Grapes May Help Prevent Age-Related Blindness
FRESNO, Calif., Jan. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Can eating grapes slow or help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a debilitating condition affecting millions of elderly people worldwide? Results from a new study published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine(1) suggest this might be the case. The antioxidant actions of grapes are believed to be responsible for these protective effects.
The study compared 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 result? Grapes proved to offer dramatic protection: 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 protective effect of the grapes in this study was remarkable, offering a benefit for vision at old age even if grapes were consumed only at young age,” said principal investigator Silvia Finnemann, PhD, Department of Biological Sciences, Fordham University in New York.
Dr. Finnemann noted that results from her study also suggest that age-related vision loss is a result of cumulative, oxidative damage over time. “A lifelong diet enriched in natural antioxidants, such as those in grapes, appears to be directly beneficial for retinal health and function.”
AMD is a progressive eye condition, leading to the deterioration of the center of the retina, called the macula. It is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. Oxidative damage and oxidative stress are thought to play a pivotal role in the development of AMD.
“Preserving eye health is a key concern as we age and this study shows that grapes may play a critical role in achieving this,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission. “This is good news for consumers of all ages who enjoy grapes, and adds to the growing body of evidence that grapes offer an array of health benefits.”
The California Table Grape Commission was created by the California legislature in 1967 to increase worldwide demand for fresh California grapes through a variety of research and promotional programs.
The California Table Grape Commission prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, or religion. The California Table Grape Commission is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
(1) Yu,C.-C: et al., Dietary antioxidants prevent age-related retinal pigment epithelium damage and blindness in mice lacking the avb5 integrin, Free Radic. Biol. Med. (2011), doi:10.1016.
Contact: Karen Brux
SOURCE California Table Grape Commission