Patients when they go through our program are put on a microcurrent program that is called detox. I want to take the time to explain why this is so important, especially since the research is now starting to confirm that vision problems are closely related to issues of toxicity. To understand why vision disorders are related to toxicity I have to begin by explaining the term inflammation. I’m sure you’ve heard the term by now. It’s all over the news and it’s now been said that “inflammation is the most likely cause of all chronic diseases”. So what is inflammation? There are multiple long and complicated processes that can explain this function of the immune system, but inflammation can be defined as: “The reaction of a part of the body to injury or infection, characterized by swelling, heat, redness, and pain. The process includes increased blood flow with an influx of white blood cells and other chemical substances that facilitate healing.” This is a good thing, and it is also absolutely necessary for us to have the ability to create an acute inflammatory response to an injury or infection. Unfortunately we are now seeing patients with high levels of chronic inflammation which is a whole different ballgame. This is where chronic health problems start. If the immune system is constantly exposed to things that cause the immune system to activate an inflammatory response, then the body never gets to complete the healing process. This is stressful the body and can cause the immune system to lose the ability to self-regulate itself. These things that the body is reacting to, is a plethora of things, however they all have something in common; they cause irritation and/or injury to the body. That’s why we call them toxins. This is why you need to get them out of your body so that you can decrease the inflammatory reaction. For those of you that have been here during a 3-day program, you will remember Dr.Kondrot’s lectures on the importance of cleaning up your diet, improve water quality, decrease exposure to unnecessary toxins such as plastics and chemicals from your home environment. It is extremely important to reduce the exposure to toxins as much as you can. I know it is hard to regulate air quality in your area or protect yourself from toxins when you are out on the town to do errands. However, you can control what you eat, the water quality in your house and what you choose to put on your body. This way, you will decrease the overall exposure to toxins and that is crucial for decreasing inflammation in the body.
Let me discuss a couple of research articles that came out in January this year that elucidates the role of inflammation in relation to vision disoreders. The first article was done by researchers from University College London and published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Zuby Okemefuna, the lead author of this article, is reporting that both dry and wet age related macular degeneration (ARMD) has a common molecular route and then it deviates into dry or wet ARMD. This is why one person can have both dry and wet ARMD at the same time he explains. He goes on to saying: “The earliest hallmark of ARMD is the appearance of protein, lipid and zinc deposits under the retinal pigment epithelial cells, commonly known as drusen”. For those of you that have heard Dr. Kondrot talk about this, you will remember that he often calls this “constipation of the eye”, as an analogy to explaining that there is built up of toxins in the eye. The research article goes on to explaining that the two proteins involved in drusen formation is a “blood protein Factor H and a second protein known as C-reactive protein”. Factor H binds to C-reactive protein (CRP) when CRP is present in high amounts. This is important! C-reactive protein is a protein secreted by the liver in response to an infection or chronic inflammation! During normal processes of aging in the eye, cells die naturally from all sorts of reasons. The blood supply to the eye brings low levels of C-reactive proteins to the site to aid in clearance of dead cells at the retina. However, when there are high levels of inflammation, the level of C-reactive protein in the retina increases dramatically and instead of removing cells that has died from normal aging, the C-reactive protein causes additional retinal cell death. The cell death caused by CRP leads to additional inflammation of the eye and then even more damage to the retina, and so forth. Okemefuna’s team also discovered that some people have a genetically different form of Factor H which doesn’t bind to CRP as well as it should. People with this defect become more vulnerable to an immune system attack in the eye and thus increased risk for ARMD. As far as I know, testing for Factor H is not available yet however testing for CRP is quite easy to do. Your primary care physician should be able to order this through a blood test. By the way, CRP is often used for testing your cardiovascular risk, so it applies to other health situation besides ARMD. Just as a side note before I start discussing the next research, if your doctor finds that you have high levels of CRP, you should consider having nutritional testing done since in addition to toxicity issues, CRP can get elevated if you have deficiencies in nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin D, multiple antioxidants including zinc and selenium and L-carnitine.
The next research that I want to share with you was done by a group from the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) and was published online inInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. The scientists found that a molecule called Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is involved in blinding disease. Since I have a background in Neuroimmunology, I catch that this is related to inflammatory diseases however this may not be so obvious to others. IL-6 is an immunological molecule that has been found to contribute to debilitating joint inflammation such a rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis. It is a potent activator of fever, acute inflammation and interestingly enough it also has an anti-inflammatory ability. Instead of getting too bogged down in the molecular details, I want you to know the following: This molecule that is a known inflammatory marker has now been indicated as the leading cause of blindness in adult patients. Dr. Wenbo Zhang, the assistant research scientist at MCG reports that IL-6 is starting a cascade of inflammation in the eye that increases leakage of the blood vessels and destruction of retinal cells. Dr. Zhang and his colleagues are using mice with diabetic retinopathy for their study. When they blocked the signal of IL-6, they protected the eyes from the destruction caused by this inflammatory molecule. Furthermore, they are showing that retinal cells start dying from reduced blood flow and oxygen to the area. If you have been here on our 3-day program, you know that the microcurrent treatment and ozone autohemotherapy are given to our patients to specifically improve on these areas. For me, it is fun to see the research confirming that the treatments given at Healing the Eye are being validated by the mainstream medical schools. Yeah!
The end of this article discusses the fact that diabetic neuropathy is all about the destruction of blood vessels caused by elevated glucose levels. This is where I can really help the patients. I clearly understand that it is important to regulate destruction of the eye and that’s why medication against IL-6 is being developed. However, if you noticed earlier in this article, IL-6 is also an anti-inflammatory molecule thus I do foresee several possible side effects with medication to block this molecule. As a naturopathic medical doctor, I want to treat the cause of this vision disorder. The cause here is that high levels of glucose is creating inflammation. That means you must regulate your glucose levels and you should also regulate anything else that creates inflammation since this is obviously playing a major role in your vision loss. Let’s say you get the blood sugar under control, but you are full of toxins – that means you will still increase your IL-6 and CRP levels. It is therefore important that you take care of anything that can cause an increase in chronic inflammation, because it is affecting your vision. I hope those of you that are in the program keep up with the cleaner and healthier living, and for those you that are not in the program – get started on decreasing your inflammation today. Your vision depends on it!