Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Healthy Eyes


The eye has been called the window of the soul, and as Matthew 6:22 states, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” The health of your eyes can say a lot about your overall physical health and well-being. This is especially true concerning the vascular diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
            Ever since the Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS/AREDS2), the pharmacy and health-food store shelves have been stocked with ocular vitamins promoting optimal eye health. There is good reason for this, as the eye disease studies showed that a certain combination of nutrients could moderately and measurably stabilize and slow down the progression of the dry form of macular degeneration. The dry form of macular degeneration is believed to be due to, or exacerbated by, an inadequacy or inability of appropriate nutrients to reach and nourish the retinal tissues. Smoking presents as a high-risk factor for this type of macular degeneration and there may be a hereditary, genetic component as well. Central vision loss (acuity) may be significant and permanent and there is no treatment except for ocular vitamins and stabilization of the disease process.
            Conversely, the wet form of macular degeneration is due to a leakage of vascular fluid in the retina and underlying retinal tissues and is usually better treated with injections and photo-dynamic therapy and is not seen to be typically hereditary, but more frequently seen in people with cardio-vascular disease. Central vision loss may be reversible in many cases but may require long periods of treatment and multiple and expensive injections.
            Cataracts are probably the most common of all the eye diseases, as most, if not all of us will ultimately develop them with time. Cataracts are simply an opacification and yellowing of the normally clear crystalline lens of the eye which sits behind the iris and pupil. This metabolic oxidation can be exacerbated by excessive ultraviolet light exposure, medications, smoking, other environmental factors, and possibly genetic factors as well. Central visual acuity loss, night vision difficulties, color vision perception changes, glare sensitivity and distortions will all frequently increase with the progression of the cataract. Both eyes are typically affected, but one eye may be more advanced.  Treatment is typically surgical removal with associated intraocular implants, which has a great success rate. Nutrients and antioxidants seem to have positive, but variable effects in intervention and prevention and may help to slow down or stabilize the cataract progression. N-acetyl-carnosine (NAC eye drops, Can-C), an amino acid in eye drop form, has been used much in Russia and some other European countries but noticeable and measurable improvements can be highly variable. The drops are relatively expensive as well and often difficult to obtain but can be found online. A better option, as we shall see below, is probably an overall healthy diet and lifestyle with an appropriate multivitamin and multimineral supplement with additional antioxidant nutrients taken daily for optimal health and well-being.
            The ocular vitamin or vision formulas that you will find in the store, including I-Caps, PreserVision AREDS 2, Ocuvite, and their associated generics will typically contain the following in similar concentrations—Vitamin C, 150–250 mg; Vitamin E, 20 mg (30 IU)–135 mg (200 IU); zinc, 10–40 mg; copper (to balance the zinc), 1 mg; the antioxidants lutein, 5 mg and zeaxanthin, 1 mg; and sometimes the Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, 250 mg or so. As you can see from these numbers, the amounts of each nutrient can vary widely from product to product. The primary ocular health components are the antioxidant vitamins, C and E; zinc; and the antioxidant plant carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin; which most of us do not get enough of dietarily. There is a caution with excessive zinc intake over about 60 mg per day as this tends to decrease copper absorption, which further decreases your iron absorption. All these minerals must be in balance. If you are taking a PreserVision formula (which is very high in zinc), it is essential that you make sure you are not taking any additional zinc supplements, including the use of zinc lozenges. The Omega-3 fatty acids have not shown any particular eye health advantage, but they certainly are important for healthy cardiovascular function and have been shown also to be very helpful for many people who experience dry eye conditions. I strongly recommend taking a fish oil supplement daily of about 1000 mg.
            The ocular vitamin formulations, especially the name brands, can be quite expensive. In lieu of this strategy, I strongly recommend taking a complete multivitamin and multimineral supplement (with iron), such as Centrum or a generic, which contains the full daily value of all the essential vitamins and the essential trace minerals with smaller amounts of the required major minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and chloride); 25–30 nutrients in all should be listed. I would then add a separate product with at least 10 mg of lutein and at least 600–800 micrograms of zeaxanthin. To this I would add the fish oil, and you could add extra vitamin C and E, which are relatively inexpensive, and maybe even an additional vitamin B-complex for optimal energy and metabolism. You must also make sure you are getting enough calcium and magnesium and may need additional supplements to augment those intakes.
           
