My grandmother lost her sight to age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). It was heartbreaking to watch as her ability to do the things she loved—such as reading and knitting—faded away, along with her dwindling eyesight.
And, sadly, there wasn’t a thing that could be done to stop the decline.
Millions have lost their sight… and their independence… to diabetic retinopathy, ARMD and other blinding conditions. But a growing stack of research has revealed a bright ray of hope in the fight against these vision thieves.
It turns out a simple grape extract may be able to help you hold onto your sight.
Grape extract fights macular degeneration
The phytochemical resveratrol—a plant compound found in red wine, grapes, blueberries and peanuts—is a natural antioxidant and inflammatory. And experts say there’s a pile of evidence that phytochemicals such as resveratrol may be able to help prevent, and even treat, certain eye disorders.
Scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St, Louis found that resveratrol can help prevent the out-of-control blood-vessel growth (angiogenesis) in the eyes that leads to these debilitating conditions.1
But even more exciting for those already suffering with these diseases is that when researchers gave resveratrol to mice with irregular blood vessels in their eyes, the abnormal blood vessels actually began to disappear!
So the phytochemical not only shows great promise as a therapy to prevent ARMD—keeping new irregular blood vessels from forming—but also may be able to eliminate the abnormal vessels that have already started to develop.
Reverse eye aging with resveratrol
In another study, published in the journal Nature, researchers revealed a resveratrol based supplement offered long term protection against both the wet and dry forms of ARMD.2 According to the scientists the supplement, which also included vitamin D3, was linked to improvements in eye structure and function.
As we age the tissues in our eyes start to thin and the macular pigment starts to fade. This process is put on fast forward in eyes suffering with macular degeneration.3,4 But in folks taking the resveratrol-based supplement the tissues thickened over time. In other words, the opposite of the age related decline you’d expect occured!
Get better vision with grapes
But the potential vision benefits of resveratrol don’t end with macular degeneration. The grape extract has shown promise against other sight-stealing diseases as well.
In a study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, a resveratrol supplement significantly slashed a number of markers linked to glaucoma.5 Several lab and animal studies have found the extract shows great promise against diabetic retinopathy.6,7,8,9 And the compound has been shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative damage in eyes.10
A small glass of red wine with dinner is a pleasant way to add more resveratrol to your diet. You can also eat more red grapes, cranberries, blueberries and peanuts. But if you’re using the fruits or nuts in a recipe don’t expect them to pack quite the same phytochemical punch, as heating them up reduces their resveratrol content.
Resveratrol supplements are also easy to find online, and in natural food and drug stores.
I’ve always said I would make a terrible blind person. Now, thanks to resveratrol, I may never have to prove it.
1. “Resveratrol Regulates Pathologic Angiogenesis by a Eukaryotic Elongation Factor-2 Kinase-Regulated Pathway,” Am J Pathol. 2010 Jul; 177(1): 481–492
2. “Resveratrol Based Oral Nutritional Supplement Produces Long-Term Beneficial Effects on Structure and Visual Function in Human Patients,” Nutrients, 2014 Oct; 6(10): 4404–4420
3. “Choroid, Haller’s, and Sattler’s layer thickness in intermediate age-related macular degeneration with and without fellow neovascular eyes,” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Jul 22;55(8):5074-80
4. “Structural and biochemical analyses of choroidal thickness in human donor eyes,” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Mar 6;55(3):1352-60
5. “Resveratrol prevents the expression of glaucoma markers induced by chronic oxidative stress in trabecular meshwork cells,” Food Chem Toxicol. 2009 Jan; 47(1): 198–204
6. “Resveratrol improves diabetic retinopathy possibly through oxidative stress – nuclear factor κB – apoptosis pathway,” Pharmacol Rep. 2012;64(6):1505-14
7. “Resveratrol blocks diabetes-induced early vascular lesions and vascular endothelial growth factor induction in mouse retinas,” Acta Ophthalmol. 2012 Feb;90(1):e31-7
8. “Endoplasmic reticulum stress in retinal vascular degeneration: protective role of resveratrol,” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 May 31;53(6):3241-9
9. “trans-resveratrol inhibits hyperglycemia-induced inflammation and connexin downregulation in retinal pigment epithelial cells,” J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Jul 28;58(14):8246-52
10. “Prevention of ocular inflammation in endotoxin-induced uveitis with resveratrol by inhibiting oxidative damage and nuclear factor-kappaB activation,” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Jul;50(7):3512-9
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
Follow Alice and HealthierTalk on Twitter and Facebook.
Latest posts by Alice Jacob (see all)
- Science reveals why it’s so hard to think about nothing - April 27, 2017
- Stunning study: Avoid diabetes with this “sugary” food - April 26, 2017
- Study uncovers superjuice secret to a “younger” brain - April 24, 2017