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Reverse Night Blindness with This Overlooked Nutrient
You’ve probably been told that night blindness is a normal part of aging and there’s nothing you can do about it. Nothing could be further from the truth.
You’ve probably been told that night blindness is a normal part of aging and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Nothing could be further from the truth...
The truth is, you can reverse night blindness. And all it takes is a simple vitamin.
Let me explain...
In a recent case study, a 55-year-old woman developed night blindness over the course of two years. She was fine in the daytime but blind in the dark.1
It turns out this patient had a history of Crohn’s disease. She was eating all the right foods but because of her disease, she couldn’t absorb vitamins. As a result, she was seriously deficient in vitamin A.
Doctors gave her 50,000 IUs by injection to bypass her digestive system.
After 18 months her night vision dramatically improved.
Even if your digestive system is fine, you could still have a problem. Like the 11-year-old boy in Canada who was declared legally blind.2
He had been living on a diet of meat, potatoes, cucumbers and Cheerios. None of these foods are high in vitamin A. His vitamin A levels were dangerously low.
Doctors started the boy on mega-doses of vitamin A. After just six weeks his vision greatly improved.
Cases of low vitamin A used to be limited to starving people in developing countries. That’s why your doctor may not even think about giving you a simple blood test for vitamin A.
But our modern diet can starve your eyes of vitamin A…
With our industrial, grain-based food supply, most Americans get just a tiny fraction of the vitamin A they need. Our primal ancestors got 10 times more vitamin A from their food than we get today.4
Most doctors will tell you to eat carrots and orange vegetables like squash to get your vitamin A. But these vegetables are not your best source…
You see, orange and red vegetables contain beta-carotene. It’s called a “pro-vitamin A.”
Your body has to convert it to retinol, the active form of vitamin A. But your body doesn’t make that conversion very efficiently.
For every 6 units of beta-carotene you eat, you only get 1 unit of vitamin A. Even if you consumed 25,000 units of beta-carotene, you wouldn’t get enough for the day.
And millions of people can’t make that conversion. They include diabetics, children and people with poor thyroid function or high stress levels.
That’s why I recommend you get your vitamin A from animal products and animal fats. That means grass-fed liver, fish, eggs, cheese and raw milk.
Your eye doctor will tell you that you only need 2,000 to 3,000 IU of vitamin A every day. But that’s not nearly enough. Our ancestors got about 20,000 to 30,000 IU per day from their diet.
I recommend you get at least 5,000 IU daily.
Our ancestors got enough of vitamin A because their Primal diet included plenty of organ meat and brightly colored vegetables. Beef liver is nature’s most concentrated source of this vitamin. Just 3 ounces of beef liver delivers over 15,000 IUs - or 545% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin A. Carrots and sweet potatoes are also a good source.
But vitamin A isn’t the only nutrient your eyes require. Here are four more nutrients you need for optimal eye health:
More Important Nutrients For Eye Health
- Supplement with the oldest tree on earth. Ginkgo biloba boosts healthy blood circulation to your eyes and reduces inflammation. And studies show that supplementing with this herb improved the vision of people with glaucoma. That’s important. Because your risk factor for developing glaucoma increases every year as you age.
I recommend getting at least 50 mg a day to support your vision.
- Use the extract that helped win WWII. During World War II, British Royal Air Force pilots ate bilberry jam prior to missions to improve their night vision. This super berry helps treat cataracts and retina problems.
To get the best results, look for an extract standardized to 25% anthocyanosides. These are bilberry’s powerful antioxidants. Get 100 mg daily.
- Take nature’s top two carotenoids. Carotenoids are the nutrients that give vegetables their bright colors. And the best carotenoids for improving vision and protecting your eye health are lutein and zeaxanthin. In fact, your eyes can’t function without them. Studies have shown that eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can increase the pigment density in the macula… and therefore lower the risk of macular degeneration.
Your best food sources for lutein and zeaxanthin are dark, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and collard greens. But it’s not easy getting enough from your foods. I recommend supplementing with 20 mg of lutein and 1 mg of zeaxanthin.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Clifford LJ, Turnbull AMJ, Denning AM. “Reversible night blindness – A reminder of the increasing importance of vitamin A deficiency in the developed world.” J Optom. 2013 Jul.
2. Jacobson D, Mireskandari K, Cohen E. “An 11-Year-Old Boy With Vision Loss.” JAMA Pediatr. December 2017.
3. Chae T., Foroozan R. “Vitamin A deficiency in patients with a remote history of intestinal surgery.” Br J Ophthalmol.2006.
4. Price, W.A., Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (New York: Paul B. Hoeber, Inc., 1939), 275-276.