Here Is Your Healthy Eyes Checklist—
ü  A complete multivitamin/multimineral supplement with iron—once daily
ü  Lutein 10 mg with zeaxanthin 600–800 micrograms—once daily
ü  Fish oil 1000 mg—once or more daily
For optimal health and well-being, you may then want to add—
ü  Additional vitamin C 500–1000 mg daily
ü  Additional vitamin E 200–400 IU (135–270 mg) daily
ü  Additional vitamin B-complex with extra amounts of all the B-vitamins, once daily
ü  Make sure you are getting at least 1,300 mg of calcium and 420 mg of magnesium daily
ü  Probiotics and proper amounts of fiber are also important for good health

            On a final note, since dry eye is such a common complaint and is exceedingly difficult to cure, ocular lubricants are typically required. Some doctors recommend GenTeal or Systane, but my personal favorite is Refresh Tears by Allergan. The Refresh line of products are all preservative free, conveniently available in multi-drop containers, and are safe to use with contacts. Refresh Tears is the standard version, Refresh Liquigel and Refresh Gel Drops are twice as viscous so they last longer but may blur vision a few minutes after instillation, and Refresh Advanced has an oil component to help keep tears from evaporating as quickly. Refresh Advanced is not recommended for contact lens wearers as the oil component can stick to the surface of contacts and cause blurred vision for longer periods of time. You may need to instill these drops 6–8 times daily or more. Infrequent blinking, staring at a computer screen, heating, wind and air flow—all can contribute to a dry eye condition. There are prescription eye drops for dry eye syndrome, namely Restasis and Xiidra, which serve to stimulate your own tear glands to produce more tears, but these drops are exceedingly expensive, take a month or more to show improvement, have variable effectiveness from person to person, and still need to be maintained on a regular basis.
            Ocular allergies are also common problems and my two best recommendations for OTC drops are Alaway (longer acting) and Opcon-A (shorter acting) by Bausch and Lomb. Both of these contain an antihistamine to help alleviate the typical ocular symptoms and Opcon-A has a vasoconstrictor to whiten the eye temporarily. These drops should only be used a few times daily at most. Lumify is the newest whitening eye drop by Bausch and Lomb and has the advantage that it does not typically cause a rebound redness effect that other vasoconstrictors may precipitate with excessive use. Lumify does not contain an antihistamine so it does not really help specifically with allergy symptoms like itchy, watery eyes. Be advised that most eye drops on the market should staunchly be avoided as they are laden with chemicals and preservatives that will typically irritate the eye more than soothe it. There are prescription allergy eye drops, notably Patanol and Pataday, which block the ocular allergic reactions in an early stage, so they are very effective, but also expensive.

           
            I intentionally left out an elaborate discussion of the vital importance of Vitamin A (beta carotene) even though it is essential for proper eye health (especially night vision and ocular surface health) due to its complicated and confusing interactions in smokers. For reasons not understood, it seems that high doses of vitamin A or beta carotene can actually increase the incidence of lung cancer in smokers. Therefore, high doses of vitamin A are not recommended for smokers but may typically be fine for everyone else. Taking the multivitamin/multimineral supplement is critical in assuring that you are getting all these essential nutrients in at least adequate amounts. Beta carotene and most of the essential nutrients can be especially found in colorful and green leafy vegetables. A healthy diet high in a variety of vegetables and fruit is an essential part of staying healthy and well along with your supplement regimen.


I hope that this has been helpful for you in maintaining your healthy eyes!

Feel free to contact me for more information @

For more general information on health and well-being see my Outline for Life—Body on the Resources page of my website or in my online Store.

For your information, see the chart on the final page through this link for the newest recommended Daily Values (Reference Daily Intake) for the vitamins and minerals.



Friday, April 17, 2020

Coping Through This COVID Crisis

This has become a time to reevaluate and redefine our core values, essentials for successful living, and fulfilling our life purpose. It's a time to reframe our thinking and behavior to forge excellence in our new life realities.
I'm here to help you find your better way - God's way.
~Nutritional Consulting~
I work with people who are physically struggling to help them reach their full potential of wellness.
~Spiritual Guidance~
I work with people who are spiritually stuck to help them find God and His direction, plan, and purpose for their lives.

