Acupuncture, Oxygen (EWOT – Exercise With Oxygen Therapy), Ozone, Rheopheresis, Sunglasses, Aloe Vera Juice, Cinnamon, Diet, Nutrients     [Part 2]

There is no conventional treatment for dry form of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD or ARMD), other than taking AREDS nutrients and hoping it does not turn into wet form. This article is not intended to give advice on treating any condition, but rather to give a case history of what treatments and therapies one elderly female patient has undergone to stabilize her dry form of AMD. The following is a summary of alternative or nonconventional therapies the patient has been doing. Except for rheopheresis, she is continuing with all other therapies mentioned below:

1. Over the course of last 10 years we have continuously amended her insulin-dosing chart for 4 daily injections to improve blood sugar control

2. Modified her diet that limits carbohydrates to 10% of meals, and increased vegetables (usually raw, occasionally steamed) to 50-60% of meals, rest being protein and non-meat fats e.g. avocado

3. She takes 1-2 tablespoons of hemp oil daily, that has the ideal balance of omega-3, -6, and -9 fats; also dabs virgin cold-pressed olive oil on food, toast

4. I have given her acupuncture intermittently, primarily 1-5 needles in the ear(s) e.g. zero point, shen men, liver, kidney, lung — to stimulate these areas and to lower her blood sugar level when high; even a single needle placed anywhere in the ear lowers blood sugar

5. Occasionally gave her Chinese herbs to tonify her liver and kidneys

6. Periodically placed gold needles in specific points of ears for weeks or months at a time, following in part the Santa Fe Eye Protocol (www.reverseamd.com) as shown on the website of Dr. Lundgren in Santa Fe, New Mexico for both dry and wet AMD; includes electrical stimulation on acupuncture eye and body points, claims improvement in reading after 4 treatments

7. For over a year now she has done EWOT (Exercise With Oxygen Therapy) 3-4 times per week, therapy created in Germany — peddling a stationary bicycle for 15 minutes while breathing 95% pure oxygen from an oxygen concentrator (OxyMax 8, ~ $1,250, Longevity Resources, www.ozonegenerator.com, in Vancouver Island) or oxygen tank to increase oxygen perfusion in the microcirculation of the eyes

8. Since July 2010, she has started administering ozone gas from an ozone generator (~ $1,300, www.promolife.com, Arizona) through a modified earscope to further increase her oxygen tissue saturation by enhancing oxygen delivery from the blood vessels to the tissues (ozone is known to oxygenate tissues) in order to stop the progression of AMD and cataracts, and help reverse retinopathy

9. Having patient or another person apply palms of hands over patient’s eyes for 15 minutes before going to bed, believed to bring oxygen to the cupped area

10. Since summer of 2009 she has started wearing quality sunglasses with polarized lenses of orange-brown tint, and A & B UV-protection, to safeguard the retina from glare, UV radiation, and blue light that is thought to exacerbate macular degeneration, particularly during very sunny summer days and peak times (11 am – 6 pm) and around snowy landscapes e.g. mountains

11. She takes 1-2 tablespoons of full-leaf aloe vera juice before each meal when blood sugar is high — aloe vera juice lowers blood sugar levels and aids the intestines

12. Sprinkles cinnamon powder on toast, food , in drinks like cocoa, tea, etc, which also lowers blood-sugar levels

13. Takes AREDS (Brite Eyes from Lifetime, www.iherb.com) nutrients daily which through clinical trials have been shown to increase the chance of stopping progression of AMD by 25%

14. Takes about 3 mg zeaxanthin and 13 mg lutein daily

15. Has undergone rheopheresis treatment

Rheopheresis: In winter of 2009, the patient received 8 rheopheresis treatments in Cologne (Koln), Germany during a 3-month period. For some patients 10 treatments are recommended. Rheopheresis is a blood filtration therapy for only the dry macular degeneration, though a facility in Florida claims success for wet form as well, which pumps blood from the vein of one arm into a dialysis-type machine containing 2 filters which extract at least 8 different kinds of lipo-proteins e.g. cholesterol, fibrinogen that thicken the blood and are believed to be involved in the AMD disease process. One filtering session lasts about 2 hours. While we noted that her blood was thinner after each treatment when she pricked her finger for checking blood sugar, and the therapy has logical merit, the proteins eventually do regain their density after a week. After the 8 initial sessions, her German practitioner recommended for her to return once a year after that for 2 consecutive sessions per year. Though since he claimed that the benefit of 2 such sessions lasted only 4 months, she should ideally return 3 times a year, certainly twice. After the initial 8 treatments costing $16,000 to $20,000, at 2 treatments per visit costing $2,000 to $2,500 each, one yearly return would cost from $4,000 to $5,000, two and three returns would be double and triple of that, respectively. Hence, the whole thing proved too costly and unaffordable. Even one visit per year at a cost of $4,000 with benefits lasting 4 months at best, is too difficult to sustain. After this first initial set of treatments, the patient discontinued the entire rheopheresis therapy and so no conclusion can be drawn from its short use for this long term illness. Rheopheresis was investigated in the U.S. in the late 1990s with clinical trials at various medical institutions across the country as a possible therapy for AMD patients, but after the clinical trials the whole thing just died, and outside of a few clinics in Germany (e.g. Cologne, Hamburg) a clinic in Canada and one in Florida, to my knowledge also connected with Germany, no other medical facility offers it.

