Tag Archives: MS

Does Flax Seed Oil Have a Role in the Treatment of Dry Eye Syndrome

For strict dietary vegans flax meal may be the only option of increasing the omega 3 fatty acids, albeit an inefficient one. However, for most people flax seed oil’s role is very limited in the treatment of dry eye syndrome. Flax seed meal on the other hand may have a limited role. The biggest disadvantages to using flax seed oil is that you can’t cook with it (it is not stable above 160° F), it must be refrigerated and it has a short shelf life. Flax seed meal, on the other, hand can be used as a shortening substitute, has a very high fiber content, has a much longer shelf life and can be used in baking. Therefore, I would only recommend flax seed oil over omega 3 fatty acids derived from fish if someone did not like the texture of the flax seed meal or flax meal would be inappropriate in a particular recipe.

One of the best uses of flax seed meal is its high fiber content therefore, I would recommend flax seed meal in baking to increase our dietary fiber and any ALA (alpha linolenic acid) converted to the omega fatty acids is just an extra bonus. In addition, flax seeds are not digested by our bodies and should not be considered as a dietary source of fiber or omega 3 fatty acids. The flax seed’s shell is very hard and must be crushed if our bodies are to utilize it. Therefore, if you must rely on flax as a source of omega 3 fatty acids utilize flax seed meal.

This article is the fourth and final article in a series on Omega 3 fatty acids in the treatment of dry eye syndrome.


Which is a Better Source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids Fish Oil or Flax Seed Meal

The short answer, without question is fish oil. We have found better results by eliminating the flax seed oil and greatly increasing the EPA and DHA (we like 2000 mg to 3000 mg of EPA and DHA combined). Flax seed oil is very unstable and thus has a short shelf life at room temperature. Flax seed oil also does not contain omega 3 fatty acids, instead our bodies must convert the ALA (alpha linolenic acid) contained within the flax seed into the omega 3 fatty acids that can then be used by our bodies. Another disadvantage to flax seed oil is that our body’s conversion of flax seed oil to EPA or DHA is very inefficient. The conversion ALA to EPA/DHA rate has been reported to be between 4% and 15% (worse for DHA than EPA and lower for men than women). A person’s conversion rate can vary based on many factors. Therefore, fish is a much better and efficient source of omega 3 fatty acids.

This article is the third in the four part series on using omega 3 fatty acids in treating dry eye syndrome

Selecting the Right Fish Oil Capsule for Dry Eye Relief

As eye doctors we recommend that our patients with dry eyes increase their dietary intake of omega 3 fatty acids. Our typical dosage is 2000 mg to 3000 mg in a combination of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This translates into 4 oz of wild, Atlantic salmon per day. Regardless of how much we like salmon we probably don’t want it every day no matter how many different ways there are to fix it, therefore fish oil capsules are a necessary dietary supplement. Unfortunately, not all fish oil capsules are created equal. Often inferior and/or low dose varieties cause “fish burp” and indigestion while others can not be efficiently used by our bodies. Here is an article on how to evaluate the different types of omega 3 fish oil capsules.

This article is the second of a four part series on using omega 3 fatty acids in treating dry eye syndrome


Study Shows 70% of Dry Eye Patients Improve with Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

A hot topic currently in medicine revolves around the multiple benefits of increasing the Omega 3 Fatty Acids in our western diets. At Total Eye Care we have recommended increasing the essential fatty acids in our diet for many years. A pilot study, conducted by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, on the efficacy Omega 3 Fatty Acids in the treatment of dry eye syndrome was published in the journal Cornea. 36 patients with dry eye syndrome were involved in the study. The control group was given a placebo and the study group was given a daily dose of 450 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), 300 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and 1000 mg of flaxseed oil. The patient’s symptoms and objective findings were assessed at baseline and then again 90 days later.

The objective findings suggested that there was increased tear production as well as an improvement in fluorophotometry (the assessment of the tears with fluorescein dye), however more importantly 70% of the study group experienced an improvement in their symptoms versus only 7% of the control group. This data compares well with what we see clinically at Total Eye Care.

This article is the first in a four part series on using omega 3 fatty acids in the treatment of dry eye syndrome


Dr. Diana Driscoll With an Exciting Ehlers-Danlos Update

What a journey this has been! Although a very challenging time, I feel incredibly blessed to know so many others on the same path. Please know that you help me, likely much more than I help you!

I wanted to reach out to those of you who suffer from POTS (or any autonomic dysfunction). This has been the most difficult aspect for most of us to deal with, and those of you who know me, understand. The symptoms can include the inability to stand beyond a few minutes, tachycardia, digestive issues, poor temperature control, anxiety, tremors, balance problems, twitches, myoclonus, fasciculation, memory problems, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, weakness, hormonal fluctuations, difficulty breathing, and… well, why don’t we just stop there and take a breath?

We’ve also noticed that too many people with EDS also develop multiple sclerosis. Some of you are aware that a soft cervical collar at night time has helped us, as has Diamox (a diuretic that crosses the blood-brain barrier, taking fluid pressure off of our brains). This has been a consistent finding, but no one has been able to explain to me why it helps, and why it doesn’t eliminate the problem entirely, which has been a great source of frustration for many of us.

While researching EDS, M.S. and POTS, and considering my own symptomology and yours (and I’ll confess to being my own guinea pig, too), I’ve come up with a theory about what is happening, why, and what we can do about it. It’s a bit complicated to go into too much detail here, but understand that it all relates to sluggish flow of the CSF and our change in posture causing the brain to sink and rise, leading to chronic brain edema and a type of “normal pressure hydrocephalus”.

Because my son and I became symptomatic after a virus (although we had small symptoms that we could ignore prior to the viral attacks), I believed that the virus, or its antibodies, somehow began the cascade of symptoms. But because our children and my sisters and mother also had an interesting constellation of symptoms, I felt there was also a hereditary component to our poor CSF and/or veinous drainage from our brains.

As many of you know, Diamox has relieved much of the pressure on my brain, but now I will be having some imaging done to see if I have any blockages in my veins that could be opened (with a balloon or stent) to help with the condition. This is such a difficult condition to treat because it is dynamic (it changes with position, for example), yet medications are static (they cause one change).

I was beginning to show signs of multiple sclerosis, which is also not unusual for EDS patients. Research is expanding quickly and I will have some new information for you soon, I’m sure.

Until then, never give up.