with “If LASIK Surgery was the only means to correct vision, then the Nobel Prize would go to the inventors of the very superior ways to correct vision of glasses and contact lenses!”




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  11. I agree that omega 3s really help prevent dry eyes. But too much time with screens, especially small ones, can still dry my eyes out.




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  12. for children and individuals with sensory disorders including autism it’s often the texture of fruit & vegetables they can’t handle, but they tend to like textures like sauteed mushrooms , Tofu , and will accept smoothies with a thick straw if not directly from a cup. I understand that whole- plant food is far better for you than smoothies, but seeing videos like this reminds us that we need to experiment and research until we can get children to accept & enjoy plant foods.




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  13. I do enjoy your videos, but please give us a warning for graphic pictures. I can’t get the picture of the open face out of my mind.




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      1. Hi Joseph: I remember reading somewhere that everybody needs to get some pre-formed vitamin A, no matter how much beta-carotene from whole plant foods he/she gets. Is there any truth to this claim? Thanks




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        1. Hi George. I have also heard this theory, but have not seen any research support the claim. The Institute of Medicine considers “retinol activity equivalents (RAEs). 1 RAE = 1 μg retinol, 12 μg β-carotene, 24 μg α-carotene, or 24 μg β-cryptoxanthin. The RAE for dietary provitamin A carotenoids is twofold greater than retinol equivalents (RE), whereas the RAE for preformed vitamin A is the same as RE.”

          So in short, the carotenoids provide “equivalents” and there is no need in the diet for preformed vitamin A.




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  14. I am wondering if anyone has had any experience with Sjögren’s syndrome, which is an autoimmune disease affecting primary the salivary and lacrimal glands (i am pretty sure that many of those suffering from dry eyes might actually have Sjögren’s disease). Actually i am wondering if anyone around here has experience in improving the life of people with autoimmune diseases like Sjögren or Lupus. Is a plant based diet really helpful? How is it with grains – lots of the stuff that i have been reading is against grains/gluten products even for tjose not having gluten intolerance. Are soy products bad/to be avoided in autoimmune diseases?

    Thanks for any answer,
    Alex.




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    1. Alex, I had the problem for years, and when I switched to a plant based diet to fight diabetes, not only was that quickly accomplished, but a whole slew of other chronic health problems also resolved over time including severe arthritis, fibromyalgia, thyroid issues, IBS, obesity, and on and on. Don’t take my lone word for it though, check out some of these for the effectiveness of a WFPB diet on better health… https://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/health-science/stars/
      As for the grains, etc, I often ferment them for max benefits, but not always and have no problems. I stick to traditional, “real” soy products, (tempeh, tofu, miso, soy milk) not the fake foods or isolates, and notice actual benefits. Once my body began to heal, I found that as long as I stay away from animal products and processed stuff including oils, all is good, but if I “regress” I pay for it. The older we are obviously the longer it will take to repair and rebuild, but it DOES happen and it is the rule not the exception!




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    2. Alex, I had the problem for years, and when I switched to a plant based diet to fight diabetes, not only was that quickly accomplished, but a whole slew of other chronic health problems also resolved over time including severe arthritis, fibromyalgia, thyroid issues, IBS, obesity, and on and on. Don’t take my lone word for it though, check out some of these for the effectiveness of a WFPB diet on better health… https://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/health-science/stars/
      As for the grains, etc, I often ferment them for max benefits, but not always and have no problems. I stick to traditional, “real” soy products, (tempeh, tofu, miso, soy milk) not the fake foods or isolates, and notice actual benefits. Once my body began to heal, I found that as long as I stay away from animal products and processed stuff including oils, all is good, but if I “regress” I pay for it. The older we are obviously the longer it will take to repair and rebuild, but it DOES happen and it is the rule not the exception!




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      1. It gives me hope reading your post. I hope it can be that “simple” as switching to a plant based diet in my case as well.
        All the best,
        Alex




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    3. Great question, Alex! Actually I have a lot of info on this. Since Sjogren’s syndrome often accompanies other immune system disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), perhaps a diet for RA could be helpful? Nutrient intake is altered in Sjögren’s syndrome and could be addressed. Some research suggests omega-3 fats may play a role helping to reduce dry eyes (bingo!). Here is one case study on a women who reduced inflammation and began normal menses with an elimination diet. She eliminated gluten, beef, eggs, dairy products, nightshade vegetables, refined sugars, and citrus fruit for 4 months. Authors conclude “restoration of normal menses was caused by reduced inflammation in the ovarian tissue and supports the hypothesis that the gut immune system can influence autoimmune disease and inflammation.” I would consider avoiding cow’s milk, as there has been a link to milk sensitivity in those with the syndrome and maybe even gluten. Following a diet for RA may be very beneficial for Sjogren’s as well.

