Although for people who are over age 66, the sources of protein matter less than the right dose for one's individual body type, what the kidneys can handle, and what the eyes won't be harmed, the question arises of what's too much when it comes to protein, especially protein powders rather than getting protein from foods, whether vegan or animal and fish sources.
In addition, many seniors want to know whether specific vitamins such as C and E or special foods can help to lower the risk of kidney disease. Yes those vitamins in moderation can help. Also specific nutrients that may offer some protection to your kidneys are COQ10 (coenzyme Q10), resveratrol, omega-3 fatty acids, silymarin (extracted from milk thistle), and lipoic acid. Bad or injurious in excess for the kidneys include too much meat protein and certain types of sweet soda pop. Keep the idea of balance in mind when it comes to foods.
What happens is when you eat excess meat, it results in high AGE production
In plain language AGE refers to advanced glycation end products. You don't want your food rusting your kidneys, to speak figuratively. Kidney tissue then may become inflamed, resulting in injury. Be cautious and careful when you're eating specific amounts of protein. Are Sacramento schools feeding your children an excess of protein and carbs, an excess of fats, or a balance of meat, carbs, and fats?
If you have some degree of kidney dysfunction, watch your dietary protein consumption. The question is which is worse for the kidneys, excess meat protein or vegetable protein powders? Studies to date associate excess meat protein more with kidney damage and excess vegetable protein diets more with glaucoma, whereas excess carbs are linked more to studies of cataracts. Note the emphasis in the studies is on excess.
Other risks to kidney health include hypertension, elevated serum glucose, commonly used medications that have kidney-related side effects, and excess fatty tissue
Body fat contributes to the production of inflammatory cytokines "specific to fatty tissue." Some nutrients suggested in the article include COQ10, resveratrol, and omega-3 fatty acids.
According to the March, 2010 issue of Life Extension magazines article, "Innovative Strategies to Combat Kidney disease,"Innovative Strategies to Combat Kidney Disease – Life Extension by Julius Goepp, MD, protein over-consumption of particularly meat protein may tax the kidneys to "the point of distress." By consuming high-protein diets far to excess to lose weight has the unintended consequences of boosting rates of kidney damage and disease, according to the article (page 29).
Basically, omega-3 fatty acids help to cool down inflammation, which may contribute to better kidney health. But you don't want so much of one fatty acids that the other fatty acids become imbalanced
The magazine article also recommends additional nutrients including folate (folic acid) and vitamins C and E (with all the toctrienols). According to the magazine article, the four "complementary kidney protectors" are Coenzyme Q10, silymarin (extracted from milk thistle), resveratrol, and lipoic acid. (But be careful of lipoic acid, as high doses of certain types of lipoic acid have been known to cause rapid heart beat issues.) Check with your health care team. You may need to balance your omega 3, 6, 7, and 9 fatty acids from your diet in the proportions that are right for you.
You also want to eat foods that fight ALEs. In plain language, ALE refers to the term "advanced lipoxidation end products." It's known as a "deadly catalyst for kidney disease." The Life Extension magazine article lists some medical journal articles in its footnotes related to this topic and studies of ALEs and AGEs. Also, advanced glycosylation end-products (AGEs) are believed to play a significant role in the development of vascular complicationsin diabetic patients. One such product, AGE-LDL, has been shownto be immunogenic.
The Life Extension magazine article also mentions that, "nutrients such as P5P fight AGEs and ALEs." P5P refers to a nutrient known as "pyridoxal-5-phosphate." Some chemotherapy drugs may also damage your kidneys. Check with your doctor or other health care team professional who's tailoring your food to your individual body's needs.
For those not taking chemotherapy for any reason, it's high-protein diets that could injure your kidneys. It's the excess protein. Interestingly, pyridoxamine or pyridoxal-5-phosphate is mentioned in the Life Extension magazine article as a "potent kidney defense." Talk with your health care team to find out what foods or other nutrients are right for you. What do the tests show before and after any particular diet or nutrient?
Are you aware of numerous reports of excess protein and glaucoma risk? Some eye doctors recommend that people eat a diet of 50 percent raw vegetables and fruits daily because there are connections of excess vanadium and protein powders to glaucoma. And a deficiency of chromium is related to glaucoma. It's also known that glaucoma runs in families. There's a genetic risk. But it's a risk and not destiny.
