The Truth About the Outback Vision Protocol

Here’s the question: if something is amazingly successful, why does it need to saturate the airwaves with advertising?

That’s the problem with the Outback Vision Protocol, which was first sent to me by a patient. The extremely long infomercial-style presentation promised me that two marvelous supplements would cure very serious vision problems. My hearty presenter informed me that these supplements, with the addition of kangaroo meat, are what a keen-eyed group of soldiers use for superhuman vision. They cured his wife’s eye problems and they could cure mine. 

Some of you already can see what’s coming. But if you’re one of the millions of people dealing with macular degeneration, you might keep reading and pull out your credit card. So let me save you the time.  

At long last, the supplements were revealed to me. They were (drumroll please) lutein and zeaxanthin. If I seem underwhelmed, I am. These are not mysterious or new. They’ve been around for decades. In fact, they’ve even been tested for exactly the sort of use that the presenter is making on his infomercial. AREDS 2 tested the use of lutein and zeaxanthin for macular degeneration because researchers saw enough possible benefit. The study was done, and the results are already back. 

“In the AREDS2 trial, adding DHA/EPA or lutein/zeaxanthin to the original formulation (containing beta-carotene) had no additional overall effect on the risk of advanced AMD.” 

So, yes, some supplementation can help with worsening macular degeneration risk, but it’s unsexy stuff  from AREDS 1 like:

  • 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C
  • 400 international units of vitamin E
  • 15 mg beta-carotene
  • 80 mg zinc as zinc oxide
  • 2 mg copper as cupric oxide

These were the original ingredients in AREDS 1, which did show benefit in preventing advancing macular degeneration. The Outback people say that AREDS supports their claims, but no one running the AREDS trials would support claiming that any supplement would reverse eye degeneration. 

I ask myself, if the study has already been done, why is this David Riley pushing supplements that don’t work? Well, to begin with, he’s not David Riley. It says so on his extensive disclaimer page. Another ad campaign features another name with the same protocol: Bill Campbell’s Outback Vision Protocol. We’ve got pages of fake reviews of the protocol by reviewers like “Jrhonest” who claims to write an honest review but just repastes the same information of the other fake reviews. The only place to get real reviews of the Protocol are on sites like Amazon that work hard to prevent the kind of spamming Campbell has done elsewhere. What does Amazon say? (The book has been pulled from Amazon because of terrible reviews, so the link now goes to German.) Save your money. 

So, before all of you ask me to write a book on vision loss, I’ve already started. Too many of you are in desperate need, and there’s nothing out there that really covers the eye the way I’d like. 

Update June 2018: Well, after months of research, it turns out we don’t have any large scale studies about the eyes. We don’t know whether starting glasses earlier, switching to bifocals, or even if delaying eye surgery will impact your eye health.

We’re also facing a global pandemic of eye disease that still hasn’t made it into the news. I’m talking about young people showing up with eye disease that shouldn’t hit until they are past retirement age. It’s striking Asian countries hardest, but we’re seeing a doubling of eye disease worldwide.

So I had to go back and relearn everything I thought I knew about the eye. I’m afraid I don’t have a definitive book on eye diseases. We just don’t have the big studies we need to say for sure what you should do.

What I have instead is an exploration of why we’re a hundred years behind in the study of the eyes. I’ve simplified the anatomy, optics, and research we do have in a folksy way that will hopefully reach the same people that the Outback folks are trying to get hooked on their program. (Here’s the book.) 

Is there any difference in what I’ve done and what the Outback folks have done? As far as I can tell, the Outback folks have taken the AREDS study, reversed its results, and are running with that study to promote two supplements as a cure-all. I’ve boiled down 225 citations into a simple explanation of how we can improve our eyes, or at least keep them from getting worse. It’s going to be very useful for middle aged duffers like me who are looking to improve their vision. I’m afraid it will be less helpful to those of you in dire need of much more. But it’s at least based in reality. 

I would never claim that my own eye improvements or my studies will magically make you better. But I think I have enough information about the eyes to at least point you in the right direction. 

You can order the book from Smashwords (independent authors’ site), where you can also preview the first chapters for free, or you can get it from Amazon (below).

Update July 2018:

I wanted to share one of the emails I’ve received because I think it is a  relevant concern. I’m also fascinated by the grammatical style, which reminds me of e.e. cummings (a great poet who never used punctuation or capitalization). If you read it that way it’s quite poetic. 

“what a riot

after smashing what’s his name for his bogus claims, you who claim to be the “voice of reason”
have put out an audiotape as well and are just another shill asking for money.

gutsy but iffy on your morals and good intent”

Here’s my response:

Good one! Except that you can sign up for audible, listen to my audio book for free, and then cancel your audible subscription  within the month without paying me a nickel. Please don’t try that with any of the infomercial folks. 
 
If you’d read the number of heartbreaking stories I’ve gotten from really desperate people, you’d write a book as well. I tried to find good studies on things like macular degeneration, but the best I could do is go through the small studies I could find.
 
Again, you’re welcome to not pay me one red cent and do the research yourself. All the studies I referenced in the book are available to read here (free google site). Again, please ask the infomercial folks for the same. 
 
