Natural Visual Snow Treatment?

This post outlines a natural approach to life and health with visual snow, as well as the practical thinking behind it. For a list of practical tips to use with this approach see here.

Understanding Visual Snow Pathophysiology

The dominant theory for what is going on in visual snow is an imbalance of inhibition to excitation in (visual) cortical areas of the brain (“cortical hyperexcitability”). But the full nature of what is going on in visual snow is currently unknown.

There are actually a fairly broad number of conditions known or suspected of involving imbalances between excitation and inhibition in various other parts of the brain, including:

Understandably in these conditions one of the common approaches to treatment is to then try to increase/decrease inhibition or increase/decrease excitation as appropriate. This may be attempted through the use of pharmaceutical drugs or other approaches. Some of the early pharmacological approaches to visual snow treatment had for example also been borrowed from migraine and epilepsy, but these met with limited and variable success.

Treatments aimed at specific aspects of pathophysiology may or may not get to the underlying cause of problems because generally there is also more to the these conditions. Treatment outcomes end up varying too as patients differ individually. Pathophysiology refers to what is able to be observed in a disease state – much is however unable to be observed or has not been observed yet; both in some of these conditions and in visual snow.

An Incomplete Understanding Of Visual Snow

More recent research into understanding the potential pathophysiology and etiology of visual snow suggests that visual snow is indeed more complicated, and does vary between individuals. Another possible element to the pathophysiology of visual snow is “sensory misperception” and once again there is existing research and knowledge in that field which may provide some form of reference or approach towards treatment.

Treatment ≠ Cure

Visual Snow is a unique condition, ultimately probably requiring a unique approach – for this reason existing pharmaceutical treatments have so far not been able to fit the puzzle. There is also a reason to be cautious when it is has become suspected that certain medications could themselves cause visual snow. A cure for visual snow would have to address the underlying etiology (cause), treatment does not have to.

It’s not currently believed to be possible to eradicate the symptom of visual snow entirely – there is no known cure for visual snow. However treatment is possible; certainly as far as symptoms associated with visual snow and one’s overall quality of life are concerned

The main advantage of natural treatment in the case of visual snow and associated symptoms is that even if something fails to help specific symptoms, there may be an improvement to overall quality of life and a positive change to how one deals with symptoms.

What We Know From Disorders Of Cortical Inhibition

Having mentioned other conditions as a useful reference for treatment approaches, it is known that natural approaches to treatment can sometimes be just as effective as their pharmacological counterparts, without perhaps the same level of risk. There are also some common themes such as inflammation involved in different conditions which will interact with the disease state.

Migraine

Involves:

Natural Treatment:

Autism

Involves:

Natural Treatment:

Schizophrenia

Involves:

Natural Treatment

Tinnitus

Involves:

Natural Treatment:

Environmental Factors In Visual Snow Syndrome

I believe to have personally experienced improvement from a number of things, including: removing a1 beta-casein, changing my diet and using quercetin. Online there are anecdotal suggestions of improvement from stretching and physical therapy, high intensity exercise, meditation and yoga. This together with what we know about other relatable disorders suggests managing environmental factors can sometimes lead to improved quality of life and symptoms with visual snow and Visual Snow Syndrome.

A Practical Approach To Visual Snow Treatment

At the current moment a natural approach is a good approach to take. Many powerful environmental factors are in our control. By adopting a natural and holistic approach to visual snow treatment you can start to harness these factors in your favour and avoid undesirable risks.

You could wait for a more specific drug to be developed but that could turn out to be a very long time in the future, and the diversity of visual snow means there likely won’t be a single specific visual snow treatment that applies to everybody equally. Similarly you could wait for clinical trials to look into forms of natural treatment but that will likely take even longer.

It is better to tailor treatment to yourself and seek out what you can improve in the present, rather than to expect tailored treatment in the future. As long as you are sensible this should be a safe and worthwhile approach towards improving your life with visual snow.

Seeking Out Root Problems

Environmental factors can among other things contribute to oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, changes to hormones, changes to neurotransmitters, epigenetic changes and immunomodulation. As I have learnt through personal experience these effects may directly or indirectly be maintaining or worsening the symptoms of visual snow.

Changes made to manage these factors may involve adding something e.g. a supplement such as quercetin, the use of yellow-tinted glasses, or removing something e.g. following an elimination diet and removing potential dietary problems such as a1 beta-casein.

The Realities

  • Inherited genetic risk can only be worked around
  • It is not easy addressing environmental factors
  • Epigenetic changes (acquired genetic risk) may be reversible
  • Environmental triggers can be removed
  • Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can be reduced.
  • Better hormonal and neurotransmitter balance can be achieved.
  • Brain plasticity can be changed despite age.

Manageable Steps

Each individual will have to discover what works best for them and how far they are willing to go with changes. I suggest a simple three-step approach for thinking about things below. For more detailed tips see here

Visual Snow treatment can be natural and can be split up into managable steps: balancing the gut, balancing the body, and balancing the mind.

A Simple Three-Step Approach

 

Balancing The Gut

Method: elimination diet, greater knowledge about food, various diets, nutrition, supplements and the gut.

Remove: toxic, allergic, inflammatory, and poorly tolerated foods. Unhelpful supplements.

Add: well-tolerated, anti-inflammatory and beneficial foods. Helpful supplements.

Aim: achieve a positive influence from the gut on the rest of the body and brain.

Balanced microflora, normal intestinal permeability, avoid harmful food-derived opioid effects → reduced oxidative stress, corrected immune function, hormonal and neurotransmitter balance, positive epigenetic changes, reduced chronic inflammation.

Balancing The Body

Method: greater knowledge about supplements and the body, exercise, stretches and physical fitness, breathing techniques, changes to improve functioning of the vagus nerve.

Remove: supplements or drugs which have an undesirable or unpredictable effect,

Add: fitness, oxygen capacity, muscle balance and flexibility, helpful supplements.

Aim: achieve a positive influence from the body to the brain.

Reduced oxidative stress, corrected immune function, hormonal and neurotransmitter balance, positive epigenetic changes, reduced chronic inflammation.

Balancing The Mind

Method: following a simplified and more “natural” lifestyle, practice of mindfulness, greater knowledge of the brain.

Remove: supplements or drugs which have an undesirable or unpredictable effect on brain chemistry, excessive use of stimulants, addictive or harmful lifestyle habits.

Add: meditation and mindfulness promoting practices, good sleep, careful use of supplements.

Aim: achieve a positive effect directly within the brain and allow other changes to have greater effect

Hormonal and neurotransmitter balance.

This post contains simplified information and is based on my current understanding. For more information and to form a more detailed understanding of your own: please read the original research papers, watch the presentations from the Visual Snow Conference along with the supplementary videos from the Visual Snow Initiative, and read the information on James T. Fulton’s website.

DISCLAIMER: This website contains the opinions and ideas of its authors. It is intended to provide helpful and informative material. Readers should consult their doctor before implementing any suggestions. The authors specifically disclaim all responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of reading this material.

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