Being far-sighted about nearsightedness
Question: Almost everyone in our family has worn glasses since childhood. My daughter is pregnant, and I have to wonder--is there any way to fight this family pattern?
Dr. Wright: I'm always a little sad when I meet a small child wearing glasses everywhere he or she goes. It's bad enough that most of us start to need them when we're 40, but a small child should be able to run, play, and enjoy childhood activities without being inhibited by glasses.
Most of the time, nearsightedness (technically known as myopia) is to blame for children needing glasses. Myopia is an often-progressive condition in which the eyeballs gradually become deformed, and proper focus of light from the lens of the eye to the retina is no longer possible.
Based on Dr. Arthur Alexander Knapp's research with adults, I'm willing to make three predictions about stabilizing, preventing, and/or reversing myopia in children.
First: Sufficient calcium (balanced with magnesium) and vitamin D during pregnancy and every year thereafter will ultimately be found to prevent childhood myopia.
Second: If a child is starting to develop myopia, sufficient calcium (balanced with magnesium) and vitamin D will halt the progression, and in some cases reverse it partially--or even completely.
How much vitamin D and calcium do I recommend to a prospectively pregnant woman?
First, I recommend one tablespoonful daily of a vitamin D-containing fish oil, such as cod liver oil. That would provide part of the vitamin D, but also a good quantity of omega-3 fatty acids, which research has shown to improve motor skill development in the first few years after birth. But as beneficial as it is, fish oil won't provide enough vitamin D on its own, so I also recommend taking vitamin D supplements as well. The daily dose for all adults, including prospective mothers, should be 5,000 IU daily. In addition to the fish oil and vitamin D, I also recommend 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, balanced with 300 to 400 milligrams of magnesium.
Newborn infants, on the other hand, don't need quite so high a dose of vitamin D. Instead, I recommend 2,000 IU per day.
And that brings me to my final prediction...
Third: Infants born to mothers who took 1 tablespoonful of vitamin D-containing fish oil daily (along with extra vitamin D and at least 1,000 milligrams calcium balanced with 300 to 400 milligrams of magnesium) before and during pregnancy, and who are then given 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily (slowly increased as they grow older) will have 80 percent less myopia (and 80 percent less need for glasses) than children whose mothers didn't do any of this for them.
So if you don't want your grandchildren wearing glasses before they're in their 40s (and maybe even lessen their chances of that, too) share this with your daughter now. And urge her to work with a physician skilled and knowledgeable in natural, nutritionally oriented medicine--one who knows how to test vitamin D levels.
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About the author
Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. has degrees from both Harvard University (cum laude) and the University of Michigan. More than any other doctor, he practically invented the modern science of applied nutritional biochemistry and he has advanced nutritional medicine for nearly three decades.
As of today, Dr. Wright has received over 35,000 patient visits at his now-famous Tahoma Clinic in Washington State.
To learn more about Dr. Wright, and to sign up for his free Health e-Tips eLetter, please visit www.wrightnewsletter.com.