The difference between my information and infomercials is that all my information is free and public. Infomercials claim to have “secret” knowledge you can only get through them. Kevin Trudeau was the king of this, claiming things like chromium picolinate was this secret cure for diabetes (it does help balance some people’s blood sugars). People would write me about the secret, and I’d send them the research.
 
 I’m just charging for the book because I spent the time writing it and  explaining it all. You don’t need me or anyone else if you want to do your own legwork. I’d love for someone to write a book on some of the rarer eye diseases. (Here’s medline to get started). 
 
At the same time, if you know someone who needs the information or the book and can’t afford it, I’ll be glad to send it to them for free. (Update: free copies have gone out to countries including the Philippines, Ghana, and Honduras. Thanks for writing!) 
 
The reason I put out my own audio book immediately is that I realized many people with severe eye issues can’t read well. So for them, I have a free option they can access, understand, and benefit from without paying me a penny. 
 
Thanks for writing,
Christopher Maloney
 
For those of you who still have questions about me, I’d recommend looking over my website: naturopathicmaine.com. Or email me at docmaloneynd@gmail.com. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings, I’ve been through colon cancer and had every swear word sent my way at one time or another. Evidently my trying to help people makes some people very angry. 
 
If you have a specific eye concern, I can tell you if anything in the book will be relevant for you. Don’t be shy, I’d much rather you wrote than wondered and got worse.
 
Thanks for caring enough about your eyes to try to learn about them!
 
If you’re lazy like I am and don’t feel like scrolling back up, remember that you can order the book from Smashwords (independent authors’ site), where you can also preview the first chapters for free, or you can get it from Amazon. Let me be clear that it is an exploration, not a definitive guide and it is written in a folksy way to try and keep your interest. 
 
 

How turmeric and diet can help NF1 patients.

A new study, brought to my attention by another patient, shows wonderful news for both children and adults with NF1. We finally have evidence that this genetic disease can be seriously improved through dietary intervention. It also gives evidence that supplements added to a bad diet won’t help much.

The study followed NF1 patients for six months, on either the Mediterranean or Western diets. Neither diet impacted the rate of neurofibromas. Then the researchers added 1200 mg (three capsules worth) of turmeric to the diets. Adding turmeric to the western diet did nothing. But adding it to the Mediterranean diet caused a slowing in the buildup of neurofibromas.

Having a diet and a single supplement slow the progression of a genetic disease is wonderful. It means that the disease is not genetic in its symptoms, but epigenetic. Epigenetics is the study of how the body turns off and on genes. The diet and the supplement were able to turn off the progression of neurofibromas.

But what is truly startling is that several of the patients experienced a reversal of existing neurofibromas! That’s not just epigenetic, that’s a switching on of other genes that are significantly repairing previous damage. It opens the door to moving NF1 away from the genetic category, into a metabolic disorder that should be addressed from birth.

In my book, Helping Your NF1 Child: A Parent’s Guide To Neurofibromatosis, I argue for this outlook on the illness. But I did not expect to have this kind of evidence that dietary and lifestyle interventions could reverse the disease.

Here’s the full study available for online reading. It is small and preliminary, but very exciting! We need more studies. 

Why Colon Cancer Won’t Be 100% Cured By A Mouse Study.

As someone who’s had colon cancer, I was excited by the Newsmax headline that trumpeted. “3-Step Treatment Cures Colorectal Cancer in Mice” (yes, I use a variety of news sources, NPR to Newsmax). But when they said that this new treatment was 100% cure, I got suspicious. 

When I get suspicious, I go digging. The Newsmax story didn’t give me enough specifics to find the original medical article, but I found it eventually. The original title is a mind-numbing, “Curative Multicycle Radioimmunotherapy Monitored by Quantitative SPECT/CT-Based Theranostics, Using Bispecific Antibody Pretargeting Strategy in Colorectal Cancer.” It makes me wonder if I missed the class in medical school on how to write the most boring headlines imaginable. 

The most exciting word of the headline is “curative.” These mice were cured. But these mice didn’t get colon cancer the normal way (bad lifestyle choices and poor genetics). They had human colon cancer cells xenografted onto them. If that sounds Dr. Frankensteinish, it is. You get a specifically bred mouse that won’t reject the human cells, then you graft on separately grown cancer cells. The result may or not be relevant to even cancer growth in regular mice. A lot of cancer research has moved away from these mice because regular mice give us a better sense of regular cancer growth. But the xenograft can use human cells, that may or may not give us a better sense of how human cancers would respond to a treatment.  

So maybe this is a cure for colon cancer? Well…maybe. How many mice were treated? Ten. How many got better? Ten, but they only assessed nine of the mice under a microscope. The abstract didn’t mention what happened to the tenth mouse. 

Before I sign up for this particular treatment, I think I’ll at least wait for the bigger mouse trial. Call me a skeptic, but I like at least a hundred xenografted Frankenstein mice in my studies before I think about it. Not to mention a primate trial, small experimental human trials on metastatic patients, and finally a large-scale trial of human patients. In other words, we’re years from having this news really be news you can use.