Botanicals for Aging Eyes

February 4, 2015 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Recently, an old friend asked for some suggestions to protect her eyes from the “normal” visual decline associated with aging. Now, you’ve probably seen more than a few eye supplements at your local health food stores and pharmacies. And, most of these products contain similar ingredients such as beta carotene or pro-Vitamin A, copper, lutein, Vitamin C, zinc and so on. All of these nutrients and phytochemicals have been shown to benefit ocular function or health in one way or another. Having said that, some newer, far less common botanicals may provide additional protection. What’s more, these lesser known extracts are generally not found in nutraceutical formulas intended to support eye health.

Before I delve into the supplement arena, first a quick look at the latest information about the role that diet plays in visual preservation. A fascinating study in the December 2014 issue of Nutrition Research describes the importance of dietary antioxidants in relation to “age-related decline in visual acuity”. The authors of the study looked at the food intake of Amazonian hunter-gatherers who still live a relatively undisturbed existence. What they found is that the diversity of their diet differed significantly from the neighboring population. For instance the hunter-gatherers consumed 130 food species and 80 wild plants. In comparison, neighbors living an agrarian or modern lifestyle, only ate 63 food species and 4 wild plants. Why does this matter? Well, the researchers determined that the phytochemical-rich diet of the hunter-gatherers helped them to retain high visual acuity throughout their lives. The same was not true of the agrarian, comparison group. Additionally, a publication in the August 2014 edition of the American Journal of Ophthalmology reports that greater adherence to a healthy diet, over the course of ten years, dramatically reduces the risk of visual impairment in older adults. In short, nutrition matters and should be the foundation for any ocular supportive program.

Meriva, a curcumin extract that is bound to a component in lecithin, has been shown in several studies to improve eyesight and protect eyes from a number of conditions including chronic central serous chorioretinopathy, chronic anterior uveitis, diabetic microangiopathy and retinopathy. The typical dosage used in the studies for the “management of inflammatory and degenerative eye conditions” is 500 mg taken twice daily with food. A study from 2009, reveals that Pycnogenol, a patented pine bark extract, given at a dosage of 50 mg thrice-daily, significantly improves visual acuity in diabetic patients. In the trial, those taking Pycnogenol demonstrated a reduction in macular swelling and an improvement in microcirculation in the eyes. Diabetics are particularly at risk for hastened aging and visual impairment in their advancing years. Also of note, a combination of bilberry and Pycnogenol, sold commercially as Mirtogenol, is known to lower glaucoma-related, intraocular pressure (IOP). Another rare extract which lowers high IOP is saffron. To date, three studies attest to ocular benefits pertaining to a daily intake of 20-30 mg/daily of saffron extract. Thus far, saffron has shown promise specifically in patients living with age related macular degeneration and open angle glaucoma.

So, which remedy is right for you? Apart from choosing based on your unique, ocular circumstance, I suggest keeping in mind the other health effects that these remedies may impart. All three of the extracts possess numerous, scientifically-proven health benefits. In fact, there are so many reasons to consider each one that I simply can’t describe all of them here and now. However, as a basic guideline consider curcumin/Meriva if you’re also dealing with any kind of physical pain or soreness because of its anti-inflammatory activity. If you have cardiovascular concerns, Pycnogenol is an excellent candidate for enhancing circulation and lowering several risk factors associated with heart disease. Saffron has been most extensively studied as a natural antidepressant. Therefore, if you tend have any mood related troubles, saffron may boost your mental outlook in addition to protecting your vision. As a bonus, saffron is not associated with conventional antidepressant-related side effects such as sexual dysfunction or weight gain.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – A Phytochemical-Rich Diet May Explain the Absence of Age-Related (link)

Study 2 – Adherence to Dietary Guidelines & the 10-Year Cumulative Incidence (link)

Study 3 – Oral Administration of a Curcumin-Phospholipid Delivery System for (link)

Study 4 – Meriva®, a Lecithinized Curcumin Delivery System, in Diabetic (link)

Study 5 – Management of Chronic Anterior Uveitis Relapses: Efficacy of Oral (link)

Study 6 – Pycnogenol Improves Microcirculation, Retinal Edema & Visual Acuity (link)

Study 7 – Mirtogenol Potentiates Latanoprost in Lowering Intraocular Pressure (link)

Study 8 – The Ocular Hypotensive Effect of Saffron Extract in Primary Open Angle (link)

Study 9 – Functional Effect of Saffron Supplementation & Risk Genotypes in Early (link)

Study 10 – Influence of Saffron Supplementation on Retinal Flicker Sensitivity in (link)

Bilberry + Pycnogenol (Mirtogenol) Lowers Intraocular Pressure

Source: Mol Vis. 2008 Jul 10;14:1288-92. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements

28 Comments & Updates to “Botanicals for Aging Eyes”

  1. JP Says:

    Update: More evidence showing benefit of Pycnogenol (and other antioxidants) in diabetic retinopathy …

    Indian J Ophthalmol. 2015 Jan;63(1):9-14.