Can excess protein consumption increase your risk of glaucoma?
If you’re worried about getting glaucoma, ask your doctor for a chromium test because chromium deficiency is connected with glaucoma. You might research more information pertaining to how nutrition is related to specific eye problems at the Nutritional Optometry Institute in Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey.
Read the article at the Nutritional Optometry Institute site titled, "Too Much Protein." Also,see the article titled "What Eye Doctors are Telling Patients about Nutrition."
A passage from the article at the "Too Much Protein" site reads, "Many of my patients who have vision problems are consuming more than double and even triple the RDAs of protein——and most of the average American’s protein is from flesh protein sources——foods such as beef, lamb, pork, chicken, duck, turkey, fish, and shellfish. Some nutritionists have criticized the RDAs as being too low; nonetheless, considering longevity, vitality, reproductive adequacy, and freedom from morbidity as appropriate measures of success, the RDA for protein is quite sufficient."
The problem also, according to article at the "Too Much Protein" site notes, "One consequence of taking in too much phosphorus and too little calcium (and magnesium as well) is a syndrome called “secondary hyperthyroidism.” This condition is probably heavily implicated in osteoporosis and, according to my evidence, is a principal cause of increased distensibility of the sclera (the white outer coat of the eyes), allowing more rapid development of nearsightedness (myopia) and other refractive changes."
Find out how nutrition plays a role in preventing and controlling glaucoma. One of the studies done at Columbia, University, NY that is mentioned in the book Healing with Vitamins, (2008), on page 272, found that persons with chromium deficiency that were eating too many foods containing vanadium, a common trace mineral had a higher risk for getting glaucoma.
Vanadium is found in dulse, kelp, and other seaweed as well as in large marine fish and in the fish meal made of marine-phosphate fed to poultry. Find out whether you need more chromium, if you’ve been eating refined foods or foods containing a lot of sugar. Chromium is used by the eye muscles to focus.
When you read and focus too much, too much fluid can be produced inside your eyes. If the fluid doesn’t drain well, the pressure builds. The cycle repeats with fewer nutrients reaching the optic nerve, and poor circulation in the retina.
Regarding protein powders, doctors are seeing healthy men in their twenties and thirties with glaucoma. Is the culprit too large a dose of protein powder? Vitamin B6 often is removed from some protein powders that also may have other nutrients removed. But vitamin B6 is essential to make and replace certain proteins that are required by the eyes for proper circulation and fluid balance.
According to a sentence in the “Food Factors” box on page 273 in the book titled, Healing with Vitamins (Rodale Health Books), “As a result, these lower-quality proteins seem to be contributing to restricted fluid movement in the eyes and the development of pigmentary glaucoma.”
Sure, many other proteins in your diet contribute to glaucoma. But according to page 273 in “Food Factors” in the book titled, Healing with Vitamins, a passage reads, “protein powders deliver protein in such high levels it seems to be accelerating the process in some men.” Also people with diabetes and those with glaucoma are both frequently found to be low in chromium. So you don’t want to be low in chromium and high in valadium.
Besides getting chromium in your multiple vitamins, if the labels say it contains chromium, you can take trace minerals; multiple minerals, a tiny amount with a GTF chromium supplement, or a tiny amount such as 200mcg or less with chromium supplement such as Chrome Mate, or find foods rich in chromium. Some foods rich in chromium are grape juice, egg yolks, brewer’s yeast, fruits, and vegetables. The Daily Value for chromium is just 120 mcg. Don’t take too much because it’s a metal.
Don’t take vitamin C with chromium at the same time such as taking it together in a multiple vitamin because the vitamin C interferes with your body’s absorption of chromium. Chromium affects your blood sugar levels. For more information, see pages 273-274 of the book titled, Healing with Vitamins (Rodale Health Books).
What you do want to get plenty of is your Omega 3 fatty acids that you find in the good quality fish oils. You want to cut down on sugar and eat more green vegetables. Taking a lot of protein powders is not good. You don’t want protein delivered in such high levels as found in many of those powders.
