AHS13 Shilpi Mehta — Nutrition for the Eyes, Brain and Heart: An Eye Doctor's Perspective


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Ocular health is strongly connected to systemic body health especially in cardiovascular, neuronal, and inflammatory diseases. The eye is the window to the health of the body and inflammation elsewhere can manifest symptoms in the eye. I suggest an anti-inflammatory Paleolithic inspired diet is likely to improve and possibly prevent ocular diseases such as dry eyes, cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, etc. which have inflammatory origins. I will discuss common ocular conditions that have inflammatory causes, an evolutionary perspective on eye diseases, and offer practical recommendations for food and supplements to optimize eye health, which also help the body, especially the heart and brain.

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AHS13 Shilpi Mehta — Nutrition for the Eyes, Brain and Heart: An Eye Doctor's Perspective

  1. 1. Paleo Vision: Seeing and Feeling Better with Proper Nutrition and Lifestyle Dr. Shilpi Bhadra Mehta, BA, MA, OD, Optometrist, Ocular Nutrition Society, Paleo Meetup Boston Organizer
  2. 2. Eye Diseases • Glaucoma • Macular Degeneration • Cataracts • Myopia • Macular Degeneration • Retinopathy
  3. 3. Top Causes of Blindness World- Wide (WHO) • 1) Cataracts 47.9% • 2) Glaucoma 12.3% • 3) Macular Degeneration 8.7% • 4) Corneal Opacities 5.1% • 5) Diabetic Retinopathy 4.8%
  4. 4. Vision Problems Cost USA Billions (Prevent Blindness America) • Refractive Error $16.1 Billion • Cataracts $10.7 Billion • Vision Problems $10.4 Billion • Physical Disorders $8.9 Billion • Retinal Disorders $8.7 Billion • Glaucoma $5.8 Billion
  5. 5. Eye Anatomy
  6. 6. Eye Anatomy
  7. 7. Cardiovascular Disease: DM & HTN
  8. 8. Myopia Risk Factors? • Insufficient sunlight,?Vitamin D • Nearwork/Literate vs. Illiterate/Hunter Gatherers • Insulin, *IGF-1, Elevated Glucose • Genetics Cordain, Thorne
  9. 9. Glaucoma Risks • Lifestyle – Cardiovascular • Inflammation: (NTG), Cardiovascular • Low and High Blood Pressure, Blood Loss • Genetics • Magnesium, Gingko vs. High Calcium,Iron
  10. 10. Cataracts • NSC and Cortical blood sugar, UV • Vitamin C?
  11. 11. A(R) MD –Risk Factors • Control: Diet – Lutein, Zeaxanthin, MPOD (Macular Pigment Optical Density), Fish Gently Cooked, -Smoking, Excess UV, Acid Reducing Drugs, Leaky Gut • Can’t Control: Age, Family History • Dry AMD – cone photoreceptors degenerate, slowly progressing • Wet AMD – macula stops working so fragile blood vessels grow and leak (CNV)
  12. 12. Wet AMD with CNV A – Normal macula B- Early Dry w/ Drusen C – Advanced dry w/ Geographic Atrophy D- Disciform Scar
  13. 13. Cognition • Levels of L & Z in brain and MPOD correlate to global cognitive function in healthy elderly. • Centenarian data correlates with memory retention, verbal fluency, dementia • 4 month study double blind supplement (DHA + lutein) showed improved verbal fluency and memory • MPOD increases with supplementation
  14. 14. Contrast Sensitivity
  15. 15. What to Eat: Ancestral Foods with FAT to increase • 2 egg yolks /day (unless egg allergy) • 1 cup greens/day (collard, kale, spinach, Swiss, chard, mustard greens, turnip greens etc.) with FAT to increase absorption/day • 1 pound oily wild fish with/skin preferably salmon or 3 tins of sardines/wk or lemon- flavored Norwegian Fish Oil/FCLO – about 1- 2g/ day (combined DHA/EPA)
  16. 16. Lutein & Zeaxanthin • Daily Ratio: 10 mg L to 2 mg Z (5:1 ratio) though in nature typically 2:1 • Main Carotenoids found in both mac & lens • L more affinity for rods (peripheral, movement), Z for cones (color, central) • Z is a stereoisomer of Lutein
  17. 17. Top Foods L & Z per 100 g (cup) • Nasturtium (yellow flowers 45 mg) • Kale 22-32 mg (cooked more) • Spinach 10-20 mg (cooked more) • Turnip Greens,Collards, Chard 12-18 mg • *4 Egg Yolks (1 mg) more Bioavailable!
  18. 18. Structures
  19. 19. Factors Affecting Bioavailability • Age, Body Comp, Gender, Malabsorption of Fats, Alcohol, Smoking, Liver or Kidney Disease
  20. 20. Food for Thought • You can spend time and money cooking, and grocery shopping or sitting in waiting rooms of hospitals and doctors’ offices and pharmacies • You can spend money on vitamins/minerals or drugs/surgery • You can spend money on good quality food or spend it on booze, eating out, cable, etc. • You can hike, stretch, walk, lift weights, do some ancestral activities or be in pain
  21. 21. Summary • Eat a variety of real food to optimize nutrition • Take supplements as necessary • Get adequate RElaxation, REst, Sleep, socialization, Sunlight, Testing (RE)2 S3 T) • Seek help with a functional medicine practitioner if Dr. Google doesn’t help
  22. 22. Thanks • Amit Mehta • Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Chris Kresser, Gary Taubes, Dr. Attia, Jaminets, Dave Asprey, Dr. Deans, Dr. Eenfeldt, Tom Naughton, Dr. Cate Shanahan, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, Nora Gedgaudas, Dr. Colin Champ, Diane Sanfillipo, Liz Wolfe, Diana Rodgers, Kurt and Michelle & Kurt Norris, Chris Masterjohn, Denise Minger, Dr. Ede, Jimmy Moore, John Durant • Jay Jasanoff (Harvard)