How to prevent glaucoma from worsening with Intermittent fasting

How to prevent glaucoma from worsening with Intermittent fasting

How to prevent glaucoma from worsening with Intermittent fasting



What is Intermittent Fasting


Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern with alternative cycles of fasting and eating. It is one of most popular healthy diet plans in the world these days. Many studies show the benefits of intermittent fasting for improving metabolic health of the body and preventing many diseases and also its benefits for weight loss.

Every-other-day fasting (EODF) is a form of intermittent fasting in which there is fasting in one day and in the next day, you can eat whatever you want and repeating this cycle.

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions with high intraocular pressure that causes progressive irreversible damages to retinal ganglion cells layer and their axons. The axons of retinal ganglion cells form the optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain. These damages are caused mainly by oxidative stress, neurotrophic factors deprivation and failure of axonal transport.

In multiple studies, every-other-day fasting was found to prevent retinal degeneration and increase the thickness of inner retinal layers and the number of neurons in ganglion cell layer in eyes with glaucoma.

It has no profound effect in intraocular pressure other than temporary reduction in eye pressure that is caused mainly by dehydration from fluid restriction.



How Intermittent fasting can prevent glaucoma from worsening


There are multiple pathways known to be affected by Every-other-day fasting or intermittent fasting:

1- Every-other-day fasting (EODF) Increases the blood level of β-hydroxybutyrate (β-HB) during the fasting days. β-HB is one of ketone bodies that are produced by degradation of long fatty acid in the liver under many conditions such as fasting and keto diet (high-fat and low-carbohydrate).

Ketone bodies serve as fuel to brain in conditions were blood glucose is low. Ketone bodies were found to have antioxidation mechanism with neuroprotective properties. β-hydroxybutyrate has been shown to decrease neuronal cells death in patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Also, studies found it can have therapeutic roles in stress induced conditions such as extensive burns, hemorrhagic shock and cerebral ischemia.



A high concentration of Histone acetylation was found to the retina of patients with EODF. β-hydroxybutyrate inhibits the activity of histone deacetylase enzymes. Histone acetylation upregulates the expressions of multiple neurotrophic factors and oxidative stress resistance factors in the retina. These factors contribute to the increased antioxidant properties, reduced oxidative stress levels, and retinal ganglion cells neuroprotection in retina.

Another ocular benefits of β-hydroxybutyrate was found in dry eyes. It has a protective role in corneal epithelial cells in patients with dry eyes by reducing corneal epithelial cells degeneration and apoptosis.

2- EODF has direct effect on the cell death pathways by promoting multiple anti-apoptotic proteins such as apoptosis repressor with a caspase recruitment domain, which inhibits caspase-2 activity and reduces cytochrome C release from the mitochondria.

Caspase 2 play an important role in degeneration of ganglion cells layer in diseases such as glaucoma and optic neuropathies so inhibition of this factor can be very helpful in prevention of ganglion cell layer degeneration.



3- Every-other-day fasting upregulates the BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). BDNF is very important for the survival of retinal ganglion cells and it slows the death of these cells in patients with glaucoma and optic neuropathies such as traumatic optic neuropathy. Basic fibroblast growth factor is one of the neuroprotective factors of the retina.

4- EODF Upregulates Catalase enzyme which has anti-oxidant properties and it helps to reduce ganglion cells loss.


In Bottom Line

Every-other-day fasting increases the level of neuroprotective factors and reduces the level of oxidative stress on the retina and prevents visual impairment in patients with Glaucoma.



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