And Coming Soon! Christian Life Coaching 
Prayers and blessings and wholeness and wellness to you!



Friday, March 20, 2020

Prayer for Commitment to Excellence

“And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all–love].” 1 Corinthians 12:31b (AMP)

            Most High and Excellent Lord, I pray that I may always walk in your ways, follow Your Word, and never be distracted by the inferior wisdom and ways of the world. Only You, Lord, and Your Word are excellent, perfect, and true. May my heart and my mind be firmly rooted in Your stream of Living Water, Jesus Christ and may Your Holy Spirit continually flow through me and wash me clean of the lies and deceptions of Satan, the world, and the old self within me. Help me, O Lord God, to perceive and know Your truth and Your will and Your way for me and may I always exude and portray a life of faith, hope, love, and trust in You in the most excellent of ways to bring You glory.

“This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” Titus 3:8 (NIV)

            Mold me, shape me, and empower me, Holy Spirit, so that the thoughts in my heart, the words on my lips, and the works of my hands are always excellent and pleasing to You. Let not the naysayers sway me, nor Satan deceive me, nor myself distract or deter me, but may I be determined, powerful, successful, and exemplary in all that I think, say, and do. May I be Your most excellent tool and vessel to be used mightily for the glory and honor of Your kingdom. You, O Lord, are my salvation and my protection and no weapon formed against me shall prosper, but by the most excellent and powerful weapon of Your Word I will live and reign victorious with You, Jesus Christ, forever and ever. I am and will be most excellent in You.  

“Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 3:13 (NIV) 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Medicine~Hazardous to Your Health

What doctors may or may not know but probably won't tell you, and what the drug companies certainly know and certainly won't tell you, and what the FDA certainly knows but is afraid to tell you - I will tell you, because you must know.



[Image, courtesy of MedShadow.org]

          Please hear me - doctors save lives. Drugs save lives. My son would not be alive without the surgical intervention of a liver transplant or anti-rejection drugs. But doctors don't know everything, and they certainly make mistakes. And drugs kill and cause permanent damage and disabilities. You must advocate for your own personal health, wellness, and safety. You must ask various health-care practitioners the pertinent questions, do your own research, and make a concerted effort to change dietary habits, activity levels, and seek natural alternatives, where available, to maintain your health and well-being.
          The potential dangers and damaging effects of prescription drugs are precisely why the very first point of my Outline for Life - Physical Well-Being and the Wellness Questionnaire address this issue first - nothing is more paramount. Even if you are doing everything else right, prescription drugs could be tearing you apart.
          For more information on prescription drugs, see my Outline for Life and the Wellness Excerpts from My Blog on the Resources page of my website, JeffHoracek.com/resources. In addition, a great resource of information on prescription drugs, medical devices and implants, and alternatives can be found at MedShadow.org. Furthermore, to help you evaluate your prescription medications, I have created the Medication Worksheets, found on my Resources page next to the Wellness Questionnaire, that you can use to list all your medications and begin the evaluation process in association with your doctor or qualified health-care practitioner. Once you have your list, you can enter the appropriate information into the medication analyzer at MedStopper.com to help you and your doctor begin the tapering process of non-essential medications. The recommendations given by the MedStopper medication analyzer are only approximations. The longer you have been on a drug, the higher the dose, and the more sensitive you are will require slowing down the tapering process significantly - often only reducing dosages by 10% every 2-4 weeks, or even slower if symptoms dictate. This is especially true of any mentally- or emotionally-active drugs such as the benzodiazepines (Ativan, Halcion, Klonopin, Librium, Restoril, Valium, Xanax) and those used for anxiety, depression, or sleep disorders. Please note that any reduction in a pharmaceutical will also require changes in your diet, level of exercise, and supplementation with appropriate nutraceuticals. This is essential for establishing and maintaining your healthy well-being.

