There are many things that can cause dry mouth and dry eyes. You may simply not be drinking enough water. The air quality in your home might be poor. Allergies can play a role in drying out the eyes. Certain medications are also known to cause dry eyes and/or mouth. Finally, saliva production can decrease with age leading to a persistent feeling of dryness.

In this excerpt from the book Real Cause, Real Cure by Jacob Teitelbaum, MD and Bill Gottlieb, CHC the authors discuss the causes of dry eyes and mouth and how to start fixing the problem.

Dry Mouth and Dry Eyes

Real Causes

•Nutritional Deficiencies. Low levels of several nutrients—including magnesium, vitamin B6, and the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil—can cause dry mouth and eyes. Dehydration can also contribute to the problem.

•Prescription Medications. More than 400 medications can cause dry mouth and/or dry eyes.

Dry mouth (xerostomia) affects about 50 percent of people 65 and older, as saliva production sometimes decreases with advancing years. But it’s more than an annoyance of aging. Dry mouth can cause or aggravate dental and digestive problems because saliva is critical for washing away gum-damaging, cavity-causing bacteria, and it also provides an enzyme (amylase) that starts the digestion of carbohydrates.

Dry eyes affects about three out of every 10 Americans and is the most common reason people visit ophthalmologists (eye doctors). A disorder of the tear film (the coating that protects and cleans the surfaces of the eyes), it can produce symptoms such as stinging, burning, grittiness, itching, and sensitivity to light.

Common causes of dry eyes include allergies; the skin disorder rosacea; an autoimmune disease (when the immune system mistakes a part of the body as foreign and attacks it), such as Sjogren’s syndrome (moisture-producing glands are attacked); perimenopause and postmenopause; and laser or cosmetic eye surgery.

When dry eyes and dry mouth occur together, the condition is called sicca syndrome, and it’s often a feature of an autoimmune disease (such as Sjogren’s syndrome or lupus) or chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.

Real Cure Regimen

There are many ways to ease dry mouth, dry eyes, or both.

•Check your medications. More than 400 medications can cause dry mouth and/or dry eyes. If you have one or both of these problems, talk to your doctor about this side effect. A lower dose of the drying drug may be just as effective, without producing the side effect. Or there may be an alternative medication. The most common pharmaceutical culprits include…

•Antihistamines. These include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), loratadine (Claritin), and cetirizine (Zyrtec). Antihistamines also are often found in over-the-counter sleep aids.

The Moisturizing Herb from Scandinavia

Sea buckthorn is a shrub that grows widely in the coastal areas of western Europe, with a particular density in Finland. In several studies, an extract of the sea buckthorn berry has helped relieve mucous membrane dryness—even in Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease where dryness is extreme. In a study in The Journal of Nutrition, Finnish researchers gave 86 people with dry eye syndrome the extract for three months and found that the herb improved the quality of the tear film that wets the eyes, decreasing burning.

The sea buckthorn product I recommend is Omega-7, from Terry Naturally—because many other sea buckthorn oil products do not use the right parts of the plant and are therefore ineffective. The recommended dose is two 500-milligram soft gels, twice daily. It takes two months to see the full effect.

•Antidepressants. Amitriptyline (Elavil) is a major trigger of dry mouth and dry eyes, but most antidepressants can cause the problem. So can antianxiety medications such as alprazolam (Xanax).

•Birth control pills. Dry eyes are a common side effect. Pregnancy can cause dry eyes too

•Diuretics. These drugs are mostly used to treat high blood pressure.

•ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors). Also mostly used to treat high blood pressure.

•Urinary bladder control medicines. These include oxybutynin (Ditropan) and tolterodine (Detrol).

•Opiates. This class of drugs includes codeine and morphine, and the much-prescribed synthetic derivatives of codeine, including hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (Oxycontin).

•Treat nutritional deficiencies. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil) can contribute to both dry mouth and dry eyes. B vitamins and magnesium can also help with these problems.

•Relieve dry mouth symptoms. Always keep a glass or bottle of water with you and drink throughout the day. You can also drink lemon juice, which stimulates the flow of saliva.

Here’s a sugar-free recipe: 3½ cups of water; ¼ to ½ cup of fresh lemon juice; and 50 drops of stevia, to taste. And talk to your dentist about saliva substitutes. Over-the-counter spray forms (such as Salivart and Biotene) are effective and best used every 90 to 120 minutes.

•Give your eyes a break. Staring at a computer for hours at a time dries your eyes, Robert Latkany, MD, founder and director of the Dry Eye Clinic at the New York Eye & Ear Infirmary and author of The Dry Eye Remedy, told us. Worse, staring at a computer that’s at eye level or higher keeps your eyes completely open, exposing more of the eye’s surface to be dried. The best position for your screen is below eye level (even slightly), which exposes less of the eye’s surface. Lower the monitor or raise the chair. If computer work is constant, he also recommends 10-second breaks twice an hour, closing your eyes to allow them to relubricate.

Want a Wetter Mouth? Try Yogic Deep Breathing

What happens when a cell biologist, university professor, and yoga therapist studies yogic breathing? Good news for folks who suffer from dry mouth…

Sundar Balasubramanian, PhD, an assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, noticed that his sessions of yogic breathing (pranayama) produced huge amounts of saliva. When he studied the phenomena, he discovered that a protein called nerve growth factor (NGF) increased by a factor of 10 during 20-minute sessions of pranayama, compared to people sitting quietly and reading a book for 20 minutes. (An added benefit: NGF encourages the growth of brain cells.

Pranayama is simple, says Dr. Balasubramanian, who is also the founding director of PranaScience Institute, and of, a website dedicated to research and education on yoga breathing. Here’s an exercise he recommends as a good introduction to yogic breathing. It’s called “Bee Breath,” because of the buzzing sounds you make.

  1. Breathe deeply and inhale as much as you can comfortably.
  2. Then, hum as you slowly exhale at a rate that is comfortable for you.

Repeat this exercise for a minute or two when you wake up, and—to stimulate saliva flow— before eating breakfast and your other meals and snacks throughout the day.

Another excellent option: Cyclosporine (Restasis), FDA-approved eyedrops that actually make your eyes produce more tears. But there are important tips to use it effectively, Dr. Latkany told us. It takes six to eight weeks to start working and doesn’t reach peak effectiveness for four to six months—so don’t stop using it because you think it isn’t working. Also, refrigerate the drops to cut down on the stinging that sometimes occurs when it is applied.

For more ways to fix root causes of common health problems, purchase Real Cause, Real Cure from

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