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Weird visual changes on the diet.

I wrote this message to grant and I am copying it here.
If anybody has experienced these things or thinks to know whats going on I would appreciate any response.

Visual changes while on the vit A depletion diet.
Hello, I wanted to ask you if you experienced any visual changes while on the low vitamin A diet. I am experiencing some rather intense visual changes, like night blindness and changes in color perception.
I have been following the diet for 13 months now. I read your books and your posts in February 2019 and decided to try the diet since I was suffering heavily from auto-immune diseases and had all the symptoms of vitamin A toxicity like eczema, asthma, frequent infections, dry lips, dry/inflamed eyes, anxiety and depression.
I was following a Ray Peat diet for several years before that. So lot's of cheese, milk, eggs, orange juice, and occasional carrots. Liver was also recommended but I actually got physically ill after eating it. Like intense nausea, dizziness and vomiting after eating it. That convinced me that there is some kind of toxin in liver.
After implementing the diet of white rice, lean beef, turkey breast and some beans I started improving rapidly. Mental clarity was very high especially the first month/ month and a half. Until the first detox cycle hit me. My eczema was clearing after 5 weeks. My asthma became less severe slowly and was totally gone after 6 months.
I made some mistakes in the beginning like eating lots of cauliflower (high in formaldehyde) and taking stupid high doses of vitamin C (5 gram a day), drinking lots of coffee, taking zinc daily and not eating enough beans. But in november after Garret smith put out his research that these thing slow the dehydrogenase system I cut the coffee, vitamin C, excessive zinc and cauliflower out. Well, around that time in november I started getting some negative symptoms like night blindness, changes in color perception, and also acne on my face and neck, or small bumps. According to mainstream medicine/nutrition these are ofcourse signs of vitamin A deficiency. As everybody knows you need vitamin A for normal (night) vision and to maintain acne-free skin. But I believe they are detox symptoms as the liver is rapidly dumping vitamin A from the liver and tissues to be detoxed. Since these symptoms got started after I implemented the dietary changes that increased my dehydrogenase enzymes (quitting coffee, vitamin C, etc.)
Acne isn't to bad and I can live with. But the visual changes I find disturbing. I want to ask you if you experienced any visual changes on your vitamin A detox journey of 6 years? Knowing that you have gone such a long time on the low vitamin A diet gives my some assurance that I won't go blind and that my symptoms are just detox symptoms.
The visual changes are quite fascinating. Like I said night blindness but also lowered sensitivity to the sun. I can walk outside in bright daylight and not have to squint my eyes at all. Other people need sunglasses while I can just look directly at the sky without squiting my eyes. So that's a plus I think. But at night my vision is absolutely horrible and I can't go outside in the evening.
Also black objects seem to give off a blue/greenish tint and bright objects seem to give off a purple glow. When I walk into a room after coming from outside light that shines in the room seems to be purple/pink. And when looking at a cloudy sky the clouds seem to be purple as well.
These are the changes in color perception I am experiencing. Have you experienced any of these changes and did they go away? Do you think this is simply detox? Or are my eyes slowly degenerating. I am tempted to eat some vitamin A to make this go away.
Thanks for your research, it saved my life. I was really sick before I found your work and nearly died from my asthma and frequent lung infections. Thanks to your research I now have a life and have found job. My health was so bad I couldn't work before and just sat in my room all day suffering from full body eczema and asthma. That has totally cleared up and I am extremely grateful for that. It's just these vision changes that give me doubt. I don't want to go blind ofcourse.
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Interesting.. Anyway I don't believe that vit A is non essential toxin. If you eat very low vit A for 13 months. I would try add some foods with vit A like Cheese if you can dairy or eggs. So you have lets say 1000iu of vit A a day. With this you don't need to worry about deficiency, but at the same time it is small amount enough that it will not build up to toxic level again... I think that it is not a good idea to eat so restrictive diet low in so many other micronutrients like calcium for example for very long time.. You will fix vit A issue, but create other imbalances. I think it should be plan for most people here. After decent time on low vit A diet start eating some other foods high in micronutrients that they were missing on rice/beef diet.. When there is no vit A overload anymre. The body can handle 1-2000iu a day most likely.. Especially if you make sure you have good vit D level etc.. Just make sure that liver or carrot juice is not on the menu anymore.. But some egg yolk, cheese is ok I think..

Hi @vinero,

Yes, I have experienced noticeable changes in my vision.

From the start I had what I’d call dull blurry vision - that mostly resolved at around the 4-month point. Everything just became much brighter.

Then probably around the one year point of so, and if I’m remembering the timing correctly, and after I supplemented with Lutein and zeaxanthin, I experience night blindness (vastly reduced vision at night). I slowly recovered from that condition ( in about 3-4 months) and my night vision became exceptional.

I think it was in year three I then experienced another period of night blindness. I can’t really correlate that with any diet change. It too lasted for about three months, and then slowly resolved. Currently my night vision is very good.

Both episodes occurred during the winter for me, and corresponded with dry skin. So, they were possibly due to dry weather induced minor/medium detox setbacks? Of course, that would also be periods of lower vit-D too.