God wants you to be healthy and well. And so do I. I'm praying for you.

www.JeffHoracek.com

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Love Becomes One


We’ve all probably had Divine encounters, but a Divine appointed match made in heaven is a most marvelous thing.
The most wonderful of all things in life, I believe, is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a glowing depth, beauty and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing, it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of Divine accident.
               —Sir Hugh Walpole

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31 NIV 

               Love and our interpersonal relationships can grow and blossom if we continually put forth effort to cultivate them. But just like the best of gardens, if we ignore our love and those relationships, they will soon be overtaken by weeds or die from lack of care. It is truly a wonderful thing to experience the years go by and find love ever strengthening and the garden more beautiful and the harvest grander each year. When two can intertwine together in true love, they have a very special relationship indeed—oneness together and with God is a glorious thing never to be taken for granted.
               Love may start out immature, as an attraction or infatuation, but there is always the opportunity for love to grow and mature into the perfect union of oneness. It doesn’t always work out this way, but when that bond strengthens and solidifies and becomes one, it is the grandest of all Divine blessings.

[Excerpt from my book, Restore My Spirit, O God, p71–72.]

You can read more about God’s love for us and our love for God and others in my books, Restore My Spirit, O God, pages 49–75 and Renew My Heart, O God, pages 53–84. For more on building strong relationships, see my Outline for Life—Soul, point 7, pages 8–10, downloadable on the Resources page of my website, JeffHoracek.com/resources
www.JeffHoracek.com

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Love Chooses to Overlook

Love says, “Before you recount all the flaws of others, make sure you look in the mirror first and count all yours.”
Love is not blind, it sees more not less;
But because it sees more it chooses to see less.
               —Author Unknown

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 NIV

               Real love sees all the flaws of the one loved in all aspects of their true nature but chooses not to emphasize or bring attention to those flaws but promotes and acknowledges all that is positive. Real love is not vindictive, condescending, or critical but is protective, encouraging, and uplifting. Love should always be honest with compassion, respectful and helpful, and instructive in positive ways. Love doesn’t promote self at the expense of another, nor does it ever reveal personal intimacies for public consumption. Love is ever forgiving and, most importantly, forgetful of the wrongs received and the negatives displayed, and love refuses to continually bring to mind or voice those same issues. Real love never uses itself as leverage to gain something for self. Love is always understanding and never condemning. Love has enormous power to influence when used appropriately and has the unique ability to bring about the positive change that nothing else could do.
               So I ask you, does this love describe your love? If you want to be loved like that, then you must first love like that. Rejoice in your ability to love and do not be sorrowful in what you receive. Love as if you’ve never been hurt, and love as if your next breath depended upon it.

Excerpt from my book, Restore My Spirit, O God, p 70–71.

You can read more about God’s love for us and our love for God and others in my books, Restore My Spirit, O God, pages 49–75 and Renew My Heart, O God, pages 53–84. For more on building strong relationships, see my Outline for Life—Soul, point 7, pages 8–10, downloadable on the Resources page of my website, JeffHoracek.com/resources.

www.JeffHoracek.com

Friday, February 14, 2020

Love~Willingly Surrendered


Unlimited in its power and scope, irresistible in influence, indestructible in its character, impossible to force or coerce, unavailable for sale, undaunted by circumstance, and in infinite supply to meet the demand—it’s called love.
Love is the only service that power cannot command and money cannot buy.
               —Author Unknown
 
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:9–10 NIV

               Love cannot be forced, coerced, or bought. True love is only given freely. God gave us free will so that we could love Him back on our own accord, not as a robot programmed unknowingly to respond in a desired and appropriate way. Love is sincere when it puts the best interest of another first, with all due honor and respect. True love is not manipulative, judgmental, nor condemning, but always gracious, merciful, understanding, and forgiving. It does not embrace or condone evil, but it serves to compassionately bring wrong into the light. Love is not wielded as a sword; it is submissively surrendered. Although it may sound or seem as if love is weak, it is the most powerful, most motivational, and most influential force that exists in the human experience.  Love can propel and enable you to do what no other force could possibly bring about. It was not ropes and spikes of iron that held Christ to the Cross. It was love.
[Excerpt from my book, Restore My Spirit, O God, p 68–69.]

You can read more about God’s love for us and our love for God and others in my books, Restore My Spirit, O God, pages 49–75 and Renew My Heart, O God, pages 53–84. For more on building strong relationships, see my Outline for Life—Soul, point 7, pages 8–10, downloadable on the Resources page of my website, JeffHoracek.com/resources.  
www.JeffHoracek.com