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The weird connection between macular degeneration and calcified plaque
Macular degeneration causes almost 90 percent of all age-related vision loss.
And while the condition currently affects up to 11 million Americans, that number is expected to double over the next three decades.
You might think that a condition that leaves so many suffering and steals their independence would have reliable and safe treatment options, but you’d be wrong.
In fact, the current treatments for age-related vision loss can vary from having a needle stuck into your eye, to high-energy lasers and hit-or-miss drugs — all of which come with undeniable risks.
Luckily, researchers may have finally unlocked the secret to not only warding off — but possibly walking back — the damage that results in vision loss…
Calcium buildup in the blood vessels of the eye
That secret involves what the researchers believe is an underlying cause of macular degeneration – a protein found in our blood, known as vitronectin.
While there are hundreds of proteins circulating in our bloodstream at any given time, the researchers focused on vitronectin, because it’s one of the most abundant and is also an important component of cholesterol.
Vitronectin is also a key player in many age-related diseases, which led the team to believe it also provided a promising target in the treatment of the vision loss that comes with aging.
“This protein is an important target for macular degeneration because it accumulates in the back of the eye, causing vision loss. Similar deposits appear in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease and in the arteries in atherosclerosis,” said lead researcher, Francesca Marassi, PhD. “We want to understand why this happens and leverage this knowledge to develop new treatments.”
So the researchers set out to discover how the protein changes its structure at different temperatures and under different levels of pressure, illustrating what happens in the human eye over time.
The scientists found that when vitronectin is put under pressure, it subtly changes shape — a change that causes it to more easily bind to calcium ions in the blood.
According to the researchers, this is what leads to the buildup of calcified plaque deposits that are hallmarks of macular degeneration and other age-related diseases.
It’s a discovery that the researchers say will help them develop vision loss treatments that block the protein’s calcium binding.
Balancing calcium in your body
Calcified plaque deposits, whether in the vessels in your eyes or the ones in your heart, can obviously lead to systemic problems.
But calcium is a beneficial nutrient when the body has the right balance of other nutrients to help it do the jobs it’s meant for.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to help those processes and avoid the circulation problems excess calcium can cause…
For starters, unless your doctor has prescribed calcium supplements for a specific health condition, it’s best to get calcium from foods in your diet. That could help cut down on excess in the first place. Dairy foods are your best source, but also salmon, squash and almonds are good choices.
Everyone knows the symbiotic relationship between vitamin D and calcium. To absorb calcium efficiently, an adequate amount of vitamin D must be present in the body. We know many Americans, especially seniors have either insufficient or outright deficient vitamin D levels.
Another vital vitamin equally important to balance calcium is vitamin K2.
This important nutrient helps direct calcium from the bloodstream to our bones, where it belongs. Once there, vitamin D’s job begins.
The form of vitamin K2 that’s been studied for its circulatory benefits is known as “MK-7” and the most plentiful food source of K2 is a fermented Japanese food called natto. It can also be supplemented.
Lastly, natural chelators also help to flush excess calcium.
One such chelator is ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid or EDTA. EDTA chelation has been used for decades to bind with lead or other toxins to remove them from the bloodstream. During these processes, it was discovered that it also binds with rogue calcium and removes it from circulation via body waste.
So if your vision — and circulatory health — is working the way it should, kudus to you. But remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Editor’s note: Have you heard of EDTA chelation therapy? It was developed originally to remove lead and other contaminants, including heavy metals, from the body. Its uses now run the gamut from varicose veins to circulation. Click here to discover Chelation: Natural Miracle for Protecting Your Heart and Enhancing Your Health!
How a single protein could unlock age-related vision loss — ScienceDaily
Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatment — WebMD
LUCENTIS SIDE EFFECTS CENTER — RX List