Other vision changes for me are that daytime colors are just much brighter. I first really noticed it with the yellow colors. But, now it includes the red and green colors too. I especially notice it on colored signs and on traffic lights. The red, greens, and yellow really stand out even in the daytime - hard to explain.

I’ve also had a period of extremely dry eyes. That has resolved too. And now, after 5.5 years the vascularization in my eyes is finally starting to diminish. The vascularization is not completely cleared up, but at least it is going in the right direction.

I know what you mean about these conditions being the classic signs of vitamin A deficiency, and it would sure be tempting to supplement with it. Losing night vision was a bit scary. But, I didn’t give in to it. I felt I just knew far too much about the downside of it. Anyway, I stuck to my guns so to speak, and it has definitely been the right decision for me. 

I’m not sure why Garrett Smith recommended dropping coffee. It is a very good antioxidant. So, in that respect it might be beneficial in preventing the oxidation of retinyl esters into RA ( but that's pure speculation on my part).  Last year I stopped drinking coffee for a while (after 40 years of consuming it) and I gotta say that I felt really good. I think that I was just getting deeper sleep without the daytime stimulant. However, I’m now back on coffee, for no good reason really, other than I like the digestive boost it gives me in the mornings. I have not experienced any vision changes on or off the coffee.

I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any follow up questions. BTW, I also think that macular degeneration is being caused by vA. The rates of macular degeneration are following the same exponential growth pattern as with many of the other chronic diseases. And like with so many of the other chronic diseases, macular degeneration was so incredibly rare in the early 1900s.


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@vinero at 13 months I would think that your liver would still be quite full.  Are you able to get your serum retinol level tested?  This would show if you are really deficient, which I would doubt after following Ray Peat diet.   I think the B vitamins are important for vision, getting lots of legumes/beans daily?

I haven't noticed any changes in night vision, think I will do some experimenting in the dark tonight.

@vinero I also experienced visual effects. I am nearing the first four months and I had on three occasions an episode, lasting from a few hours to two full days, of seeing everything through a pink cloud. 

At first I thought it might be cataracts dissolving, but I now think that this peachy orange pink colour could be a release of something else, because cataracts are grey yellow brown. Maybe this is lutein zeaxanthin?  Unfortunately I was put on such a supplement in 2000 and my vision has since deteriorated alarmingly. It is a bit the colour of cooked lobster, and I ate a fair amount of those + shrimps with shell. 

Anyway, now I see the same colours with both eyes, and  my husband who saw a very different tint from his eyes now sees the same colour too (no pink cloud for him).

Update: My night blindness is gone. My vision has gone back to normal. I didn't eat any vitamin A to make it go away. I just stayed on the diet and it went away by itself. I think it was just a detox phase my eyes had to go through. The night blindness occured when my body was in an extreme detox mode.  I felt dizzy, depressed, anxious and had bad acne at the same time as the night blindness. These detox symptoms started after I started to eat high amounts of soluble fiber. I have been eating soluble fiber consistently for the last 3 -4 months and now my detox symptoms like dizziness, depression, anxiety and night blindness are almost entirely gone. I actually feel really good again. I am glad I did not permantly damage my eyes, as that was what I feared the most.
I also tried supplementing b1, b2 and zinc, but that did not seem to help.

One annoying other symptom I have developed is that my eyes are very sensitive to daylight and I have to squint my eyes a lot during the day. I hope this will go away by itself just like the night blindness.

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Thank you @vinero. This is very encouraging, especially because for me the eyesight is the most important problem. I am hardy and positive, but being nearly blind restricts my life terribly. I wish you all the best!

Vinero, are you blue-eyed?  I am, and I've always just been more sensitive to daylight than my brown-eyed family members.

Yes, I am blue eyed @lil-chick. It's true that people with light eye color are more sensitive to daylight than people with dark eye color. However, my light sensitivity has been much more severe than is normal for me. For example, I never really felt the need to wear sunglasses when going outside during the day. But now I absolutely have to wear sunglasses all the time because otherwise the daylight feels extremely bright and hurts my eyes. I even have to squint my eyes when I am sitting before my computer because it's too bright. 
This is not normal for me. 

Hi @vinero,

Thanks for the update.

I just wanted to share that I went through a similar experience. Twice now I’ve had periods of poor night vision (not really night blindness), and both times it was in December and I recovered by March /April. So, I think it might somehow be seasonal.

Likewise, for your experience with the brightness. At first it was the colour yellow. Yellows were just much brighter than I ever remember. Then it was the reds, blues, greens all getting brighter. Generally speaking, the world is now just much brighter to me ( not a metaphor). I’ve adjusted to where that’s now normal.

I’m speculating that the lens of the eyes has become clearer, more transparent. But, I don’t know for sure what the reason is.

RE: soluble fiber

I do think soluble fiber is beneficial. But, I think it might not be if combined with fructose, (and maybe even just table sugar) because it could start fermenting in the gut. That would produce alcohol and further tax our dehydrogenase enzymes.

Anyway, it’s great to hear about your progress.


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