Vision Loss and Anxiety Linked
I am seeing many more clients with vision loss and anxiety than when I began my business. Given the stress of the past few years its no wonder that doctors are now being told to screen everyone under the age of 50 for symptoms of anxiety. In our clinic we have seen a marked shift toward more patients discovering that what they thought of as “normal” is actually a state of fight/flight/freeze. It’s almost as if we need to shake off the PTSD we all experienced during the pandemic in order to eventually return to some semblance of normal. This overwhelming change in the tenor of our patient population is shown in the statistical evidence nationwide as well. One in three adults report feeling anxiety or depression and the incidence of suicide has begun to increase after a brief dip. Those most impacted by this are the communities of color and youth.
So if we assume that the last few years of dealing with pandemic and having less social interaction plays a part in the overall mental health of the population, what can we do about it? Current research has shown(1) that as we gradually have access to less and less vitamins and minerals in our food the incidence of anxiety and depression have risen accordingly. I have noticed in my practice that, especially with younger people, the problem is becoming especially acute. Despite having a “clean diet” low in carbs and processed foods and incorporating mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation our young people are struggling to stay afloat psychologically and its getting worse fast.
Studies Support This Approach
Qualitatively, according to the following study, when 66 college-age students were given a multi-vitamin and mineral complex “Compared to placebo-controlled group, the MVM supplementation group showed a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms.” This means that almost all of the group that got supplemented with minerals and vitamins got better scores on a self-reporting anxiety scale ( 2 ). This study was a 30 day double-blind placebo level study, the gold-standard in the medical world. The fact that such a little bit of intervention can make a huge impact on one’s life is very heartening. Now we just have to make sure that everyone has access to adequate sources of fresh fruit and vegetables and quality supplements. I find that personally, its difficult to eat enough leafy, green vegetables to keep up with the mineral requirements for a healthy tissues and the repairs that an active life requires.
I see a similar situation with chronic pain and auto-immunity patients as well, and most recently with vision patients. When one’s vision is threatened it can be very challenging to keep your chin up, especially when there can be limited guidance regarding lifestyle changes that could support recovery from one’s doctor. The “wait and see if it gets worse” model of health care is incredibly short-sighted and basically invites anxiety in for many patients. But how do we support ourselves in our daily activities so that our body can begin to heal? This is where Chinese Medicine shines, as the small lifestyle changes done appropriately for one’s underlying pattern can have tremendous results.
Chinese Medicine Focuses on the Internal Organs
From a very straightforward vitamin and mineral approach it is simply not possible to ingest the amount of plant material that should provide a full day of vitamins/minerals because there just isn’t the capacity in the human digestive system to handle that much plant material. We would need a few more stomachs, much like a cow, to be able to process that much roughage. So, if malnutrition is rampant, and when malnutrition goes on for long enough that initiates tissue breakdown, are we basically calling in our own issues with our diet? Possibly. And given that the eyes are some of the most delicate and specialized tissues in the body they will often be the first to show signs of distress, meaning that vision loss could that be seen as a wake up call to begin to calm the CNS, reorient the immune system and repair the eyes? I believe so.
We can we see the eyes as the canary in the coal mine in terms of future health challenges beginning to manifest in our bodies. The anxiety that exists in conjunction with the vision challenges just exacerbates the problem by keeping the CNS in a sympathetic state of “fight or flight” while it needs to be in parasympathetic state of “rest and digest” in order to heal. Many studies have shown that acupuncture and herbs can be very effective in calming the CNS and allowing the body to learn, and eventually stay, in healing states which can then enable tissue repair to begin (3). If you would like to speak about how proper nutrition could help you give us a call.
This website is for informational purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative, or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to see the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.