Progress Report 12/06/2018

When I wrote recently about the ketogenic diet that I had started, I wasn’t certain then that there had been any changes to my vision, but this is now no longer the case. Here I discuss this promising development and my personal progress to date.

Update: I have since stopped following the ketogenic diet, you can read about why here

Visual Snow Versus Normality

For many like myself who have been stuck with visual snow for a while, it can be difficult to remember what normal vision should be like. It is very easy to mistake your reality for normal experience. I am fortunate in this regard to have already experienced some improvement and to have some new cause for hope, that I can now share.

In my experience of more severe visual snow everything sort of looks flat and harshly dull. The static dominates and detracts from a normal enjoyable visual experience. Everything becomes busy, yet without the perception of simple detail. This I think also translates into the mental state.

With positive changes however colours appear more vivid, reflections and shadows more crisp, surfaces and textures more soft (even ugly cars begin to look pretty), environments seem to just have more a sense of vitality that you are able to notice. Less energy is needed thinking about what everything looks like and it’s just there. These are the sorts of changes which I have been noticing to a greater degree today. It is important to underline here the simple point that you can have perfect acuity with visual snow, but acuity is not a measure to say that your vision is perfect. An eye examination won’t be a measure of how good your vision with visual snow actually is.

To help think about this I think the common analogy of visual snow with an old analogue TV is a poor one. It fails not least because it only represents a single visible symptom. A better analogy in my view would be that of a computer with both hardware and software. The cause of an individual’s visual snow (whatever it is) brings with it a combination of graphical artifacts and crappy textures to the monitor when you try and “play life”, it probably involves both hardware and software.

Current Visual Snow Man Routine

Here is a summary of everything which I am doing now

  • Ketogenic diet (High fat, moderate protein, carbs < 25g/day) – completely clean and natural foods, no a1 beta-casein or gluten, plus high Choline foods (eggs daily, lamb liver weekly)
  • Very infrequent drinking (maybe one occasion every few months), no smoking, or coffee
  • More regular aerobic exercise: I was running basically every day until my knees swelled up, now I am having to rest (note – do not overtrain, but do exercise)

Progress Summary

That is more or less it, as you can see I have many places in which I can improve – sleep, meditation, exercise, exploration of further supplements. These are topics that I will inevitably come to explore and write about in more detail with due course. While I am currently hopeful that the ketogenic diet will keep on bringing improvement to my symptoms, I don’t expect it to “cure me” at this stage. I fully expect to have to do more, as I outlined previously.

Nitric Oxide?

One point I forgot to mention when writing about the ketogenic diet is that it may increase Nitric Oxide, which may also aside from adenosine explain the improvement in my circulation. Nitric Oxide of course has an important role in the visual system.

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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10 thoughts on “Progress Report 12/06/2018”

  1. I developed VS after a heavy weekend on a stag do. (Cocaine).

    I find that best way of living with my VS is been constantly busy and plenty of excercise!

    Don’t know if you’ll find. Is of interest but I tried riboflavin, coq10 and magnesium citrate. They haven’t really helped or cured it. Would recommend taking ZMA Anyway though as it helps sleep and increases testosterone

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for sharing. It’s good to hear that you have found ways to deal with your symptoms.

      Magnesium citrate, riboflavin, and CoQ10 are all good supplements but they have specific purposes, I know that they were said to have been recommended in a post a few years ago by Dr Mark Weatherall, a migraine specialist. This was when visual snow was more closely tied to migraines and less was known about it. The original basis for recommending these supplements is slightly outdated.

      In the case of migraineurs they can sometimes have a deficiency of magnesium or riboflavin. Some studies have found that taking these supplements, as well as CoQ10 may help as that post says. With a decent diet it is unlikely that you will have these first two deficiencies, although there may be other reasons why you would want to take them. CoQ10 is also a supplement that I myself take but it won’t work miracles by itself either.

