If you're on Facebook and not paying attention to the Advanced Bionutritionals page, you're missing out on some great health tips. It's also a great way to send us questions. For instance, Beverly recently asked: "My daughter has been diagnosed with drusen. Doctors don't know much about it. Do you know of anything that will help? She will be 40 at Christmas."
Thanks for the question Beverly. Drusen are like biological trash in your eye. They're tiny yellow or white deposits under your retina. They typically build up between the Bruch's membrane and the retinal pigment epithelium of the eye.
Drusen is normal in small amounts, especially in people over age 40. However, as the number of drusen and their size goes up, it makes your eyes more susceptible to age-related macular degeneration. So consider your daughter fortunate, in that she found the accumulation before it progressed to macular degeneration.
I tend to think of drusen much like the plaque that forms in the brain of Alzheimer's patients. While they're a little different, there's growing evidence that macular degeneration and glaucoma are similar diseases to Alzheimer's. They just have different outcomes. In fact, much of the research data suggest that the diseases share a common pathogenic mechanism. (This could be due to abnormalities in the metabolism of cholesterol, but that's another article).
This makes sense considering the eye is simply an extension of the brain. This connection is really good news. In Tuesday's Nutrient Insider, I showed you how melatonin has shown tremendous promise in reversing the damage of macular degeneration. Well, another study found that melatonin may work directly on this pathogenic mechanism that causes both macular degeneration and Alzheimer's.
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The study looked at numerous other studies on macular degeneration, Alzheimer's, and melatonin use. The researchers found that melatonin works directly on your mitochondria, and helps keep your eye and brain cells healthy. The authors' conclusion: "An understanding of the processes related to extra-mitochondrial and intra-mitochondrial regulation of metabolism in the brain and in retina and their balance by a melatonin-Aß axis may emerge as new therapeutic pathway for the therapy of both AMD and AD."
In other words, melatonin could be one of the best treatments for both conditions. So if you have either macular degeneration or Alzheimer's, make sure you're taking at least 3 mg of melatonin every night before you go to bed. You can easily take up to 20 mg per night without any problem.
I also suggest you combine the melatonin with nutrients that work directly with your particular illness. If you have Alzheimer's, consider coupling the melatonin with Advanced Memory Formula. And if you have macular degeneration or excess drusen, taking the melatonin with Advanced Vision Formula can give you even more support. These are serious illnesses and you need to fight them with more than just one nutrient.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND