International Health News

Paleolithic diet and alpha-lipoic acid for glaucoma

TUCSON, ARIZONA. It is estimated that about 3 million Americans are affected by glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness (after macular degeneration). The main risk factor for glaucoma is an elevation of intraocular eye pressure (IOP) with an IOP of greater than 21 mm Hg being considered indicative of a future risk of glaucoma. Chronically elevated glucose levels, such as found in diabetics, increase the risk of not only glaucoma, but also of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. There is now evidence that adhering to a Paleolithic diet (lean meat, fish, non-starchy vegetables and nuts with little or no grains, dairy products and potatoes - or other high glycemic index vegetables) can reduce the risk of diabetes and its precursor, Syndrome X. There is also evidence that alpha-lipoic acid, a powerful antioxidant, can reduce glucose levels by facilitating uptake and sensitizing insulin.

Jack Challem, a medical editor in Arizona reports two cases where patients diagnosed with IOPs over 21 mm Hg were able to lower their IOPs to normal levels by switching to a Paleolithic diet and/or supplementing with alpha-lipoic acid. The first patient, a 45-year-old man, switched to a Paleolithic diet and began taking 380 mg/day of alpha-lipoic acid as well as several other supplements (magnesium citrate, chromium, vitamin-E, vitamin-C). In September 1997 his fasting glucose level was 111 mg/dL. By November 1999 this had been reduced to 85 mg/dL and by September 2000 his IOP was 16 mm Hg in both eyes.

The other patient with elevated IOP, an 84-year-old man, began supplementing with alpha-lipoic acid (200 mg 3 times daily after meals) and in less than a year had reduced his IOP to 20 in both eyes. Although anecdotal evidence only, these observations point to the possibility that following a Paleolithic diet and supplementing with alpha-lipoic acid may be helpful in warding off not only glaucoma and other eye diseases, but diabetes as well.
Challem, Jack J. Natural therapies for reducing intraocular eye pressure: Rationale and two case reports. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol. 17, No. 4, 4th quarter, 2002, pp. 209-12

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