Author Topic: Intermittent fasting - a way to speed up myopia reduction  (Read 3776 times)

Offline Todd Becker

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Intermittent fasting - a way to speed up myopia reduction
« on: January 31, 2015, 03:48:29 PM »
Nate posted a link to a very interesting post by Jake on the Fraunfeld clinic site, regarding the use of intermittent fasting (IF) to treat ambylopia and myopia:

When Intermittent Fasting Can Improve Your Eyesight

Jake found that IF enabled him to achieve the "final diopter" of myopia reduction he was seeking:

Quote
"Once you have reduced your myopia to either the last diopter (or for high myopes by about half in many cases), things can slow down a bit.  That's where you want to start experimenting with some of the advanced topics.  Peak prescription, intermittent prescription use, dietary adjustments, any one of these things can help you get past a plateau. A big one for me, after much trial and error, turned out to be intermittent fasting.
I only noticed this accidentally, at first.  Once a week, I would not eat for a period of about 16-24 hours.  Basically I would eat dinner one evening, and then not eat again the next day until dinner time. Something curious happened, when I started doing this.  My eyesight, which was entirely stagnant at about -1.75, was suddenly noticeably better.  I had an eye chart set up that I could see about 20/60 with.  One the days after my intermittent fasts, I would get clear flashes to 20/40, where before I would only get double vision on that line....Ididn't put the fasting and the clear flashes together, for the better part of six months.  It wasn't till winter came, and I quit the fasting, that the progress stopped....There was a limit to this, for me.  More than once or twice a week created no additional results, and had other negative effects (moodiness, and lack of concentration).  Once I managed to dial in the quantity, I was back on track to progress and fairly quickly got to a -1.50 prescription (a solid 15% improvement)."


Jake tested this on his friends and concluded that the fasting is mainly helpful towards the later stages of myopia reversal, not so much in the beginning:

Quote
"Later on when I started to help friends with their eyesight, I had them try many of my previous experiments, including the intermittent fasts.  I found that out of 12 participants, 4 reported better Snellen results.  Three of them had been working on their eyesight for more than six months.  From that point I started refining the model, always looking for feedback from new participants. The truth is that simply not eating from dinner one day, to dinner the next day, once a week, is all you actually need to fully benefit from this strategy. What I found was what I mentioned previously:  There is no real need to consider fasting early on in therapy.  It's not till a few reductions, and especially when improvements slow, that adding this into the habits can be helpful.  It also makes sense to keep a detailed log to ensure that there is actual benefit to the fasts."

Jake's post references a very interesting animal study clearly demonstrating how short periods of food restriction increase ocular plasticity:

Food restriction enhances visual cortex plasticity in adulthood

The mechanism behind this is not readily apparent, but my hypothesis is that ocular plasticity and eye elongation are strongly controlled by decrease insulin and increased glucagon and BDNF that result from intermittent fasting:

Opposite Effects of Glucagon and Insulin on Compensation for Spectacle Lenses in Chicks



Todd
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 03:51:24 PM by Todd Becker »

Offline caimanjosh

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Re: Intermittent fasting - a way to speed up myopia reduction
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2015, 07:43:22 AM »
Very interesting!  Now that I'm thinking about it, my period of fastest progress seemed to occur during a summer where I was fasting for 16+ hours a day, 5-7 days a week.  Til now I'd figured it was just "newbie gains" (I'd started pushing print only a month or 2 before this period of fast progress), but now I have to wonder if the intermittent fasting was a significant part of the reason for my progress.  I'll be doing more fasting this summer -- I'll have to see how my vision goes during that time too.

Offline caimanjosh

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Re: Intermittent fasting - a way to speed up myopia reduction
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2015, 07:40:21 AM »
So, an update here.  I've been fasting 16-20 hours a day, several days a week, for the last 3 weeks now.  And my vision seems to have improved!  I felt it had plateaued or even regressed very slightly the previous few months, so this is news.  The interesting thing is, I haven't been pushing print/wearing plus lenses any more than usual, or changed any other habits (as far as I'm aware).  And yet my vision definitely has felt sharper the last couple of weeks. 

So, I do think there's something to this intermittent fasting improving myopia idea.  Based on what worked for me back a couple of years ago (see my previous reply above), I'd definitely recommend anyone looking to reduce their myopia to try fasting while pushing print.  Fasting has a plethora of other health benefits as well, so I don't think you have much to lose trying it (other than probably some weight :) .   

Offline OtisBrown

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Re: Intermittent fasting - a way to speed up myopia reduction
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2015, 09:54:09 AM »

Hi CaimanJosh,

I "push" the idea of long-term plus wear - because it makes scientific sense to me.  It also makes sense that I must personally read my own Snellen, and always objectively pass the 20/40 line.  Beyond this point, I know that the person must have a "belief system", that his own insights, method, and efforts, will "work for him", even if so many others will  insist, that "plus prevention will never work".  Or, they insist, if it DID WORK, by optometrist would PRESCRIBE IT.  (I know how false that idea is.)