Which Vitamins in Foods Protect Your Eyesight?
You'd need at least 100 percent of daily requirements of vitamin C from a variety of sources. For example, three kiwi fruits contain only about 20% of your daily requirement of vitamin C. What you want to add to this diet is more sources of vitamin C as well as a balance of selenium and magnesium from nuts such as almonds. As the selenium from the nuts stimulates the immune system, it also protects the carotenoids from the carrot juice and other fruits and vegetables from oxidative damage.
To protect against degenerative age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy, magnesium in foods helps to relaxes the smooth muscles in your eyes that regulate the outflow of fluids from the inner eye. You don't want fluid build-up in your eyes that leads to the onset of glaucoma.
You may wish to start with two handfuls of almonds or cashew nuts each day. For example, one cup of almonds or hazelnuts also provides a sufficient amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E to help to fight off degenerative ocular and vascular alterations leading to glaucoma and AMD. What you need to do is combine nuts with foods that contain a balance of zinc to copper and vitamin C.
That's where seafood comes in providing a combination of zinc with your other foods containing vitamin C. Try some canned wild-caught salmon mixed with chopped vegetables on a salad or sandwich.
Wild-caught salmon that's canned is from the overrun and is the same fish you'd buy fresh for $16 a pound or more. But since it's the overrun of the wild-caught catch, it's canned and priced more like $4. What's in the salmon is the Omega 3 fatty acids. Or you can take fish oil that's purified to help protect your eyes from the ravages of oxidation.
The reason for eating certain wild-caught fish like salmon or taking purified fish oils high in Omega 3 fatty acids such as EPA and especially DHA in balance is that these fatty acids help to restore vascular health when balanced with amounts of Omega 9 oil from avocados or almonds and Omega 6 oils from extra virgin olive oil or other nut oils.
The Omega 3 fatty acids helps to keep your optical nerve response in your eyes and vascular eye health from rapid aging and degeneration. As your eyes age, your eyes lose the necessary omega-3 fatty acids. When the omega 3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA is lost, your eyes begin to increase deposits of oxidized compounds helping to cause age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
You may need a balance of zinc and copper in your diet. One example of a food high in zinc is oysters. Some types of gourd squash (calabash) also are high in zinc. Oysters contain about 100 times more zinc than any other marine animals. Zinc is an essential component of many enzymes, including those producing light-sensing retinal from vitamin A.
Without zinc, beta-carotene (found in carrots) will not prevent night blindness and other adverse effects of vitamin A deficiency. Zinc also helps to prevent other eye diseases caused by oxidative stress, including glaucoma, cataracts, and poor night vision. Four oysters daily help to maintain healthy zinc levels.
To get carotenes, if you don't like carrots, try melons, peaches, tomatoes, plums, and red grapes or mix all of these in a salad of fruits and vegetables. The carotenes help with night vision by aiding the transmission of light signals in retinal cells. But you also need to balance orange and green vegetables and fruits.
That's where raw spinach salads or juices come in. You could also add a teaspoon of barley green powder to spinach and water or other vegetable juice in a blender and drink a green juice each day. Or eat spinach in a salad as well as other dark green leafy vegetables such as Lacinado kale or romaine lettuce. Carotenoids also are green as well as orange or yellow.
Cooked spinach and carrots have about the same amounts of beta-carotene. But spinach has lutein and zeaxanthin. You could also buy lutein powder as a supplement that contains zeaxanthin. Try to get lutein and zeaxanthin in fresh vegetables as much as possible. but don't overdose. Your body needs to keep in balance in anything you put into it.
As the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin build up in your eyes, they help to protect your eyes from ultra violet light in the sun. If too much sun gets in the eyes, it could promote the development of cataracts in someone without the ability to absorb the vitamins from foods that help protect the eyes against ultra violet light from the sun. But if you stay out of the sun, you'll get less vitamin D3. Or you could wear wrap-around sunglasses to protect your vision, provided that the sunglasses screen out 100 percent of the ultra violet (UV) light.
Broccoli is good for your eyes because it contains one fifth the recommended daily dose of vitamins C, A, E, B2, lutein, and zeaxanthin. With broccoli, also eat blueberries. The berries have around 30 percent of your daily vitamin C needs and are good for the brain as well. Boiling broccoli takes out the good nutrients into the water. Steam broccoli or cut it up raw and puree it or put it into a salad or a smoothie.
