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Dry Eyes, Fiber and Whey Protein Updates

July 7, 2010 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

Every once in a while I stumble across a “Where are they now?” program on television – a show documenting the lives of famous figures long after the spotlight has left them behind. A similar analogy could be made in the field of medicine. Select foods, medical procedures and supplements are always the recipients of media attention, but typically, it doesn’t last for very long. Does this mean that they’re no longer noteworthy once the spotlight has left them behind? Not from my perspective. That’s why I think it’s so important to continually update the columns I’ve written in the past.

In February 2010 I covered the topic of natural remedies for dry eyes. Toward the end of that blog I mentioned the promise of sea buckthorn oil (SBO). However at that time the research available was highly preliminary. Now a new study in the Journal of Nutrition adds some substance to the case for using SBO in those with dry eye syndrome. A total of 86 adult men and women took part in this double-blind, randomized, parallel trial. The participants were given either 2,000 mg/day of SBO or a placebo for 3 months. Several improvements were noted in the subjects using SBO including an increase in tear film osmolarity and a reduction in burning and redness all of which “positively affected the dry eye symptoms”. (1)

A higher intake of dietary fiber may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CHD). That was the conclusion of a piece I published in September 2009. New findings out of Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine build upon my previously documented evidence. A prospective Japanese study of over 58,000 men and women examined the impact of escalating fiber intake and the likelihood of heart disease-related mortality.

  • The researchers monitored the study volunteers over a 14 year follow up period.
  • During that time there were 2,080 deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease.
  • Men and women that consumed the highest fiber diet (vs. the lowest fiber diet) were 19% and 20% less likely to suffer from coronary heart disease.

It’s interesting to note that insoluble fiber appeared to confer the greatest protective effects – 52% reduced CHD risk in men and 51% in women. Insoluble fiber is commonly found in avocados, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, chia seeds, flaxseeds, legumes, nuts and whole grains. (2)

A Whey-Derived Peptide (NOP-47) May Improve Circulation
Source: Nutrition Journal 2009, 8:34 (link)

In August 2009, I focused on a growing concern in the senior population referred to as sarcopenia or age-related muscle loss. An integral part of any sarcopenia treatment protocol is to ensure adequate protein intake. The use of whey protein powder is a practical way of accomplishing this goal. But the question remains whether whey protein is truly a healthy alternative to whole food protein sources. The May 2010 issue of the journal Atherosclerosis investigated one aspect of this debate. In it, Australian researchers examined the short-term impact of supplementing with 45 grams of whey protein isolate, 45 grams of sodium caseinate (milk protein) or a placebo (dextrose) in a group of 20 overweight or obese, post-menopausal women. All of the participants ate a regular breakfast and supplemented with each of the three test products on separate occasions.

  • When using the whey protein, the women exhibited a 27% reduction in post-meal triglycerides in comparison to the placebo and sodium caseinate meals.
  • Whey protein also improved the triglyceride-to-Apo B48 ratio by up 32%. Apo B48 is a plaque forming component of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
  • Both the caseinate and whey protein powders lowered post meal blood sugar as compared to the placebo beverage.

The conclusion of this pilot intervention determined that, “a single dose of whey protein can decrease arterial exposure to smaller TG-enriched lipoprotein particles compared to the glucose and casein meals”. This essentially means that whey protein appears to support heart health in the short term. Hopefully, future studies will establish the health effects of whey protein when given over a longer period of time in a wide range of populations. (3)

When I research the material for each blog I try to envision what the net effect will be. I did so this morning and I thought about all the people who use lubricating eye drops on a daily basis. How great would it be for them to take a health promoting supplement instead of relying on “artificial tears”? The fiber issue is one that is often brought up in the context of a low-fat diet. My opinion is that high fiber intake combined with a carb-restricted diet could be even more powerful. But regardless of which philosophy you ascribe to, there is little debate that high fiber intake equals a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Finally, I’m a big proponent of making good nutrition as easy as possible. Whey protein allows many people with hectic schedules or limited appetites to reach their protein requirements. However, safety has to take precedence over efficacy. Fortunately, it seems that this dairy-derived protein offers a safe way to support lean body mass.

Be well!


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9 Comments & Updates to “Dry Eyes, Fiber and Whey Protein Updates”

  1. Oct Says:

    Your articles are always so interesting and valuable! Thanks JP.

  2. JP Says:

    Thank you, Oct!

    I really appreciate your support! :)

    Be well!


  3. vadim Says:

    I think so too!

  4. JP Says:

    Thanks, Vadim! :)

    Be well!


  5. Mark Smallwood Says:

    I love the versatility and affordability of whey protein. There is just about a flavor for anyone’s taste. I recently purchased “cake batter”, flavor, which was ok, but I made it better by adding some sugar free lemon drink mix and created “cheesecake”.

  6. JP Says:

    It’s so true. Whey protein has such a mild taste that you can pretty much add whatever you’d like to it. I’ve added all kinds of flavors to my whey protein shakes: cocoa powder, coconut milk, coffee, “green food” powders, frozen berries, pumpkin puree + pumpkin spice, etc. I usually end up using vanilla-flavored whey as a base because it’s the most versatile. Right now I’m using MRM’s all-natural, vanilla whey protein which tastes great.

    Hope you have a great weekend, Mark.

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Update: Fish oil benefits dry eyes caused by lengthy computer time …


    Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2015 Feb 16.

