Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Eat leafy green veggies to help prevent cataracts

03.12.2004


A new study from Ohio State University provides the first laboratory evidence that certain antioxidants found in dark leafy green vegetables can indeed help prevent cataracts.



Vitamin manufacturers often add the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin to their products, but until now there has been no biochemical evidence to support the claim that these substances help protect the eyes, said Joshua Bomser, a study co-author and an assistant professor of nutrition at Ohio State University. Some studies have suggested that these antioxidants boost eye health.

Results from laboratory experiments on human lens cells showed that lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants found in plants such as kale, spinach and collard greens, helped to protect the cells from exposure to ultraviolet light – a leading cause of cataract formation.


The researchers compared the effects of these antioxidants to vitamin E, an antioxidant also thought to reduce the onset of eye diseases. Lutein and zeaxanthin were nearly 10 times more powerful than vitamin E in protecting the cells from UV-induced damage.

Nearly 20 million people in the United States suffer from cataracts – a condition where the lens of the eye clouds over, making it difficult or nearly impossible to see. Current treatment is expensive and involves a surgical procedure that is performed more than 1.5 million times each year at an estimated cost of $3.4 billion.

"Along with the many environmental, lifestyle and genetic risk factors associated with cataracts, exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and oxidative stress appear to be the most relevant in this disease," Bomser said. "Our results are the first to provide physical evidence suggesting that lutein and zeaxanthin decrease damage caused by ultraviolet radiation."

The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

The researchers treated human eye lens cells with varying concentrations of lutein, zeaxanthin or vitamin E. They then exposed these cells, along with a batch of untreated cells, to doses of ultraviolet-beta radiation for 10 seconds. UVB radiation is thought to be the primary environmental culprit in causing skin cancer as well as initiating cataract disease. "The dose of UVB radiation we used on the cells is about the same amount a person receives when they get a mild tan," Bomser said.

Adding lutein and zeaxanthin to the cell cultures provided double the protection from UVB damage – these antioxidants reduced signs of damage by 50 to 60 percent, compared to vitamin E, which reduced the same signs of damage by 25 to 32 percent.

The researchers also found that it took far less lutein and zeaxanthin as vitamin E – about 10 times less – to get this protective effect. "The lens is equipped with antioxidant defense mechanisms designed to guard against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation and oxidative stress," Bomser said. "In addition to protective enzymes and compounds like vitamins C and E, we think that low concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin in the eye lens help shield the eye from the harmful effects of UVB radiation."

What researchers don’t know, however, is how these two antioxidants get into the eye. It’s what Bomser hopes to learn next. "Lutein and zeaxanthin accumulate in the retina and in the lens of the eye, but we’re not sure how they reach the eye in the first place," he said. "They travel through the bloodstream, but the lens doesn’t have a blood supply."

This work was supported in part by the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and the Virginia Vivian Scholarship Fund of Ohio State’s College of Human Ecology.

Bomser conducted the research with Ohio State colleagues Mark Failla, professor and chair of nutrition, Chureeporn "Julie" Chitchumroonchockchai and Jayme Glamm.

Joshua Bomser | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ohio-state.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution
09.12.2016 | Veterans Affairs Research Communications

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>