As you eat blueberries, the minerals and other vitamins in the berries help to restore visual acuity when you leave a brightly lighted room or outdoors and walk into a dark room, such as a dark theater. In the 1940s, pilots were fed bilberry, related to the blueberry to help their eyes adjust to flying at night. The blueberries today would help your eyes adjust more quickly to going from light to darkness. Today, berries are eaten to help relieve computer eye fatigue also called Computer Eye Syndrome (CES).
Other fruits helpful to eyesight are mangoes because of the combination of high amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin A, and crypthoxanthin, a carotenoid found in mangos, along with vitamin E. When you eat a fruit that combines the crypthoxanthin with the vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), the combination of vitamins with vitamin C all work to help reduce eye pressure, and protect against oxidative damage.
You don't want pressure inside your eyes from fluid build-up to lead to glaucoma. That's why a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are good for the eyes. Just make sure you don't overdo the fruits that build up sugar spikes in your blood, causing too much insulin to be released in your bloodstream, which in turn, could lead to metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, which ages you faster.
Carbs and Cataracts
According to the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, in a July 2005 news report titled, "High Carbs May Boost Cataract Risk," high carbohydrate diets were linked with a greater risk of cataracts in a study of 417 women age 53 to 73.
New details about the association between high carbohydrates and cataract risk have emerged from a study reported in the June 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (volume 81, pages 1411-1416). Does exposure to excess glucose damage the lenses of the eyes over time?
Cataracts are a major cause of blindness worldwide and afflict an estimated 20 million Americans. Scientists don't know what links high-carbohydrate intake to increased cataract risk.
Possibly, increased exposure to glucose, a breakdown product of carbohydrates, might damage our eyes' lenses. Read the entire July 2005 news report, High Carbs May Boost Cataract Risk, at the US Department of Agriculture’s Food & Nutrition Research Briefs site.
Women who ate an average of 200 to 268 grams of carbohydrates each day were more than twice as likely to develop cortical cataracts, than women whose meals provided between 101 and 185 grams by day's end
That's according to the ARS-funded scientists at the ARS Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA. The recommended daily allowance for carbohydrates for adults and children is 130 grams. Researchers analyzed eye exam results and 14 years' worth of food records collected from 417 women, aged 53 to 73.
The women, participants in the nationwide Nurses' Health Study, did not have a history of cataracts but were recently diagnosed with the disease. Research continues to see what the links are between simple carbs and the formation of cataracts.
That's why a balanced diet is important. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), "Improved vitamin A nutrition could prevent up to 2.5 million deaths annually among children under 5 years." Vitamin A for the Children of the World Task Force Sight and Life, 2000. According to the Center for Disease Control's article, "International Micronutrient Prevention and Control Program," in 2000, CDC established the International Micronutrient Malnutrition Prevention and Control (IMMPaCt) Program.
The program goal is to work with global partners to contribute CDC skills and resources to eliminate vitamin and mineral deficiencies as public health problems among vulnerable populations throughout the world, particularly for iron, vitamin A, iodine, and folic acid. The problems related to eye sight focuses on issues of what can be done about nutritional deficiencies around the world.
How can the risk blindness due to nutritional deficiencies around the world be lowered?
Here are examples of how the International Micronutrient Malnutrition Prevention and Control (IMMPaCt) Program works with global partners to contribute CDC skills and resources to eliminate vitamin and mineral deficiencies (micronutrient malnutrition) among vulnerable populations throughout the world. Established by the CDC in 2000, IMMPaCt focuses primarily on helping eliminate deficiencies in iron, vitamin A, iodine, and folic acid.The problem of vitamin A deficiency.
Vitamin A deficiency causes night blindness and is the single most important cause of childhood blindness in developing countries. Every year, about 500,000 children lose their sight as a result of vitamin A deficiency. The majority (about 70%) die within one year of losing their sight.
Vitamin A deficiency increases the risk of severe illness, and even death, from common childhood infections such as diarrheal diseases and measles. In developing countries 200-300 million children of preschool age are at risk of vitamin A deficiency.