    Oral omega-3 fatty acids treatment in computer vision syndrome related dry eye.

    PURPOSE: To assess the efficacy of dietary consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (O3FAs) on dry eye symptoms, Schirmer test, tear film break up time (TBUT) and conjunctival impression cytology (CIC) in patients with computer vision syndrome.

    SETTING AND DESIGN: Interventional, randomized, double blind, multi-centric study.
    METHODS: Four hundred and seventy eight symptomatic patients using computers for more than 3h per day for minimum 1 year were randomized into two groups: 220 patients received two capsules of omega-3 fatty acids each containing 180mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 120mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) daily (O3FA group) and 236 patients received two capsules of a placebo containing olive oil daily for 3 months (placebo group). The primary outcome measure was improvement in dry eye symptoms and secondary outcome measures were improvement in Nelson grade and an increase in Schirmer and TBUT scores at 3 months.

    RESULTS: In the placebo group, before dietary intervention, the mean symptom score, Schirmer, TBUT and CIC scores were 7.5±2, 19.9±4.7mm, 11.5±2s and 1±0.9 respectively, and 3 months later were 6.8±2.2, 20.5±4.7mm, 12±2.2s and 0.9±0.9 respectively. In the O3FA group, these values were 8.0±2.6, 20.1±4.2mm, 11.7±1.6s and 1.2±0.8 before dietary intervention and 3.9±2.2, 21.4±4mm, 15±1.7s, 0.5±0.6 after 3 months of intervention, respectively.

    CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the beneficial effect of orally administered O3FAs in alleviating dry eye symptoms, decreasing tear evaporation rate and improving Nelson grade in patients suffering from computer vision syndrome related dry eye.

    Be well!


  8. JP Says:

    Update: Maqui berry extract shows promise re: dry eye symptoms …


    Panminerva Med. 2014 Sep;56(3 Suppl 1):1-6.

    MaquiBright™ standardized maqui berry extract significantly increases tear fluid production and ameliorates dry eye-related symptoms in a clinical pilot trial.

    AIM: Dry eye symptoms, resulting from insufficient tear fluid generation, represent a considerable burden for a largely underestimated number of people. We concluded from earlier pre-clinical investigations that the etiology of dry eyes encompasses oxidative stress burden to lachrymal glands and that antioxidant MaquiBright™ Aristotelia chilensis berry extract helps restore glandular activity.

    METHODS: In this pilot trial we investigated 13 healthy volunteers with moderately dry eyes using Schirmer test, as well as a questionnaire which allows for estimating the impact of dry eyes on daily routines. Study participants were assigned to one of two groups, receiving MaquiBright™ at daily dosage of either 30 mg (N.=7) or 60 mg (N.=6) over a period of 60 days. Both groups presented with significantly (P<0.05) improved tear fluid volume already after 30 days treatment. Schirmer test showed an increase from baseline 16.3±2.6 mm to 24.4±4.8 mm (P<0.05) with 30 mg MaquiBright™ and from 18.7±1.9 mm to 27.6±3.4 mm with 60 mg (P<0.05), respectively. Following treatment with 30 mg MaquiBright™ for further 30 days, tear fluid volume dropped slightly to 20.5±2.8 mm, whereas the improvement persisted with 60 mg treatment at 27.1±2.7 mm after 60 days treatment (P<0.05 vs. baseline).

    RESULTS: The burden of eye dryness on daily routines was evaluated employing the “Dry Eye-related Quality of life Score” (DEQS), with values spanning from zero (impact) to a maximum score of 60. Participants had comparable baseline values of 41.0±7.7 (30 mg) and 40.2±6.3 (60 mg). With 30 mg treatment the score significantly decreased to 21.8±3.9 and 18.9±3.9, after 30 and 60 days, respectively. With 60 mg treatment the DEQS significantly decreased to 26.9±5.3 and 11.1±2.7, after 30 and 60 days, respectively. Blood was drawn for safety analyses (complete blood rheology and -chemistry) at all three investigative time points without negative findings.

    CONCLUSION: In conclusion, while daily supplementation with 30 mg MaquiBright™ is effective, the dosage of 60 significantly increased tear fluid volume at all investigative time points and decreased dry eye symptoms to almost a quarter from initial values after two months treatment.

    Be well!


  9. JP Says:

    Update 05/12/15:


    Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:143858.

    Acupuncture therapy is more effective than artificial tears for dry eye syndrome: evidence based on a meta-analysis.

    Background. The efficacy of acupuncture in dry eye syndrome patients remains controversial. Methods. Pubmed, Ovid, Cochrane libraries, CNKI, Wanfang, and CQVIP databases were electronically searched until October 1, 2014. Outcomes including tear break-up time (BUT), Schirmer I test (SIT), and cornea fluorescein staining (CFS) were analyzed. A meta-analysis was performed using both fixed- and random-effects models based on heterogeneity across studies. Results. Seven studies were included in this study; 198 and 185 patients were randomly treated with acupuncture and artificial tears, respectively. The overall BUT of patients in acupuncture group was significantly longer than that of the artificial tears group after treatment (P < 0.00001). The SIT was significantly higher in the acupuncture group than that in the artificial tears group after treatment (P = 0.001). The CFS of patients in acupuncture group was significantly improved compared to that in artificial group (P < 0.0001). Conclusions. Acupuncture therapy is effective for the dry eye patients, partly better than artificial tear treatment.

    Be well!


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