Looking at a "bright Snellen" will not solve the problem.  But is an objective measure - that I must do for myself.  For myself, I take reading and passing the 20/30 line to be success.  (Because I am certain to pass the DMV requirement of 20/40.) When people post success, it should always be what the read on their own Snellen, never on what some OD measured.)

There is great self-discipline in doing this, and that includes fasting, and other things.  As always, I congratulate you on your success.

So, an update here.  I've been fasting 16-20 hours a day, several days a week, for the last 3 weeks now.  And my vision seems to have improved!  I felt it had plateaued or even regressed very slightly the previous few months, so this is news.  The interesting thing is, I haven't been pushing print/wearing plus lenses any more than usual, or changed any other habits (as far as I'm aware).  And yet my vision definitely has felt sharper the last couple of weeks. 

So, I do think there's something to this intermittent fasting improving myopia idea.  Based on what worked for me back a couple of years ago (see my previous reply above), I'd definitely recommend anyone looking to reduce their myopia to try fasting while pushing print.  Fasting has a plethora of other health benefits as well, so I don't think you have much to lose trying it (other than probably some weight :) .

Offline Alex_Myopic

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Re: Intermittent fasting - a way to speed up myopia reduction
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2015, 02:05:50 PM »
Tom in your link there is a suggestion of whole grains. It is a facto that whole grains contain phytic acid. This acid absorbs useful metals like Calcium from the body. Some suggest that in this way they can even promote teeth decay. Others go further and criticize Kellogg's survey that Africans had fewer large intestine cancers due too whole grain... Do you believe the above points?

Offline Tom

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Re: Intermittent fasting - a way to speed up myopia reduction
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2015, 06:54:58 AM »
I come across those lines many times, and while I have a very nuanced position on whole grain, I can also say that those arguments based on antinutrients such as phytate and lectin are, mostly, mechanistically arguments that don't hold much water when you look up the empirical data:

  • The current coverage about phytic acid tends to be presented in a black-and-white view, without regards to its global impact to the body. I believe that phytic acid, in small and occasional quantities, actually forces the body to enhance its nutrient absorption through hormetic nutrient deprivation process. This is similar to the "paradoxical" effect of oxydation and free radicals on cardiovascular health. In brief, whatever we call them, antinutrients and antioxidants are both good and bad!
  • When grains are properly soaked/sprouted, there is a natural degradation of lectins and phytates going on. As a result, the phytate content, after careful preparation and cooking, is dramatically lower than in its original raw form (mainstream Paleo community probably don't like this). This is similar to the discussion on the allegedly harmful effects of gluten or lactose - in that we tend to ignore the natural degradation processes of allegedly-harmful chemicals when food are not industrialized.

However, I am also aware of many factors that can increase grain's carbohydrate content. Eating grains without brans and germs (e.g., most grains) is a good way to dramatically increase blood sugar, as it deprives the need of naturally-slow digestive processes, and the sugar can now travel in the bloodstream at a much quicker rate. Whole grains that have been through a series of artificial selection could also be subject to higher concentration of carbohydrate than the wild varieties.

Also, cooking is yet another way one can increase grain's carbohydrate level. As such, I believe that fast boiling for half an hour or more, or grains with soft/chewy texture, should be a sign of concern - as one might start to disrupt the oral microflora, and find their grain sticking to their teeth and gums more frequently.

Incidentally, much of what's been said here about grains also apply to beans and legumes, the latter of which is invariably consumed by the centenarians in the Blue Zones. I don't know, phytic acid at work perhaps?  8)

But going back to the link between insulin resistance and visual acuity. I guess what I'm encouraging, is to have some people - who are currently into carb cycling - to test their incidence of clear flashes while they are both in and out ketosis. This should eliminate the individual variabilities and might even eliminate intermittent fasting as a potential confounder of visual improvement.
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Offline caimanjosh

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Re: Intermittent fasting - a way to speed up myopia reduction
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2015, 12:40:05 PM »
The idea is that from the studies here and there, the increase in visual acuity appears more to be a symptom of regained insulin sensitivity (and possibly an increase in retinal glucagon, which, as identified by the late Josh Wallman in his articles and one of his study on chick, is responsible for choroidal thickening, which attenuates myopisation and accelerates hyperopization). I guess what I'm suggesting is that intermittent fasting per se is not the immediate cause of clear flashes, and that a better way to test it is to just alter one's insulin level without resorting to chronic fasting. More details on insulin and diet here.

That makes sense to me...I imagine insulin sensitivity might well be a prime factor here.  That said, intermittent fasting is a terrific way to increase your insulin sensitivity.  So is intense exercise.  Mark Sisson wrote a good post on ways to increase insulin sensitivity a couple of months ago -- http://www.marksdailyapple.com/25-ways-to-improve-your-insulin-sensitivity/#axzz3dAJ8Avxn