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Cataracts Natural Treatment Remedy

By Dr. Jonathan V. Wright

"Mainstream"' medical treatment for cataract is doing nothing until the cataract is "ready" and then removing it surgically, usually replacing the lens of the eye with an artificial one.

If you have cataract you needn't just wait until it's time for surgery. Especially if it's an early cataract, it's often possible to slow it down or even stop it. One research study shows that cataract may even be reversible.

As is often the case in nutritional medicine and health care, the same nutrients that can slow or stop cataract are the ones -which can help prevent it in the first place! If you have cataract in your family, or are at higher risk because of diabetes or other health problems, you might consider using some of these diet changes and nutritional supplements.

Galactose, a sugar found in cow milk and unfermented dairy products, has been implicated in the development of some cataracts. If you have cataract or are at risk, it's probably wisest to avoid galactose.

If you have diabetes yourself, or if it's in your family, eliminating or reducing refined sugar and refined carbohydrates is also best, both for preventing possible cataract, and slowing or stopping it, if it's already present.

One research study has shown that an herbal, bilberry (European blueberry) can help to reverse cataract in some cases. Although it's too early to say how many of us bilberry will help, it can't hurt to try. I usually recommend 80 milligrams of a standardized extract (25%), twice daily. Like most herbal remedies, it can take months to tell if it's making any difference.

All of the individual nutrients useful in the prevention and treatment of cataracts are classified as "antioxidants", substances capable of slowing or stopping "oxidative damage" to the cells of our bodies. There are so many antioxidants that might be useful that many people I know prefer to find a "multiple" supplement, rather than using them individually. However, I'll list them individually next. If you select a multiple, try to find one that matches or comes close to these individual quantities.

The ones I usually recommend at present as most useful in treatment start with vitamin C, 1000 milligrams two or three times daily.

Vitamin E is next on the list, 400 to 800 units daily. A few people think their blood pressure has gone up when they've taken extra vitamin E. It's certainly easy to keep track.

Riboflavin, vitamin B2, isn't known for having many specific uses, but cataract prevention and treatment appears to be one. 25 to 50 milligrams daily is a good range.

Vitamin A and beta-carotene are both useful for cataract prevention and treatment: Vitamin A, 25,000 units daily and beta-carotene, 50,000 units daily.

The antioxidant minerals I recommend include selenium, 200 micrograms daily and zinc. Selenium works with a very important enzyme in the lens of the eye that protects against oxidative damage.

I usually end zinc picolinate 30 milligrams daily and sometimes more, but only after checking zinccopper balance. It's wisest not to use greater quantities of zinc without checking this balance with a doctor knowledgeable and skilled in nutritional therapy.

Quercitin is a flavonoid and an antioxidant. For diabetics and likely in those at risk for diabetes, quercitin has been shown to slow the activity of an enzyme that leads directly to cataract formation! I recommend 500 milligram, two or three times daily, especially in diabetics and pre-diabetics. For "preventive" purposes, smaller quantities are usually adequate.

Remember, if you don't want to take all of these nutrients, individually, there are several "multiple antioxidant" formulas combining them and usually several more, available in almost all natural food stores.

The individual nutrients, or the "antioxidant multiple", should be used along with a general multiple vitamin-mineral combination.

Because of differences in age, sex, metabolism or potential allergy, these diet and supplement therapies may not be suitable for you. Consult a health care professional skilled in nutritional and natural therapies. To locate one near you, you might call the American College of Advancement in Medicine at 800-532-3688 or the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at 206-323-7610.

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