Zeaxanthin & Lutein: These are the chief carotenoids that concentrate in and protect the eye’s macula and lens, skin, breast and cervical tissues. These powerful antioxidants of orange-red color concentrate in the retina to form the macular pigment that may provide retinal protection against oxidative stress, including normal UV exposure on the aging eye. Within the central macula, zeaxanthin is the dominant component, whereas in the peripheral retina, lutein predominates. “While the average American intake of lutein is only 2 mg per day, other population groups consume up to 20 to 25 mg per day” (Jarrow Formulas). In nature these powerful antioxidants occur together, in fruits and vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables. Lutein is also found in egg yolks and animal fats. Lutein absorbs blue light and therefore appears yellow at low concentrations and orange-red at high concentrations. Several studies show that an increase in macula pigmentation decreases the risk for eye diseases such as AMD. Some studies showed that people with the highest intake of lutein and zeaxanthin have a 57% lower risk of developing AMD. In 1994, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a paper revealing that people who got six milligrams of lutein daily had a 43% prevalence reduction in AMD.

Diet, AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) & Nutrients: The story of a diabetic and even AMD diet is as much a lesson for the healthy as it is for those afflicted by disease. The results of AREDS was reported in October, 2001 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, showing that patients with intermediary AMD who took these nutrients reduced their risk of developing advanced AMD by about 25%:

  • 500 milligrams of vitamin C
  • 400 international units of vitamin E
  • 15 milligrams of beta-carotene (or 25,000 international units of vitamin A)
  • 80 milligrams of the dietary mineral zinc, in the form of zinc oxide; and
  • two milligrams of copper as cupric oxide, added to prevent copper deficiency anemia, a condition associated with high levels of zinc intake

sold commercially as Ocuvite® PreserVision™ antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplement, or Viteyes® AREDS formula eye vitamins. AREDS have no affect on the progression of cataracts.

Researchers think that pigments found in highly colored fruit such as blueberries protect against AMD. These pigments are flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants and vascular protectors.

In 1977, Dr. Joseph Bittner was a resident of eastern Washington state, an area with selenium deficient soils. When he took selenium and vitamin E supplements, his macular degeneration improved.

Vitamin D3 & B12: Robert Jay Rowen, M.D. of Santa Rosa, California, recommends 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily, especially to stop the underlying process of wet AMD, called neovascularization, it can reduce it and also reduce abnormal retinal endothelial cell proliferation. He says vitamin B12 (by injection) is the most beneficial of the B vitamins for AMD.

Olives and olive oil: Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and DSM Nutritional Products found that the main antioxidant compound in olives, hydroxytyrosol (HTS), protected against the oxidative damage that causes AMD.

Omega-3: Studies show you can reduce your risk of early onset ARMD by up to 40% by eating one to three servings of omega-3 rich fish. Wild Alaskan salmon is especially recommended. The patient ingests olive oil, for example, sprinkled on her salad or toast, and one tablespoon of hemp oil, which contains the best balance of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 from any oils.

Another, but more expensive route to bring in more oxygen to the body is is to do HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy). Dr. Rowen says that his friend, David Steenblock, DO, of Mission Viejo, California has had success with hyperbaric oxygen therapy for AMD. Dr. Rowen mentions a report by Drs. Jansen and Nielson from Copenhagen, Denmark, which details two case histories of ARMD patients improving with HBOT. HBOT runs $75 and up per treatment, or one can rent or purchase the machine. (source: www.alternative-medicine-digest.com/macular-degeneration.html)

Additionally, Dr. Rowan referred me to Dr. Kondrot who manufactures an electrical frequency-emitting machine that stimulates the head, used primarily for AMD. Dr. Kondrot in Phoenix Arizona (www.healingtheeye.com) does HBOT and frequency specific treatment for AMD. In 2009, Dr. Kondrot’s secretary said he is getting set up in his new office with HBOT, has had experience treating AMD.

I should mention that in addition to 200 mcg L-thyroxine to boost thyroid function, and 25 mg atenolol (beta-blocker) to slow the heartbeat in an effort to combat high blood pressure, she also takes 100 mg CoQ10 with olive oil (for better absorption) to strengthen heart muscle and compensate for Pravastatin’s drain on CoQ10 levels, and 100 mg grape seed extract and 200 mcg selenium as antioxidants. Low thyroid levels are known to increase cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol levels can be checked by a lab without fasting, because food intake does not affect them, unlike HDL cholesterol.