      Check out our videos on RA. I helped publish a study on migraine headaches. At first we had some patients with arthritis, as this was kind of a study looking at potential pain trigger due to foods. We put them on a strict plant-based diet, adding an elimination diet phase within the study to see if they could identify any triggers. You can read more about our design here.

      Let me know if any of this helps?

      Joseph




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      1. Thank you for the comprehensive answer. Please keep posting videos for people with autoimmune diseases. (might sound selfish because i have one, but it seems to me to be quite a lot of people having autoimmune diseases.) Medicine seems to have so little to offer when it comes to treatments. And it’s hard to find the best diet, when there is so much conflicting info in the media.

        All the best,
        Alx




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  15. Of course, Dr. Greger, you know that Vitamin A is found only in animal products.. Beta-carotene is found in fruits and vegetables which can be converted to Vitamin A. More fruits and vegetables is how one increases vitamin A without overdosing.




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  16. Yes! Lower protein intake (also nuts and seeds until feeling much better). And increase hydration (especially through increased quality fresh fruit consumption). Why? More protein = more inflammation, more dehydration and more waste for the body to clean.




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  17. What about blepharitis? My father-in-law suffers from this. He has been to many doctors with no luck. He has been to specialist at the Univ. of MI. He is even had eye lid surgery done in Florida that did not help. I understand that it is a chronic inflammation of the eye lid with no cure. Since it is a “chronic inflammation”… have there been any studies done on this? Thanks for any feedback…




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  18. Hi, I have had a retina laser treatment. Since then I sometimes see sparks running through my sight or a black dot for a second. Also my eye hurts (probably from dry eye syndrom, however I also felt pain during the procedure). I have been to several doctors, however, from a (current) medical standpoint everything is alright.
    My personal best guess is that since the retina is a nerve cell, that on a molecular level the laser changed either the the retinal light sensor slightly or the electrical pulses to the brain. I know that the retina typically can’t regenerate, however, I have read now a couple of regenerative medicine studies that the Müller cells (between the retina cells) have the potential to repair the retina, if activated (Zebra fish is doing this all the time).

    Is anybody aware of nutritions that could activate those Müller cells to start the repair – apparently exogenous growth factors, such as FGF, EGF, or insulin are needed to activate Müller cells in mammals? Is there any food that has that inside? Not sure if I am allowed to reference to the study done, so I won’t do that right now.




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    1. Dry eye condition is my personal concern. I see a topic listed here asking if water could help dry eye. I found the title/topic but no text. Anyone aware of a working link.




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  19. I love it that here you say that bananas are a good source of potassium! On the WHFoods.org website (World’s Healthiest Foods), bananas are shown to be a good source, with 12.1 percent of your daily value in one 105-calorie banana. (Google says 9%.) On another video, and in your app, you say that bananas are in 86th place for potassium, behind some well-known candy bar. But a Snickers Bar has only 4%, half as much!




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    1. As one of the moderators on NF.org, I wanted to respond to your comment on bananas being a healthy food and comments about bananas that seemed contradictory. I do remember and was surprised by that NF video showing bananas as 86th place for potassium, well behind other healthy foods such as sweet or baked potatoes, lima beans, etc. and even some unhealthy ones such as Snickers bars. (check out https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/document/html/appendixb.htm ) However that’s not to say bananas are unhealthy even if they are not at the top of the potassium-containing chart. They do have a respectable amount of potassium and they have other healthy components http://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-fruit-fights-cancer-better/ So I think we can still say bananas are healthy recognizing oterh foods contain more potassium. The fact that they are popular and easy to eat may help make them winners in terms of healthy nutrition. indeed, bananas. Joan-NurseEducator




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      1. Thank you Joan! I see from the health.gov list you mention that bananas are number 21. Since this is a listing of good sources of potassium, it’s further evidence that bananas couldn’t be 86th on a list behind candy bars. I hope Dr. Greger goes back and changes that video, or adds a footnote to it!!




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  20. I have searched and searched and found nothing that helps with corneal edema. Is there any nutritional help for corneal edema at all? My 46 yr old son suffers with this. He eats little meat but I haven’t been successful in getting him to switch to WFPB. He lives 300 miles away so I don’t have much influence (I’m WFPB); but if I could show him some nutritional research that would offer him hope, I’m sure he’d try it.




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  21. Hi Janet, I could not find any information regarding diet and corneal edema. However the web site below explain information on this topic. Also could it be due to some triggering factor for example does he wear contact lenses? If so are they kept in a proper solution and kept cleaned properly.
    I would recommend if possible seeing an eye specialist.

    a title=”Corneal Edema Treatment” href=”http://www.progressivehealth.com/treating-corneal-edema.htm”>Corneal Edema Treatment




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    1. Thank you so much for your reply. My son does not wear contacts. He has gone to a couple of specialists with no good solution. Being MDs they are not well versed in nutrition so that’s why I was asking here if such a solution exists. Thank you though for your response. Maybe someday I’ll find some nutritional help for him.




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  22. Although I too could not find a specific research article on nutritional recommendations for corneal edema, I did find two articles that may be of interest. The first is an animal study which seems to offer promise. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25087300
    The effect of supplemental dietary amino acids, minerals and vitamins on salmonids fed cataractogenic diets.
    The next article specifically mentions inflammation as possible cause of this condition and since we know inflammation risk can be minimized with a whole food plant based diet (Check out NutritionFacts.org and type Inflammation) this may be helpful for your son as well.
    https://www.aao.org/eye-health/ask-ophthalmologist-q/corneal-edema-treatment
    Treatment of corneal edema, or swelling of the cornea, is based on the underlying cause of the condition. Most commonly, the endothelial cells responsible for pumping fluid out of the cornea are damaged.
    nutrtion rec




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    1. Thank you Joan-NurseEducator. I appreciate your research on this topic and I’ll pass along the information to my son. It’s heartening to think that a WFPB diet would help him and he’s already half way to that end. He seldom eats meat and he has already given up most processed foods as his whole family has joined their littlest son in dealing with an ADHD diet. Hopefully abstaining from fish and dairy might work to eliminate his discomfort. Thank you again.

      In the story [of the Prodigal Son], it isn’t just the life of the prodigal son, but the father who is also restored. Our lives are intertwined, so when someone is lost, part of us goes missing too. By forgiving, we gather eachother back in and slowly come to life. – Living Lent Daily




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    2. In the story [of the Prodigal Son], it isn’t just the life of the prodigal son, but the father who is also restored. Our lives are intertwined, so when someone is lost, part of us goes missing too. By forgiving, we gather eachother back in and slowly come to life. – Living Lent Daily




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  23. Has anyone experienced dry brittle, cracking nails and dry hair on vegan diet? I am otherwise healthy and do not know what could be causing this. There are several people that have stopped being vegan for this reason. See this link https://youtu.be/vV1qE_NA-E4.




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    1. There is a huge variety of nutritional intake that constitutes a vegan diet- coke, oreos and fries are vegan for example, hence why many plant-based doctors focus on a wholefood plantbased diet. Are you following Dr Greger’s daily dozen? Dryness can often be improved by increasing fat intake from nuts, seeds, flax, avocado etc… Eating more greens can increase nutrient intakes. What does your diet look like?




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      1. It took many years and I am pretty close to following Dr. Greger’s diet recommendations. On most days I get 1-2 servings of beans. If only one serving I will take a plant based protein powder. I eat a whole food diet. I didn’t know if biotin would help? I could increase my fat by eating more avocados. I do get flax everyday.




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        1. Plant based protein powders aren’t recommended here, however of course that’s your choice.

          Silica has some evidence of help, but is controversial.

          I would encourage you to find a doctor that can assess if you have any nutritional deficiencies- iron, zinc, magnesium, EFAs etc and see if it is a dietary cause.

          Also look at lifestyle- what soaps and products are you using? Try and go as natural as possible, for example, rubbing an oil like macadamia into your nails, avoiding harsh soaps and chemical cleaners, natural shampoos used minimally etc…




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          1. Well, I was able to have my primary MD order all the blood work. My pre-albumin, magnesium, zinc, iron and ferritin were all normal. All the normal blood work for yearly physical was also normal, thyroid etc. the only thing I did not check for was EFA’s. How would I check for EFA’s?




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                1. Oh gosh…just looked at Dr. Fuhrman’s web site and this test is not available in the state of New York. Is there a blood test that I could have my primary MD order?




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  24. I have chronic dry eyes an ive found them a bit better since i stopped taking my thyroxine for an under active thyroid but my doctor says i need to start taking it again as there is no replacement for the thyroxine. Im not keen to go back on it. Does anyone know if there is anyway i can replace the thyroxine.




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  25. Selena,

    If indeed you’re finding the change with and without the thyroxine to be affecting your eyes consider the use of T3 the more active form of thyroid with a minimal dose. Don’t forget there are multiple issues with having a low thyroid function and it is important to not leave yourself running on a low level. My clinical experience also suggests DON’T exclusively rely on the lab tests….. not everyone falls into the “average” need….check your bodies response and remember to make certain to get a FULL thyroid panel….. not just the T4 and TSH….

    Also adequate hydration, fish oils and herbal products, that have scientific validity along with other lifestyle issues are considerations that should be evaluated.

    Most overlooked issues I find in my patients, after looking at the medical and supplements, poor air quality. Check for the dust levels in your home. Most libraries will loan you a Speck, for 2 weeks which is an air sampling device…… rather revealing to most folks and then we go into making home/vocational changes.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com




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