      You have to take these supplements for a specific purpose – they can help to improve overall health but none of them by themselves are going to “cure” visual snow. For some people e.g. migraineurs they may however help for individual symptoms.

      In general you also have to also take into account the possibility that the effects of supplements can be cancelled out by other things that you may be doing or inhibited by substances such that you are taking. E.g. the antioxidant effect of CoQ10 – if you are otherwise causing your body an excess of oxidative stress, then it is only going to slightly be able to affect a negative balance in your body.

      As for “ZMA” (Zinc Monomethione Aspartate) I would advise caution. Anything with Aspartate is not going to be good for VS, since Aspartate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that you are introducing externally. It’s your choice of course, but my opinion is that if you struggle with sleep or testosterone issues then there are plenty more VS friendly ways to achieve those aims.

      Best wishes,

      Neil

      1. Thank you for your detailed
        Response, and yes that is he post I got it from the recommendation of 400mg ribo, 400mg coq10 600mg magnesium citrate.

        When I refer to ZMA I refer to zinc magnesium. Common supplement used by athletes. I don’t have sleep or testosterone problems but found ZMA to be one of the best supplements to use. Also use a strong multi vit, fish oil, probiotic, glucosamine sulphate for my joints.

        What are you thoughts on wh sustainability of a Keto diet? I’ve used it when shredding fat before quite successfully but I find it isn’t a sustainable or practical diet and is very restrictive on what you can eat. I also think it has a negative effect on athletic performance as well as a negative effect on quality of life (can’t enjoy all the foods I love as a foodie).

        I recently had pretty much got used to the VS visual
        Symptoms but now I’ve started getting tinnitus at night in the form of like the sound of pressure so just getting used to that now. I’ve found of it gets really annoying I’ve put running water soundtracks on my phone and gone to sleep with that.

        1. Yes, sorry my comment missed parts of the abbreviation. Usually ZMA refers specifically to Zinc (Aspartate), Magnesium (Aspartate), and B6, sometimes with extra added Aspartate. If it is just Magnesium (not Aspartate) and Zinc (not Aspartate) that you are taking, then that is of course fine, but Aspartate is what the A in ZMA stands for. So if it is a supplement sold as ZMA then there will probably be some Aspartate in it. I would be careful in general with fitness supplements as they can contain Aspartate, Glutamine etc.

          I have been on a ketogenic diet for over a month now, it is more difficult perhaps from a foodie perspective but since it seems to help me I don’t mind at all. There are plenty of resources for recipes available and I may look into posting some on the website if that will be helpful. I haven’t found it to have a negative effect on my performance (probably even to the contrary) but I am not an athlete so to speak. There are other potentially beneficial diets that are more “practical”, as well as ways to replicate some of the benefits from the ketogenic diet such as fasting. Generally I think most people can do something to improve their diet, keto or not, but diet and how the body reacts is fairly individual.

          I’m sorry to hear about your tinnitus, I hope that you will be able to find more things that help you. If you can’t find yourself budging more on diet, then maybe you could try more meditation in addition to the exercise.

          1. Hi Neil would it be possible for us to email each other?

            I am curious into your thoughts on the benefits of a paleo diet as this is very similar to the Keto diet without going ketogenic I suppose. (Meat, nuts, seeds, vegetables, no grains no sugar). I’m also open to trying a ketogenic diet for 3 month to see if this dramatically helps reduce VS symptoms but would need some help on your daily diet etc in order to achieve it. I’d also be curious on your supplementation that you use and why for each one.

            I look forward to hearing from you and it’s not a problem if you are too busy or don’t want to email
            Me, I’ll
            Still be following your blog closely. Thanks

          2. Sure, you can always email me neil@visualsnowman.com
            I always try and reply fairly quickly, and I shouldn’t be too busy.
            I think a Paleo diet is a good alternative although I haven’t specifically been on one.
            My day-to-day keto diet isn’t the most exciting, but I’d be happy to discuss it or recommend some books along with my latest thoughts/why I am doing what I am doing.