Since TCM places links between liver and eyes, and between kidneys and hearing, by nourishing the liver and kidneys, and detoxifying liver/gallbladder should improve eyesight and hearing, respectively. Aside from detoxyfying the liver, say with Edgar Cayce’s periodic application of castor oil on skin overlying the entire liver area with warmth on top of it; and drinking a glass of juice at 11 pm (gall bladder time) consisting of fresh squeezed lemon, grapefruit, and olive oil; little sourness from, say sauerkraut or lemon juice in water, and green-colored foods nourish the liver, and hence, the eyes; as a bit of sea salt and black and/or blue foods like kombu and black beans nourish the kidneys.

Ozone therapy is used in Japan, Ukraine, Mexico, has been practiced in Europe for over 50 years, researched widely in Germany, Italy, Russia and Czech Republic, while suppressed in Canada and in the U.S. Though, recently U.S. passed Alternative Therapy Legislation that has made ozone therapy an option for patients in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, and Washington, physicians can legally use ozone treatments in their practice without fear of prosecution. But it is Cubans who have been at the forefront of pioneering research using ozone therapeutically, especially for eye diseases, and according to reports, they have been largely successful. One main reason driving this research has been the U.S. embargo which forced them to find alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs. They have not cured AMD with ozone, but are able to stop its progression, and some patients have experienced improvement in vision.

Traditionally, ozone has been administered via blood (autohemotherapy), where about 200 ml of venous blood is withdrawn from a patient, mixed with therapeutic concentrations of soluble ozone gas and minimal amount of anticoagulant, then re-infused into the basilic vein at the elbow. More recently, ozone has been administered rectally through insufflation, which is easier and cheaper than autohemotherapy and can be administered at home. While many believe it is as effective as autohemotherapy, including some Cuban doctors, Dr. Velio Bocci in Italy believes rectal insufflation is half as effective as autohemotherapy at best. My opinion is that if it’s simpler, more readily available and cheaper, there will be a better patient compliance, and so half is better than nothing. The most convenient way to administer ozone is through a modified earscope under low ozone concentration and flow so as not to harm the eardrum (e.g. patient uses volume 3-5, flow 1/16 or 1/32, 5 minutes per day). Dr. Bocci has not used this method and wrote me that he suspects it is even less effective than rectal insufflation. The upside, I believe, is that the little ozone that does manage to penetrate through the ear tissue will reach the eyes more quickly than through the other two means. However, due to fear that the ozone might damage her eardrums and hearing, she has stopped the earscope ozone therapy since spring of 2011.

In the 1916 edition of The Lancet, the following is reported by Major George Stoker, MRCS: ‘as the French chemist Hennocque has shown it has great powers in the formation of oxyhaemoglobin (hemoglobin saturated with oxygen molecules)’. Saul Green has argued that since ozone has the capacity to oxidize organic compounds in an atmospheric environment, it should also logically oxidize blood components and endogenous human tissues…Researchers advocating ozone therapy concede that when infused into human blood, ozone produces reactive oxygen species (ROS) or free radicals, an over-abundance of which is known to cause oxidative stress and cell damage, and is implicated in the progression of some degenerative diseases, however they argue that the body’s anti-oxidant defense system is resistant to the quantities of ROS produced by the therapy. Interestingly, ROS have also been discovered to also perform an array of essential cell signaling functions…As part of the Canadian trial (1991), the safety of re-infusing ozonated blood was critically investigated in 10 patients and no toxicity or adverse effects were observed after 12 weeks of treatment. This non-toxicity and absence of any significant side effects has been confirmed by Italian, Israeli, Japanese and Polish studies…Ozone is not the only gas that is toxic when inhaled but has medical benefits when administered by other means…Mustard gas…Nitric oxide is another toxic atmospheric pollutant, but when created in vivo as a by-product of enzyme synthesis in mammals it has a physiological role as a cell signaling molecule essential for numerous biological processes (e.g. lowering blood pressure). The endothelium (inner lining) of blood vessels uses nitric oxide to signal the surrounding smooth muscle to relax, thus resulting in vasodilation and increasing blood flow. A deficiency in nitric oxide is now implicated in a great variety of diseases. — wikipedia.org

When I asked one Cuban doctor whether EWOT and Ozone can be done together, say in the same day or alternative days, I received a response that surprised me because it was contrary to what I heard from others. He wrote me:

“It is not convenient to use oxygen and ozone at the same time because they are different agents with different mechanisms. Oxygen can produce superoxide radicals, ozone produces hydrogen peroxides, aldehydes, Crigee ozonides and organic peroxides, thus, they are not complimentary. Ozonized olive oil is not indicated for AMD.”

High Blood Pressure, High LDL Cholesterol, Retinopathy, Pseudoexfoliation Syndrome