New Study: Avoid Macular Degeneration with a Healthy Gut

New Study: Avoid Macular Degeneration with a Healthy Gut

Maintaining a healthy immune system entails subscribing to a sensible diet and regimented exercise program. However, many studies point to a third factor most have not considered, until now. It is the delicate microorganism balance in your gut. This is where most of your immune system resides and when it is out of balance disease can occur. Science has always known that the importance of keeping your gut community in perfect balance is essential to your digestive health but now researchers are discovering other systemic benefits.

A new study suggests that an unhealthy gut could be one of the factors which leads to or exasperates age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a major cause of blindness in people over 50.

Maybe you can start making better choices to support your digestive tract health which, it turns out, may help your vision at the same time.

Pro-Active Biotics

Probiotics is a constant buzz word when it comes to better health. Some know how it might be found in yogurt as naturally occurring live cultures but few understand the mechanics of the whole process.

WebMD describes probiotics and how they are used by the body,

“Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy. Probiotics are naturally found in your body. You can also find them in some foods and supplements.”

You can help replace good bacteria that has been compromised and taken over by bad bacteria. One example of this is after finishing antibiotics which are designed to kill everything and, as a result, your body has a harder time getting back into balance.

Microbes and AMD

As researchers continue to study microbe colony forming units (CFU) and the effect they have on the whole system, not just the digestive tract, more benefits are emerging. Research published in Clinical Nutrition studied the effects of probiotics on multiple sclerosis; it was concluded that,

“Our study demonstrated that the use of probiotic capsule for 12 weeks among subjects with MS [multiple sclerosis] had favorable effects on EDSS [expanded disability status scale], parameters of mental health, inflammatory factors, markers of insulin resistance, HDL-, total-/HDL-cholesterol and MDA [malondialdehyde] levels.”

Now, current reports are showing the significant effects of keeping your gut healthy through a pre-biotic diet and/or probiotic supplements for AMD. According to recent research from the University of Montreal, professor and lead researcher Dr. Przemyslaw Sapieha comments,

“Our study suggests that diets rich in fat alter the gut microbiome in a way that aggravates wet AMD, a vascular disease of the aging eye,…Influencing the types of microbes that reside in your gut either through diet or by other means may thus affect the chances of developing AMD and progression of this blinding disease,”

This is one study of many to come but the markers for optimal gut health point in the right direction when assisting the prevention or deceleration of diseases like MS and AMD.

Choose It, Use It, and See

Nothing is a sure thing but if you can add something natural that will do your body good it seems like a no brainer.

Obtaining a probiotic supplement is easy as they are sold in health food stores and many chain pharmacies. It is best to choose one with the highest CFU count which, believe it or not, are listed in the billions.

In addition, some probiotics can be found in the refrigerated section as these are the most potent. However, non-refrigerated formulas are better than nothing. Cost is anywhere between ten and thirty dollars per bottle and it is best to take a probiotic supplement with warm water on an empty stomach unless it is enteric coated which enables it to make it through digestion in the stomach.

Check with your doctor before adding probiotics to your supplement regiment especially if you are challenged by any immune weakening condition and/or you are on medication.


There are several foods that are considered prebiotics meaning that they encourage your body to produce good bacteria in your gut. Prevention magazine reports on these prebiotics you can add to your diet to assist in staving off AMD and other potential health issues.

  • Almonds
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Burdock root
  • Cereal grains (whole wheat, barley, rye)
  • Chicory root
  • Endive
  • Garlic
  • Greens (especially dandelion greens)
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Jicama
  • Kiwi
  • Leeks
  • Legumes
  • Mushrooms
  • Oats
  • Onions

Some foods are actual probiotic friendly and these, also reported by Prevention, are:

  • Fermented vegetables (kimchi, sauerkraut, carrots, green beans, beets, pickles, Greek olives)
  • Fermented soybeans (miso, natto, tempeh)
  • Cultured dairy products (buttermilk, yogurt, kefir, cheese)
  • Cultured nondairy products (yogurts and kefirs made from organic soy, coconut, etc.)
  • Fermented grains and beans (lacto-fermented lentils, chickpea, miso, etc.)
  • Fermented beverages (kefirs and kombuchas)
  • Fermented condiments (raw apple cider vinegar)

Get more good bacteria so you at least have a fighting chance at avoiding age-related macular degeneration. It’s an easy addition for a high yield, long term return.