Dealing With Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the U.S.(and probably around the world)–with numbers expected to at least double by 2050–is mostly a man-made disaster. Once rare, it started its rampage to the top of the charts in the 1970s.

You lose your vision because your macula, the part of the retina that controls the vision center, “clouds over.” The cloud gets denser, sometimes quickly, and dims your vision. Eventually, you completely lose your central vision, then all vision.

Medicine may offer ineffective treatments, but it has no cure.

However, our always optimistic bodies never give up on us. If we’re willing to change up some stuff and give our bodies what they need, they eagerly respond. Perhaps not as quickly as we’d like (say, in the next minute or so), but progressively.

Now, a single article can’t cover all the moving parts of macular degeneration, especially since it never arrives alone. Achy joints, for one instance, are often related.

But I can–and will–tell you some really good things you can do for macular degeneration.

First, I’ll tell you things you need to avoid, which is where the work of changing how we eat comes in.

Then, I’ll cover some nutritional things you need to do, including what can heal the macula.

But don’t ignore the changes you need to make and skip to the end of the article for the “good stuff.” It doesn’t work that way.

What causes macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is caused by rust. In the body, it’s referred to as oxidation, but it’s rust, and you know what rust can do to perfectly usable tools. Same thing in the body.

Just living and breathing causes oxidation, but then we unintentionally double down. We follow the oxidizing dietary advice of dieticians, magazines, etc. I mean, who knew?

Nutritional supplements, if we take them at all, are hit-and-miss. We don’t take time to know what our bodies actually need and at what dosages. Well, nobody (except me) says anything about that, so how are we to know?

Then we’re told macular degeneration just happens, for reasons unknown, and that’s too bad, but that’s life. Well, no.

Things we do that invite macular degeneration to move in
• We take aspirin. And probably other pain killers, but the research is about aspirin.
• We smoke
• The big Kahuna of oxidation is diet, specifically Omega 6 fats. These are the vegetable oils we’re told are so healthy–the oils found in fast food, prepared foods, frozen foods, margarine, grocery-store meat, etc. Oxidation is the leading cause of most disease.

What our bodies need is Omega 3 saturated fat. Yes, the dreaded saturated fat; sat fat is where it’s at. It’s found in 100% grass-fed beef, butter from grass-fed cows, coconut oil, wild-caught fish and the like. And, no, it doesn’t make you fat or raise cholesterol.

Getting plenty o’ saturated fat makes your body sing. Your brain will work better; your thyroid, adrenals, and other endocrine organs will get their mojo on; and your liver will boogy down with glee. (Now, there’s a picture.)

So stop feeding the oxidation flames and start giving your body some love. Getting rid of omega 6 fats will take some label-reading. In fact, it’ll take a lot of label-reading until you get onto it. Relearning to cook will take effort, too.

This is the hard part of getting your sight back. Worth it? I think so.

How to reverse macular degeneration
• For best health results, we need a solid vitamin/mineral program customized to our body’s specific needs.

Well, different bodies and different health situations require different vitamin/mineral plans, which take a while to understand and implement. (That’s what my vitamin/mineral book, Pep for the Pooped and my Moving to Health program describe in detail.)

But everybody needs vitamin C, nutrition’s premier workhorse. So, let’s talk about C.

There’s no end to vitamin C’s abilities, but a little dab won’t do much of anything, and too big a dab will give you diarrhea. You’ll want to get it just right.

The body doesn’t react all that well to surprises. I mean, it tries, but an unexpected avalanche of vitamin C down the gullet puts it in “Out! Out!” mode, hence the diarrhea.

So you start slowly, give your body a chance to acclimate to the good news, then keep stepping it up until your body has enough. How will you know? Your body provides a hint of diarrhea to let you know. Considerate, eh? Just back off the previous dose.

Actually, macular degeneration means your body desperately needs help, and it will welcome the C with gratitude. Even a lot of C. But going slowly removes the drama.

To start, take 500mg of C with breakfast for a week or so. If all’s well, add 500mg at lunch. Wait a few days, then add 500mg at dinner.

If your body’s still slurping up all the C it gets, switch to 1000mg per meal (one meal at a time). It’s a matter of listening to your very wise body.

This “schedule” is about avoiding diarrhea. Those of you who don’t mind the possibility of diarrhea can speed it up.

In case you’re wondering about these “massive” doses, many people who teach about health see 9000mg as a normal daily dose for a healthy body. More would be required, of course, when a health problem rears its ugly head.

What type of C to take is the subject of fierce arguments, but the research is done with plain, ascorbic acid, so that’s what I take. Two reasons: Most of the kerfuffle about C is actually about money, plus the simpler the ingredient list, the easier to track results.

TwinLab offers C-500 Capsules and C-1000 Capsules. TwinLab products are good and widely available.

• The herb bilberry has been around, doing great things, for thousands of years. (I write about its wonders in the herb book that’s part of my Moving to Health program.)

One bilberry specialty is dealing with eye problems, including macular degeneration. We don’t have a lot of studies on bilberry, but we do have thousands of years of history, and the news is good.

I write about a case of macular degeneration in my herb book. An opthomologist told his patient, a 78-year-old woman, that 47% of her vision was blocked, and there was no treatment. She and her husband decided to fight back, found out about bilberry and started in. A year later, back at the doctor’s office, her vision tested as only 27% blocked.

When she died at 82, she was completely macular-degeneration free.

Bilberry has no known side effects or toxicity level, so it’s very safe. As usual, start slowly and build; again, you don’t want to surprise your body with too much good news at a time.

Never start two supplements at the same time; it surprises your body. It doesn’t matter whether you start C or bilberry first, just allow time for your body to acclimate before you start the other.

Take bilberry with food for better absorption. Let your body tell you when enough is enough.

Finding a good bilberry takes some doing, so here’s the link from my herb book, You’ll need to build up to at least three capsules daily.

If you can’t buy online, read all the label information, then find the equivalent in a store near you.

Our bodies are waaay too complicated for one article to be the whole story, but this information about what to do and what to avoid will make a big difference in your health.

God is good,
Bette Dowdell

About the author: Bette Dowdell defines determination. A drunk driver caused a concussion, which put her into a really deep health ditch, when she was a baby. Her endocrine system, the thyroid and the rest of the gang, which controls all of health, dragged along, out of balance and out of sorts, but doctors didn’t help. So, she got her Oh-Yeah! attitude in gear and researched her way out. Along the way, her fascination with how our bodies work grew, and grew, and grew, so Bette’s still researching. Subscribe to her free health e-mails at

The content of the Too Pooped To Participate blog is provided as general information only.

© by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved

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