Weekly Wellness Spotlight

Dear Julie,

In this week’s wellness spotlight, Dr. Dorothy Hitchmoth shares her knowledge and wisdom in a recently published article in Medium. This impressive piece traces her journey to wellness and she shares with the reader pearls of wisdom that will leave you feeling grateful to be her colleague in arms in the wellness movement.

Dr. Dorothy Hitchmoth: “You do not have to train like a triathlete to improve your health”



Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)

Tell jokes — There is an old adage “Laughter is the best medicine.” This has been found to be true in scientific study. We now understand the physiological effects of simply smiling and that regular belly laughter can result in a longer life.

Learn to meditate — Meditation has been shown to lower blood pressure, increase mood, and improve concentration and overall sense of wellbeing. When your brain is in balance, you improve your chances for changing behavior, and health is all about changing what you do. There are thousands of applications and devices to help anyone learn to meditate. One of my favorites is the “Muse” device. You can use the device on your own or with a group, and once you have mastered simple meditation, you can share the device with others so they can learn. There are a lot of great cell phone applications, as well. I advise that you use what works and provides the most motivation. Talk to your friends and find out who meditates. You might be surprised.

Understand food labels — Simply removing high fructose corn syrup from your diet could dramatically improve your cholesterol levels and blood sugar and help prevent mood crashes. If you learn how to identify this one food and eliminate it from your diet, you are on your way. If you really want to learn the detrimental effects of sugar on your health, I highly recommend you follow Dr. Robert Lustig (aka: the “Sugar Doctor”). He has committed his life to eliminating the health-robbing ingredient, and he has written several books on the subject.

Also, it is very important to understand supplement labels. Look for natural, high-quality, bioavailable ingredients. Another key is to look for third-party certifications such as NSF Contents Tested and Certified or NSF Certified for Sport. This certifies that what’s on the label is in the bottle and reviews toxicology to verify product formulation and ensure the product contains no undeclared ingredients or unacceptable levels of contaminants.

Finally, verify that the supplement was manufactured in an FDA cGMP facility. This simply means the manufacturer is compliant with FDA regulations.

Find your tribe — There is good science about the benefits of being with family or friends, no matter how you define this. Maintaining a sense of belonging helps elevate the brain’s happy hormones. Happiness leads to longevity and is a common characteristic shared by centenarians around the globe.

Eat real food — We all need to eat to live. However, there are many manufactured and processed foods that literally cause you to crave more food than you need. This is why I am constantly repeating the message “it’s not your fault.” People tend to blame themselves for weight gain, fatigue, and lack of a sense of wellbeing. In reality, we are what we eat, and on an increasing basis, processed or “fake” foods have collectively created a state of humanness that is unhealthy and unhappy. Eat fruits and vegetables every day. This is step #1 to a healthier life, and then refer back to #3!

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

The single most important reason to exercise is to feel and see better. I think most of us associate exercise with weight loss and physical development. However, more importantly, exercise helps to boost mood and improves blood flow to your brain and eyes. In my opinion, your brain is the most important organ when it comes to staying healthy. I am an eye doctor, and I am emphatic about explaining to patients that your eyes are an extension of your brain — in fact, they are inextricable. Better brain health equals better eye health.

If you are sad, depressed, lack energy, or suffer from addiction, exercise can help. I think most people understand that you can lose weight, but exercise is really about keeping your brain in good shape. Feel good hormones, oxygen, and nutrients flood the brain during exercise and for hours afterwards. Research has even shown that glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye diseases can be prevented or slowed through exercise, but you need to feel good to keep your diet on track.

Sadly, the number of people suffering from poor mental health is growing at an alarming rate. This is the single most important reason to get off your seat. If you think and feel better, all other behavioral changes needed to improve health are more likely to follow. Making changes to your diet are a lot harder to make if you are unmotivated, anxious, or depressed. We also know that foods that are good for your eyes, like those that contain lutein and zeaxanthin, are also critical to brain health. In other words, exercise can help you make better food choices.


Efficacy of glutathione therapy in relieving dyspnea associated with COVD-19 pneumonia: A report of 2 cases…..

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213007120301350 Abstract


Infection with COVID-19 potentially can result in severe outcomes and death from “cytokine storm syndrome”, resulting in novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) with severe dyspnea, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), fulminant myocarditis and multiorgan dysfunction with or without disseminated intravascular coagulation. No published treatment to date has been shown to adequately control the inflammation and respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19, apart from oxygen therapy and assisted ventilation. We evaluated the effects of using high dose oral and/or IV glutathione in the treatment of 2 patients with dyspnea secondary to COVID-19 pneumonia.


Two patients living in New York City (NYC) with a history of Lyme and tick-borne co-infections experienced a cough and dyspnea and demonstrated radiological findings consistent with novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP). A trial of 2 g of PO or IV glutathione was used in both patients and improved their dyspnea within 1 h of use. Repeated use of both 2000 mg of PO and IV glutathione was effective in further relieving respiratory symptoms.


Oral and IV glutathione, glutathione precursors (N-acetyl-cysteine) and alpha lipoic acid may represent a novel treatment approach for blocking NF-κB and addressing “cytokine storm syndrome” and respiratory distress in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.


Newly published study:

Incidence and Risk Factors of Reticular Pseudodrusen Using Multimodal Imaging


Key Points

Question What are the incidence and risk factors of reticular pseudodrusen using multimodal imaging in an elderly French population?

Findings This cohort study found an annual incidence of reticular pseudodrusen per participant of 2.9% and an estimated 5-year incidence of 13.5%. Age, choroidal thinning, and genetic background were found to be associated with incident reticular pseudodrusen, whereas lipophilic statin therapy was associated with a lower risk.

Meaning This study, based on reticular pseudodrusen diagnosed via multimodal imaging, reports a higher incidence of reticular pseudodrusen than in previous studies based on fundus color images, confirms most known risk factors, and suggests a role for lipid metabolism in the pathophysiologic characteristics of reticular pseudodrusen.

Conclusions and Relevance With the use of multimodal imaging, the RPD incidence rate was higher than previously reported in other population-based studies using fundus color images. Individuals with subfoveal choroidal thinning or carrying minor allelic variants for ARMS2, CFH, or LIPC had an increased risk for RPD, whereas lipophilic statin therapy was associated with a lower incidence.


Incidence and Progression of Nongeographic Atrophy in the Comparison of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatments Trials (CATT) Clinical Trial


Key Points

Question What is the incidence of nongeographic atrophy (NGA) in eyes treated with anti–vascular endothelial growth factor for neovascular age-related macular degeneration, and how often does it progress to geographic atrophy (GA)?

Findings In this longitudinal study, the cumulative risk of NGA was 35%, 59%, and 81% at 1-year, 2-year, and 5-year follow-ups, respectively. The cumulative risk of progression from incident NGA in years 1 and 2 to GA was 29%, 43%, and 50% at 1, 3, and 4 years, respectively.

Meaning Nongeographic atrophy, as defined in CATT, is common and progresses to GA in about 50% of participants by 4 years after onset.

Conclusions and Relevance In this study, after 2 years of protocol-guided anti–vascular endothelial growth factor treatment for nAMD, more than half of the eyes in the study developed NGA in the location of nAMD. After 3 additional years of regular care, half of them progressed to GA.