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Tips for Keeping the Gut-Eye Connection Healthy

Dr. Rani's Recommendations for a Healthy Gut and Healthy Eyes


gut bacteria floating through intestinal lining with microvilli
The gut microbiome is diverse and is involved in the regulation of many other organ systems, including our visual system.

The gut-eye axis is a novel discovery and much of the research on this connection is still in its infancy. We have so much to learn about the exact mechanisms linking gut health to ocular disease.


However, one thing is clear - not just for vision health, but for overall health - it is important to maintain a healthy gut microbiome to help support healthy vision. It is best to support the gut-eye connection by managing gut dysbiosis and reducing intestinal permeability.  


Tips for Healthy Gut-Eye Connection


Here are some simple, yet effective tips by which you can support a healthy gut-eye connection using nutrition and the principles of functional medicine -


Photo of a high-fiber breakfast of oats and fruits
A high-fiber breakfast of oats and fruits is a wonderful way to support the gut microbiome.

1. A high-fiber diet


A high-fiber diet will promote certain bacteria to be more pre­dominant in the gut, and these bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids that promote regulatory T cell differentiation and reduce the propensity to develop ocular inflammation.


2. Probiotic and prebiotic foods


Certain strains of commensal bacteria found in the gut tend to be anti-inflammatory. A diet rich in live probiotics, foods such as kimchi, yogurt, sauerkraut, and fermented vegetables, can help maintain gut diversity. Also, prebiotic foods such as those that provide resistant starches, inulin, soluble fiber, and beta glucan can help support a healthy gut microbiome. 


Image of Balance, a high-quality, shelf-stable probiotic with over 50 billion CFUs 50 billion
A quality, shelf-stable probiotic that provides a high CFU count and multiple bacterial strains, such as Balance, can help keep your gut and eyes healthy.

3. Supplementation


Taking probiotic, prebiotic, and even postbiotic supplements can be beneficial. It is important to choose a probiotic with a high colony forming unit count and a diversity of bacterial strains.


Consider a probiotic formulation curated for eye health called BalanceBalance is part of the eye health supplement line, Ageless by Dr Rani. It provides 10 bacterial strains most backed by research. 


Postbiotics are short chain fatty acids that are by-products of intestinal bacteria and are believed to help to decrease inflammatory pathways. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory, DHA and EPA, also supports eye health on multiple levels.


4. Hydration


Staying well-hydrated is essential for both gut and eye health. Proper hydration can contribute to healthy elimination of waste products by the gut, as well as promote tear production and maintain the mucous membranes of the eyes.


people meditating in a sequence
Meditation is an effective way to help modulate stress.

5. Stress Management


Chronic stress can negatively impact the gut microbiome and contribute to inflammation. Adoption of stress management techniques like mindfulness, meditation, or yoga can be helpful.


6. Regular Exercise


Physical activity has been linked to a healthier gut microbiome and can contribute to overall well-being, including eye health.


 

Additional strategies on the horizon to support the gut-eye axis may include: 


pill bottle with small round, white pills spilling out onto a table
Select antibiotics may be used to help restore a healthy gut microbiome.

1. Antibiotics


Changing intestinal bacteria with a targeted antibiot­ic has been shown to dramatically reduce the severity of ex­perimental autoimmune uveitis based on animal models. This is believed to occur through bacterial changes in the gut that promote regulatory T cell differentiation. Targeted antibiotics may prove to be a useful strategy to heal gut dysbiosis along with ocular inflammation.


image of stool sample being collected over a toilet with a collection tube
Fecal microbial transplants are being investigated to help restore a healthy gut microbiome.

2. Fecal microbial transplants


A healthy person’s stool can be harvested and transplant­ed via colonoscopy, nasogastric tube, or an enema into the gastrointestinal tract of a person with disease. It is well established that in cases of C. difficile infection, a fecal transplant is generally successful in eradicat­ing infection, especially in the setting of ulcerative colitis. Once commensal and pathogenic bacterial strains for ocular disease can be reliably identified, as well as healthy donors, fecal transplant for ocular disease management may be a treatment strategy to keep in mind for the future.


Summary 


As the intricacies of the gut-eye connection continue to be unraveled, it becomes increasingly clear that the state of the gut microbiome, often influenced by dietary and lifestyle choices, can have far-reaching effects on the health of the eyes.


By nurturing the gut, it may be possible to unlock new possibilities for protecting and preserving vision. As research advances, so too does our understanding of how healthy vision can be supported using integrative strategies.

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