Macular Degeneration Possibly Managed with a Low Glycemic Diet

Macular Degeneration Possibly Managed with a Low Glycemic Diet

Everyday scientific reports are showing how a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle inevitably has the potential lead to disease and an early grave. Maybe it’s the convenience of modern society that has finally taken its toll as the US alone remains challenged by a teetering obesity, diabetes and heart disease epidemic simply as a result of poor life management.

Possibly one of the fallouts of generations failing to heed the dietary and exercise advice of corroborated science is age related macular degeneration (AMD) a top cause of blindness across the globe. Now, a new study shows how regularly maintaining your blood sugar by implementing a low glycemic diet might help prevent or manage AMD.

Understanding the Glycemic Index

When you hear the word glycemic (gly-see-mik), unless you are one of the 29.1 million people suffering from diabetes, it may not be a word that resonates much. Well, it should.

Introduced in 1981 by David J.A. Jenkins a British-born University Professor in the department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, Canada, the glycemic index was a way to determine what foods caused a rapid spike or slow rise in blood glucose.

When your blood glucose rises this is a signal for your brain to create more insulin, the hormone that allows glucose to travel from your blood directly into your cells. Once this process occurs your cells quickly begin to store fat for energy, however if you do not burn this energy the fat remains which results in a weight gain cycle.

The more high glycemic foods you consume such as processed foods, sugars, and fats the more chances you will create energy spikes with a hard fatigue crash; weight gain; and throw your system into such imbalance all sorts of diseases can occur including, according to a recent study, macular degeneration.

Read Now:>>Michigan Medial Doctor Creates Leading Vision Vitamin After Diagnosed With Macular Degeneration

Identifying AMD Biomarkers through Dietary Influence

Working with mouse models, researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University we’re recently able to determine that a high glycemic diet accelerated various AMD biomarkers.

Using mice divided into two groups, the study was conducted for six months (in the mouse world this is equivalent to 34 human years) and the results were significant enough to warrant another high glycemic diet warning. The work revolved around one mouse group receiving a high glycemic diet and the other a low glycemic diet by feeding carbohydrates amylopectin and amylose, two different starches. The high glycemic group only received amylopectin (the chemical that spikes glucose) while the low glycemic group received a combination of 70 percent amylose (a slower glucose releaser) along with 30 percent amylopectin.

The results showed identification of various biomarkers that represent AMD features. Biomarkers can sometimes predict who will get a disease and possibly how long it may take.

The biomarkers in this study include:

  • Low C3-carnitine, also known as propionylcarnitine, which when high help control fatty acid metabolism
  • Serotonin levels, produced in the intestines as a response to gut microbiome signals
  • Oxidization of long-chain polyunsaturated fats which can degrade fats in cell membranes leading to irreversible cell damage
  • Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which are formed when sugar metabolites react with proteins

It is when medical professionals on the front line of macular degeneration offer their opinion in response to a successful study that we should take notice. Senior author Allen Taylor, Ph.D., senior scientist and director of the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University commented on the study,

“Currently, there are no early biomarkers to anticipate the disease. Our findings show an interaction between dietary carbohydrates, the gut microbiome, specific biochemical molecules, and AMD features. This work should lead to new approaches to understand, diagnose and treat early AMD — perhaps before it affects vision. Already anticipated by our human epidemiologic studies, the findings imply that we can develop dietary interventions aimed at preventing the progression of AMD, a disease which impacts millions and costs billions worldwide.”

Inside the Research

Recent research shows a link between a high glycemic diet and specific loss of function by certain cells located in the back of the eye. This loss of function is called retinal pigmented epithelial atrophy (RPE) and has also been detected in the cells that capture light, called photoreceptors. Researchers show how a high glycemic diet directly results in creating precursors to dry macular degeneration in mouse models.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS – 4/20/17), the study by researchers at Tufts describes how, “the findings suggest that changes in metabolism associated with the different glycemic diets, AGEs accumulation, production and oxidation of fats, and C3-carnitine and serotonin levels are related to development of AMD features.” (as reported by Science Daily)

Part of the study was switching the high glycemic diet mice to a low glycemic diet. Lead author Sheldon Rowan, Ph.D., also a scientist in the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research at Tufts, commented,

“We were genuinely surprised that the retinas from mice whose diets were switched from high- to low-glycemic index diets midway through the study were indistinguishable from those fed low-glycemic index diet throughout the study. We hadn’t anticipated that dietary change might repair the accumulated damage in the RPE so effectively. Our experimental results suggest that switching from a high-glycemic diet to a low-glycemic one is beneficial to eye health in people that are heading towards developing AMD.”

As the research continues the current results are yet another example of why eating refined, processed foods goes against so many human functions. The more high glycemic choices such as white bread, white potatoes, trans fatty acids like cakes and cookies as well as a long list of packaged products, the more chances are you may unnecessarily suffer.

Make a commitment to avoid or manage macular degeneration by sticking to a low glycemic diet that includes whole grains, legumes, plant based meals, fruits and vegetables as well as more clean water rather than packaged beverages. It is another easy way to turn up your health dial so your body can remain at optimal performance, especially when it comes to your vision.

Read Now:>>Michigan Medial Doctor Creates Leading Vision Vitamin After Diagnosed With Macular Degeneration



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