Vitamin A deficiency may increase the risk of maternal mortality in pregnant women. Nearly 600,000 women die from childbirth-related causes each year, the vast majority of them from complications which could be reduced through better nutrition, such as vitamin A.
If you're over age 66, when it comes to how your body handles protein, your stage in life matters
A new paper published in March 2014 explores the role of dietary protein from the cellular level to the population level. And it doesn't make a difference if the protein comes from vegan sources or meat, if you're over age 66. But for young and middle-aged people, the study explained that the source of the protein mattered. For those young and middle-aged people (in the study) whose sources of protein were heavily plant-based — nuts and legumes — the increased risk of dying of cancer declined and the increased risk of all-cause mortality disappeared altogether.
If you're over age 66, the source of proteins was less important, according to the study. As people age and muscles weaken or turn to fat, in order to reduce the frailty that advances with age, by eating a certain amount of protein could help reduce the loss of weight and muscle mass numerous seniors experience if the older adults have a higher intake of a nutrient that helps sustain and build muscles and maintains a healthy weight.
You may want to check out a March 4, 2014 Los Angeles Times article by Melissa Healy, "High-protein diets: Bad for the middle-aged, good for the elderly," that emphasized how the body's use and need of certain amounts of protein changes between middle age and the years beyond 65. According to a recent study, there's a need for a lesser amount of protein in the diet during the middle-age years, but due to changes with age, a need after age 66, more of a need for dietary protein as people grow older, in order to keep muscle wasting from advancing too fast.
You might want to check out the abstract of the original study online that shows how in older age, fortifying one’s diet with more protein-rich foods appears to be a formula for extending life. The article, "Low Protein Intake Is Associated with a Major Reduction in IGF-1, Cancer, and Overall Mortality in the 65 and Younger but Not Older Population," is published since March 4, 2014 in the journal Cell Metabolism.
The recent study explain that during an 18-year study period, middle-aged Americans who had the highest consumption of protein were more than four times as likely to die of cancer or diabetes, and twice as likely to die of any cause, than those whose diets were lowest in protein. Researchers in the study turned to a database of 6,381 Americans’ health and nutrition behaviors.
And what the research team uncovered regarding individuals in the database between the ages of 50 and 65 revealed that following a diet in which protein accounted for 20% or more of daily calories consumed increased the risk of death during the 18-year study period to levels comparable to the effect of smoking cigarettes.
From age 66 and beyond, it's a different story. A certain amount of protein in the diet helped to slow down the advance of muscle wasting and weight loss that leads to frailty in so many older adults.
For Americans over the age of 66, those whose diets were highest in protein were 60% less likely to die of cancer and 28% less likely to die of any cause than were those whose protein intake was lowest
As you age beyond 66, a high-protein diet becomes more beneficial, if taken in moderation. In the study, Americans studied who were over age 66 and who ate higher protein diets had the opposite effect, a group of Americans and Italian researchers found. Now, that's one study. If you eat too much protein, it could affect your eyes. There's been another study on excess protein powders and a possible link to glaucoma, which tends to run in families.
In the recent study on protein intake published March 4, 2014 in Cell Metabolism, researchers found that these associations were either abolished or attenuated if the proteins were plant derived. That means proteins could come from plants, fish, or animals. The researchers in that new study found, conversely, high protein intake was associated with reduced cancer and overall mortality in respondents over 65, but a 5-fold increase in diabetes mortality across all ages.
High protein intake signals progression of tumors in young and middle aged, but low-protein intake in older age (after age 66) may optimize longevity and healthspan, says the study
Mouse studies confirmed the effect of high protein intake and GHR-IGF-1 signaling on the incidence and progression of breast and melanoma tumors, but also the detrimental effects of a low protein diet in the very old. These results suggest that low protein intake during middle age followed by moderate to high protein consumption in old adults may optimize healthspan and longevity.
The study explains the similarity between mice and humans when it applies to growth hormone. Mice and humans with growth hormone receptor IGF-1 deficiencies display major reductions in age-related diseases. IGF is an abbreviation for insulin growth factor.
The main point of the study, according to its abstract found the following associations or links: