Daily Archives: March 15, 2019

Beneficial Eye Nutrients

Eye NutrientsJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

If you’ve reached the fourth decade of life, you may have begun to notice vision changes or may have experienced other eye-related issues largely associated with growing older. Just as aging results in changes within the body, failing eyesight and a decline in eye health and function is not uncommon. Risks for developing eye and vision problems include smoking, a family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration, chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as certain medications, visually demanding work and hazardous occupations. Common vision changes, such as presbyopia, changes in color perception, reduced tear production and a greater need for brighter light, are considered normal. However, vision loss, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are not.

Presbyopia, a reduced ability to focus, can be corrected with eye glasses or contacts, and a need for additional lighting for reading or close up work can be easily accommodated. Impaired tear production, known as dry eye syndrome, often results in uncomfortable symptoms of dryness, irritation, grittiness, burning, excessive tear production and potential vision loss. Proper hydration, whole food nutrition including fresh fruits, colorful vegetables, moderate amounts of fatty fish, and a daily intake of key nutrients can help to alleviate symptoms of dry eyes and decrease the risk of developing other eye conditions.

In surveys baby boomers choose vision as the most important of all five senses, although surprisingly many appeared unaware that key nutrients play a critical role in eye health and maintenance. Inflammation and reactive oxygen species, or free radicals that can damage DNA, RNA, proteins and other molecules within a cell, are often implicated in the etiology, or cause of disease. Diseases of the eyes are no exception. Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is evidence that dietary antioxidants and anti-inflammatories may provide benefit in decreasing the risk of age-related eye disease. Nutrients such as antioxidant vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA all play key roles in eye health. National surveys have found that intake of these key nutrients from dietary sources falls below recommended guidelines.

  • Known as a highly effective antioxidant, vitamin C protects the body’s essential molecules, such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, DNA and RNA from free radical damage. Free radicals are generated through normal metabolism, as well as toxin exposure from pollutants and cigarette smoke. The eyes, in particular, have a high metabolic rate and therefore an added need for antioxidant protection.
  • Actually a family of eight fat-soluble antioxidants, vitamin E is an integral part of all cell membranes that are highly vulnerable to destruction by free radicals. As the retina is highly concentrated in fatty acids, vitamin E has beneficial effects on ocular health through its ability to neutralize free radicals. As well, vitamin E has been shown to improve blood vessel dilation, which helps to decease blood pressure.
  • Zinc is an essential component of many enzymes necessary for optimal eye metabolism. Zinc plays important roles in the structure of proteins and cell membranes, provides antioxidant protection, supports immune function and may also be involved in the formation of visual eye pigments in the retina. Although primarily a symptom of vitamin A deficiency, zinc insufficiency may also result in night blindness.
  • Commonly found in orange colored fruits and vegetables, beta-carotene is the primary dietary source of provitamin A. Research and clinical studies have shown that beta-carotene plays a role in age-related eye disease prevention. Vitamin A deficiency is one of the most common causes of blindness worldwide. Insufficiency can also lead to night blindness and dry eye syndrome. Dietary sources of vitamin A are found in animal-derived foods as well as plant-based carotenoids that the body converts into vitamin A.
  • Unlike beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that do not have vitamin A activity. Of several dozen carotenoids found in blood and tissues, only lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the lens and the macula, the central region of the retina. In addition to their antioxidant role, these macular pigments limit retinal oxidative damage by absorbing incoming blue light. Sufficient intake of lutein and zeaxanthin is associated with decreased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids have a number of actions relating to neuroprotective effects in the retina. DHA is found in high concentrations the eye where it may help to slow degeneration of the macula, the most common form of vision loss in older persons.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality nutritional supplements for healthy eye support:

Clinical Nutrients...Clinical Nutrients™ Eye Formula by Integrative Therapeutics®: This professional formulation is designed to provide specific nutritional support for proper eye function. Ingredients include vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, lutein, turmeric and bilberry. Free of sugar, salt, wheat, gluten, yeast, dairy and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

VisionPro NutrientsVisionPro Nutrients® by Pure Encapsulations®: This comprehensive, hypoallergenic multivitamin, mineral and polyphenol formulation provides nutritional support for eye integrity, normal tear production and healthy vision maintenance. Other ingredients include an eye protect complex and a macular synergy complex with lutein and zeaxanthin.

BioTearsBioTears® by BioSyntrx®: This popular product provides nutritional support for normal tear film formation. BioTears® synergistic tear-specific formula includes nutrient cofactors that support the structure, function and production of eye lubricants. Ingredients include vitamins A, C, D and E, turmeric, black currant seed oil, EPA and DHA.

References:
Nutrients for the aging eye. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693724/
8 Nutrients That Will Optimize Your Eye Health. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-nutrients-for-eyes
Omega-3 for your eyes. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/omega-3-for-your-eyes
Top 10 foods for healthy eyes. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321226.php

To Maintain Health, Protect the Gut Barrier

Protect your GutJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

It’s hard to believe that the intestinal epithelium, the largest and most important barrier between our internal and external environments, consists of a single layer of cells connected by cell-to-cell junctions that seal the intercellular space. This highly regulated and selectively permeable barrier permits the absorption of essential nutrients, electrolytes and water, and effectively defends against toxins, foreign antigens and microorganisms. As well, it maintains tissue integrity, and receives and transmits signals that affect cell behavior. Constantly challenged by the gut microbiome, the gut barrier is crucial to maintaining tissue homeostasis. For a variety of reasons, this physical barrier can become compromised. Intestinal permeability, wherein the naturally tight cellular junctions don’t function properly, allows substances not normally released to cross over into the blood stream.

