Eating healthily is good for your health as we all should know. Food knowledge is power and what you put on your plate can have a huge impact on your life, whether it’s helping to boost energy, improve your mood or help reduce the risk for a variety of conditions including diabetes, cancer and heart disease, as previously mentioned. Here Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola.com, reflects on ways to reduce the risk of macular degeneration disease:
“An intriguing presentation about the possible link between age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and processed food consumption literally caught my eye. As presented in the featured video, ophthalmologist Dr. Chris Knobbe, founder and president of the Cure AMD Foundation, suggests the common assertion macular degeneration is caused by aging or genetics is a mistaken one.
Given the reality macular degeneration has gone from being an extremely rare disorder more than a century ago to one that is found at increasingly alarming rates in developed countries around the world, Knobbe points to higher intakes of processed food — not aging or genetics — as the root cause.
He presented his research findings at the 2018 Ancestral Health Symposium, held in Bozeman, Montana. Knobbe asserts the same people known to consume the most processed food not only develop AMD, but are also more likely to be affected by cancer, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and stroke.
What Is Macular Degeneration?
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According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO),1 macular degeneration results when the part of your retina called the macula becomes damaged, causing you to lose your central vision. If you have AMD, you cannot see fine details whether close or far, but your peripheral (side) vision remains normal.
The BrightFocus Foundation defines AMD as “an irreversible destruction of the macula, which leads to loss of the sharp, fine-detail, ‘straight ahead’ vision required for activities like reading, driving, recognizing faces and seeing the world in color.”2
Knobbe notes your macula measures 6 millimeters (mm), or about one-fourth of an inch, across and accounts for the central 10 degrees of your vision. “Arguably, this is the most important 6 mm in our bodies,” he asserts.3 About macular degeneration, the AAO says:4
- It is a leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years and older
- About 80 percent of people with AMD have the dry form, which is characterized by the thinning of parts of your macula, as well as the growth of tiny clumps of protein called drusen, which causes you to slowly lose your central vision
- Wet AMD is a less common but more serious form of vision loss because it causes new, abnormal blood vessels to grow under your retina, which may leak blood or other fluids that cause scarring of your macula
- Wet AMD accelerates vision loss more quickly than dry AMD
- Blurry vision may be the first sign of macular degeneration; regular visits to an ophthalmologist can help you identify early warning signs of the disease
Who Is Affected by Macular Degeneration?
Image courtesy of: Neil. Moralee
AMD is no respecter of persons. A couple of well-known sufferers of the disease are legendary British actress Dame Judi Dench,5 83, and American actress and comedian Roseanne Barr,6 66, both of whom have spoken publicly of their vision problems.
Sadly, Dench and Barr are not outliers; they’re just two of the estimated millions of people worldwide affected by this potentially devastating disease. According to Knobbe and experts at the BrightFocus Foundation, AMD is:7,8
- The leading cause of irreversible vision loss in people over the age of 65 who live in developed countries
- A leading cause of irreversible blindness and visual impairment worldwide — the number of people living with AMD is expected to reach 196 million worldwide by 2020 and increase to 288 million by 2040
- Known to affect as many as 11 million people in the U.S., this number is expected to double by 2050
Though Knobbe disagrees, the link between aging and macular degeneration is based on statistics suggesting your risk of contracting the disease increases from 2 percent for people ages 50 to 59 to nearly 30 percent for those age 75 or older.9
The Causes of Macular Degeneration
Image courtesy of: Lynne Hand
Traditional ophthalmology associates AMD to aging, hence the name “age-related macular degeneration,” and more recently has also suggested genetics may be a contributing factor. The AAO claims you are also more likely to develop AMD if you are:10
Age 50 or older
Eating a diet high in unhealthy fats
Known to have a family history of AMD
In contrast to conventional wisdom, Knobbe, as discussed in the featured video, believes man-made, processed foods are the primary culprit, although he leaves room for a possible genetic link, too.
His beliefs, which were sustained through a combination of investigative journalism, interviews and research, culminated in the 2016 publication of his book “Cure AMD — Ancestral Dietary Strategy to Prevent & Reverse Macular Degeneration.”
In addition, a summary of Knobbe’s work was published in the journal Medical Hypotheses in 2017.11 While the lifetime risk of contracting AMD was about zero in 1900, he says, by 1992, it was believed to affect 1 in 3 people over the age of 75.
Today, he claims 20,000 new cases of AMD are diagnosed worldwide every day. Based on his research, Knobbe states, “I believe, 100 percent, that this disease is caused by diet and diet alone. Now, no question, genetics play a role, but environment pulls the trigger. That ‘environment’ is our diet.”
Processed Foods Implicated for Skyrocketing Rates of Macular Degeneration
Image courtesy of: USDAgov
Based on his research, Knobbe asserts the key to addressing the skyrocketing rates of AMD must focus on decreasing our intake of processed foods and returning to a so-called ancestral diet. This, he notes, may be our best means of preventing, and possibly treating, the disease.
Image courtesy of: Tim Ertl
Knobbe defines an ancestral diet as any eating program that existed on the planet prior to 1880, when the first processed foods — namely, refined white flour and polyunsaturated vegetable oils — were made available. Trans fats, he notes, were first introduced in 1911.
After noting the Western diet has more than 600,000 food items you can put on your plate today, Knobbe said, “When we break this down, what we know is 63 percent of these food items are made up of those refined, processed, nutrient-deficient foods in the form of added sugars, refined white flour, polyunsaturated vegetable oils and trans fats.”
He calls the dependence on processed foods “the recipe for metabolic disaster and physical degeneration.” Drawing from the work of the late Weston A. Price,12 Knobbe calls out the following problematic categories of processed food, which Price referred to as the “displacing foods of modern commerce”:
Macular Degeneration: Another Disease of Western Civilization?
Given the increased use of these so-called modern foods during the past 140 years, Knobbe says it is no surprise higher intakes of them have been linked to what he calls “diseases of Western civilization.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2018/12/15/is-macular-degeneration-preventable.aspx
Photo By National Institutes of Health (NIH)
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