Age-related Macular Degeneration and Grapes?

IAS News 29 March 2013 | 0 Comments

Age-related macular degeneration affects millions of people worldwide, these are mainly over the age of 75, of which over a third are affected. The two forms, wet and dry, affect people in different ways. Dry occurs in almost 90% of the cases, and is difficult to recognize due to its slow development. Wet happens much quicker and could lead to serious vision loss within about 2 years – however treatments are available.

One study has suggested that eating grapes could help those suffering from Age-related Macular Degeneration due to the high levels of anti-oxidants that are present within them. The study involved three groups of mice, either given a grape-enriched diet, one with more lutein in or a normal diet. The results showed that those on the grape diet had the most protection against AMD. The effects were even seen if the grapes were eaten at a young age; they still provide protection against aged-related macular degeneration in later life.

Eating grapes seemed to decrease the build-up of lipofuscin and stop the oxidative damage to the RPE (retina pigment epithelium cells) which are known to be the root causes of Age-related Macular Degeneration. By eating a life long diet which contains high levels of antioxidants is beneficial to the RPE and retinal health in general.

There is no cure for Age-related Macular Degeneration but various treatment options are available such as nutritional supplements such as ensuring you are getting enough vitamin C, E, Zinc, copper and beta-carotene. Omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oils, can also be beneficial. Studies have also shown that 3mg of Melatonin given each night for 3 months to those suffering from AMD may prove beneficial also, due to reduced macular changes, and also potentially due to the stimulated telomerase activity within the RPE.

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