Like other health syndromes, the debate continues as to whether this gastrointestinal disorder, sometimes referred to as ‘leaky gut’, is responsible for poor health. Increasingly, the association between disrupted barrier function and the development of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases has been recognized by the alternative and natural health community. The medical community at large insists there is not enough research to support the theory that leaky gut wreaks havoc within the body, which may result in a range of symptoms from fatigue, joint pain, skin problems, sleep disorders, irritability, food sensitivities and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Yet, other practitioners who diagnose leaky gut syndrome claim that a lack of adequate studies does not mean it does not exist.

Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), intestinal permeability is regulated by multiple factors including exogenous factors, such as pathogens, epithelial apoptosis (programmed cell death), immune cytokines and immune cells. Immune-induced intestinal barrier dysfunction is thought to be critical in the predisposition and exacerbation of many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions including IBD, food allergy, celiac disease and diabetes. As well, chronic alcohol consumption has been shown to be associated with increased intestinal permeability, as well as inhibition of vitamin and nutrient transport and a reduction in sodium and water absorption. While not fully understood, evidence suggests the mechanism underlying alcohol-induced barrier dysfunction is related to the influx of inflammatory cells, as well as the release of various mediators, including cytokines, reactive oxygen species, leukotrienes and histamine.

Psychological and physical stress can induce a number of changes in normal gastrointestinal function that affect gut motility, permeability, mucous secretion and absorption, resulting in stress induced changes in intestinal barrier function. Long-term chronic stress is associated with an increased risk or worsening of ulcerative colitis and the exacerbation of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as well as functional gastrointestinal disorders. Increased permeability induced by stress is believed to play an important role in disease progression and relapse.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are associated with a high incidence of gastrointestinal side effects. Substantial evidence indicates that chronic use can alter intestinal barrier function, causing significant damage including ulcers, perforation, hemorrhage and exacerbation of IBD. It has become evident that acute and chronic ingestion of NSAIDs by healthy persons promotes altered intestinal barrier dysfunction.

In summation, dysregulation of the intestinal barrier has been associated with chronic immune and inflammatory diseases. High blood sugar, common in those with diabetes, obesity and other metabolic syndromes, disrupts the intestinal barrier leading to intestinal inflammation and systemic infection complications. Food allergies, pathogens, toxins, and bacteria, such as E. coli that causes food poisoning, can all alter intestinal barrier function. Whether the role of intestinal epithelial barrier function remains a factor in the predisposition for disease development, or disease results in barrier dysfunction, remains elusive. However, clinical and experimental evidence supports the role of intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction in disease pathogenesis.

It’s clear that a vital indicator of gut health is the degree of intestinal permeability. Intestinal health is paramount for achieving and maintaining overall health and wellness, as nearly 80 percent of the immune system is housed in the gut. Immune health impacts inflammatory markers, a root indicator of chronic disease. The intestinal wall villi could be considered ground zero for inflammation and oxidative stress. Maintaining the epithelial barrier is crucial for decreasing permeability and reducing risks of associated health conditions.

Well studied L-glutamine is a unique amino acid that provides an energy source for immune cells, as well as nutrition for villi health. Clinical studies have found that L-glutamine may reduce intestinal mucosal permeability, contribute to intestinal barrier maintenance and modulate immune cells, enhancing intestinal immune function. L-glutamine is thought to improve mucosal repair and address restoration of barrier function, helping to maintain the integrity of the gut and addressing a foundational cause of many health conditions.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality products in support of a  healthy intestinal barrier:

L-Glutamine PowderL-Glutamine Powder by Designs for Health®: This powdered supplement provides 3 g of L-glutamine per serving in support of the immune and digestive tract health. L-glutamine supports the healthy function  of intestinal mucosal cells for normal healing and repair. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

Comprehensive Gut...Comprehensive Gut Health by Pioneer®: This professional product is formulated to provide nutritive support for gastrointestinal health. Specific ingredients support and soothe the intestinal lining and mucous membranes to protect the gut barrier. Verified gluten free. No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

L-Glutamine 1,000 mgL-Glutamine 1,000 mg by Pure Encapsulations®: This hypoallergenic formulation provides 1,000 mg of free-form G-glutamine per serving in support of the mucosal lining and a healthy functioning gastrointestinal tract. Gluten free, Non-GMO vegan formulation.

Restore Gut Health...Restore Gut Health Mineral Supplement by Restore®: This premier liquid formulation is designed for complete wellbeing of the immune system and intestinal tract. Specific ingredients help to balance gut health by combatting environmental exposures and creating a healthy microbiome for good bacteria to grow and flourish. Naturally gluten free, BPA free, non-toxic formulation.

Leaky Gut WellnessLeaky Gut Wellness by Bio Nutrition: Leaky Gut Wellness is formulated to provide bowel, gastrointestinal and digestive stress support. Specific ingredients support the maintenance of a healthy mucosal barrier and aid nutrient absorption for overall wellness. Free of gluten, yeast, corn, sugar, starch, salt, milk, preservatives and artificial ingredients.

Stress SuppressStress Suppress by Diamond Formulations: Stress Suppress provides specific ingredients known to support healthy levels of calming neurotransmitters that enhance the body’s ability to cope with stress, elevate mood and support relaxation. Stress Suppress aids the body in returning to homeostasis by encouraging balanced stress and inflammatory responses, providing nutrients to improve symptoms of stress and supporting a general sense of wellbeing. Free of wheat, yeast, soy, gluten, animal or dairy products, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and artificial colors, artificial sweeteners and artificial preservatives. Non-GMO kosher formulation.

References:
Intestinal Barrier Function: Molecular Regulation and Disease Pathogenesis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4266989/
Apoptosis in the intestinal epithelium: its relevance in normal and pathophysiological conditions. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10735533
Intestinal barriers protect against disease. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1097