  2. Hi I was wondering my 7 year old has visual snow he sees little dots has ringing in his ears and has anxiety. I was just wondering if I should try the keto or paleo diet? Oh and his stomache hurts alot. Any info would he appreciated. Right now he just takes a probiotics, Dr. Schultz vitamins and rub doterra digestzen on his stomache.
    Thank you,
    Tanya

    1. Hi Tanya,

      I am not a doctor and this should not be viewed as medical advice. It is difficult to recommend dietary changes without knowing more about existing diet and medical history. Because of your child’s age it will be especially important to discuss any such changes with a medical professional.

      What you could do is to initially try an elimination diet to check if specific things (e.g. gluten, dairy, FODMAP) are causing or aggravating the stomach trouble. If it is something that came along with the Visual Snow I’m guessing you may have used or suspect antibiotics as a common cause, hence the probiotics. Stomach problems could be caused by any number of things, resolving it or uncovering the reason behind it will be a good start. Changing diet to incorporate more food sources of probiotics (I’d recommend homemade; a good book is “Ferment” by Holly Davis) and vitamins may be more effective than taking supplements.

      You could then start to use cookbooks for the whole family that follow Paleo or Ketogenic principles. That way you can gradually become accustomed to what it is like and find recipes that everyone enjoys. Both those diets require a fair amount of commitment and I think it is important to avoid it seeming like an intervention. If there are enough recipes that your child enjoys or you start to see improvements with symptoms you may then wish to move on to a more strict version of either diet. To check if a diet is more or less balanced and if you need to supplement you can use a website/app called cronometer. Children however have specific requirements and gender differences can also sometimes be significant, so again it is important to discuss with a doctor.

      Note that if looking for books or searching for recipes online there is usually more material related to the weight-loss element of diets and ideally you should avoid or view those sources carefully.

      More than anything I think it’s important that young people with Visual Snow don’t lose track of their childhood. I say so because I wish as a teenager that I hadn’t spent so much time fixated on it. Ensuring that your child remains active may help with reducing anxiety if it relates to the Visual Snow and it will help avoid worsening factors in the longer term. Art and outdoor sport in particular are two healthy activities for those with Visual Snow. Taking some part in any cooking may also be a good way to learn to appreciate dietary changes and healthy nutrition.

  3. Hi,
    My son Corbin is 15 years old now & we have done every test under the sun for his VS. I believe his VS has remained the same since age 5 but I just wish there was more out there to help him. As far as his diet he eats well meats, pasta, fish, chicken but lacks in veggies … is there any daily supplement you recommend for him- with magnesium citrate, riboflavin, Luteolin. I’m willing to try anything at this point to help with his vision.
    Thank you, for any advise you may have to help with my son.
    Kim

    1. Hi Kim,

      I outline most of my tips on this page.

      From my experience other health issues can make having living with Visual Snow seem more difficult. If your son’s diet lacks vegetables then he may have certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies that affect him. The ideal thing would be of course to adapt his diet but it has to come through his own desire to do so. I recommend filling in what he eats on a website/app called “cronometer” because it easily shows you where you are deficient. That can inform what you may need to supplement with. There are however various nuances with these sorts of supplements so they are best taken on the advice of a doctor. E.g. it is often important to balance supplements with each other.

      In general some of the healthiest foods to consider eating more regularly would be sardines, mackerel, wild caught salmon, liver, eggs, spinach, and kale. An elimination diet may also be worthwhile

      What cronometer won’t show are phytonutrients (can be supplement-derived) or other useful substances such as choline (should be food-derived). Without eating vegetables he may be lacking in beneficial phytonutrients such as Lutein + Zeaxanthin which may for example help with light sensitivity or luteolin which may help with brain fog. These sorts of supplements tend to be safe but I cannot guarantee that what helps me subjectively with symptoms will also help your son.

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