Treatment by Supplementing the Body’s Natural Oils
Eye Care Patient Education for The Villages and Ocala, FL
What are Essential Fatty Acids?
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are important for the body’s health. Here’s why: EFAs’ produce energy, govern growth, and are responsible for our vitality and mental state. In fact, every cell of the body needs fatty acids to thrive. A deficiency of EFAs has been linked to many diseases and disorders. They are also believed to affect how the body’s glands produce oil. Because of this, increasing the intake of EFAs may improve conditions such as dry eyes and dry skin.
Some Fats are Healthy
The body does not produce EFAs, so they must be supplied through diet. There are two basic categories of EFAs: Omega-3 and Omega-6. An ideal diet includes a ratio of four parts Omega-6 to one part Omega-3. The Omega-6 EFAs are found in raw nuts, (almonds, walnuts and their oils), seeds (sesame, sunflower and their oils), borage oil, grape seed oil, primrose oil, soybean oil, whole grains, and legumes. Omega-3 EFAs are found in cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring. They are also in certain vegetables, flaxseeds, walnuts and canola oil.
It is essential to consume EFAs properly for the body to receive their full benefit. EFAs are destroyed with heat, causing free radicals to form. Free radicals are atoms with an unpaired electron. Simply put, if not re-paired with their atoms, these electrons collide with healthy cells and cause damage. Fatty acids are sometimes hydrogenated into solids such as margarine. The body converts this type of fat into trans-fatty acids that are harmful and may increase the risk of arteriosclerosis and other diseases.
How Can I Add EFAs to My Diet?
Flaxseeds provide one way to incorporate EFAs into the diet. They come in several forms: oil, capsules, and powder. Scientist Patricia Kane suggests grinding the seeds in a coffee grinder, food processor, or blender, storing the unused portion in the freezer. She believes ground flaxseeds travel through the intestinal tract more slowly and are better absorbed by the body. Three tablespoons of ground flaxseed are equivalent to two tablespoons of whole seeds.
The following is a suggested regimen:
Finding the right regimen appropriate for your body and incorporating it into your lifestyle of key. The ideal dosage for each individual varies and is dependent on the severity of the symptoms. Many find that blurred vision caused by dry eyes is improved after just a few days. Remember, taking the proper dosage consistently is important for the best result.
EFAs and Dry Eye Syndrome
Adding EFAs to your diet can improve discomfort from dry eyes and skin. Even though it may seem inconvenient at times, most are so pleased with the improvement that supplementing the diet becomes a small sacrifice.
Information linking EFAs and dry eyes is not yet available in medical literature. However there are many articles, books, and studies that suggest EFAs can improve overall health by lowering serum cholesterol levels and preventing and even reversing arteriosclerosis.
There is no perfect cure for dry eye syndrome, but taking these simple steps, along with other treatments your doctor may suggest, can give relief from the frustrating symptoms.
This information is provided solely as a public service and is based on information presented by Paul Honan, MD at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons convention, Boston, Massachusetts, May 2000. The increased caloric intake should be balanced with an appropriate exercise program.