Posted on Jan 30, 2012, 6 a.m.
Providing potent protection for eyes, grapes may help to slow or help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of legal blindness for people age 55-plus in the Western world. Aging of the retina is associated with increased levels of oxidative damage, and oxidative stress is thought to play a pivotal role in the development of AMD. Silvia Finnemann, from Fordham University (New York, USA), and colleagues investigated the impact of an antioxidant-rich diet on vision using mice prone to developing retinal damage in old age in much the same way as humans do. Mice either received a grape-enriched diet, a diet with added lutein, or a normal diet. The team found that the grape-enriched diet protected against oxidative damage of the retina and prevented blindness in those mice consuming grapes. While lutein was also effective, grapes were found to offer significantly more protection. The study authors conclude that: “These findings identify [that] oxidative burden of [retinal] cells in vivo … is associated with age-related blindness and … can be prevented by consuming an antioxidant-rich diet.”
Chia-Chia Yu, Emeline F. Nandrot, Ying Dun, Silvia C. Finnemann. “Dietary antioxidants prevent age-related retinal pigment epithelium actin damage and blindness in mice lacking [alpha]v[beta]5 integrin.” Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 8 December 2011.