    Circulating levels of reactive oxygen species in patients with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy and the influence of antioxidant supplementation: 6-month follow-up.

    AIMS: The aim was to evaluate circulating levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and changes in central macular thickness (CMT) in patients with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) after antioxidant supplementation.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 68 patients (68 eyes) with NPDR were enrolled. Patients were randomly divided into two groups: Treated with antioxidant supplement (Group A) and untreated control group (Group B). Each tablet, for oral administration, containing pycnogenol 50 mg, Vitamin E 30 mg and coenzyme Q10 20 mg. CMT and free oxygen radical test (FORT) were analyzed at baseline (T0), 3 (T1) and 6 (T2) months in both groups.

    RESULTS: In Group A, FORT levels and CMT were significantly reduced over time (P < 0.001 for both). In Group B, FORT levels were increased (P < 0.001) and CMT did not vary significantly (P = 0.81) over 3 time points. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study showing the reduction of ROS levels in patients with NPDR thanks to antioxidant therapy. Moreover, our findings have suggested also an influence on retinal thickness. Be well! JP

  2. JP Says:

    Update: Fish oil benefits many risk factors associated with aging including dry eyes …

    Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2015 Feb 16.

    Oral omega-3 fatty acids treatment in computer vision syndrome related dry eye.

    PURPOSE: To assess the efficacy of dietary consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (O3FAs) on dry eye symptoms, Schirmer test, tear film break up time (TBUT) and conjunctival impression cytology (CIC) in patients with computer vision syndrome.

    SETTING AND DESIGN: Interventional, randomized, double blind, multi-centric study.

    METHODS: Four hundred and seventy eight symptomatic patients using computers for more than 3h per day for minimum 1 year were randomized into two groups: 220 patients received two capsules of omega-3 fatty acids each containing 180mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 120mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) daily (O3FA group) and 236 patients received two capsules of a placebo containing olive oil daily for 3 months (placebo group). The primary outcome measure was improvement in dry eye symptoms and secondary outcome measures were improvement in Nelson grade and an increase in Schirmer and TBUT scores at 3 months.

    RESULTS: In the placebo group, before dietary intervention, the mean symptom score, Schirmer, TBUT and CIC scores were 7.5±2, 19.9±4.7mm, 11.5±2s and 1±0.9 respectively, and 3 months later were 6.8±2.2, 20.5±4.7mm, 12±2.2s and 0.9±0.9 respectively. In the O3FA group, these values were 8.0±2.6, 20.1±4.2mm, 11.7±1.6s and 1.2±0.8 before dietary intervention and 3.9±2.2, 21.4±4mm, 15±1.7s, 0.5±0.6 after 3 months of intervention, respectively.

    CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the beneficial effect of orally administered O3FAs in alleviating dry eye symptoms, decreasing tear evaporation rate and improving Nelson grade in patients suffering from computer vision syndrome related dry eye.

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Update: Maqui berry extract shows promise re: dry eye symptoms …

    Panminerva Med. 2014 Sep;56(3 Suppl 1):1-6.

    MaquiBright™ standardized maqui berry extract significantly increases tear fluid production and ameliorates dry eye-related symptoms in a clinical pilot trial.

    AIM: Dry eye symptoms, resulting from insufficient tear fluid generation, represent a considerable burden for a largely underestimated number of people. We concluded from earlier pre-clinical investigations that the etiology of dry eyes encompasses oxidative stress burden to lachrymal glands and that antioxidant MaquiBright™ Aristotelia chilensis berry extract helps restore glandular activity.

    METHODS: In this pilot trial we investigated 13 healthy volunteers with moderately dry eyes using Schirmer test, as well as a questionnaire which allows for estimating the impact of dry eyes on daily routines. Study participants were assigned to one of two groups, receiving MaquiBright™ at daily dosage of either 30 mg (N.=7) or 60 mg (N.=6) over a period of 60 days. Both groups presented with significantly (P<0.05) improved tear fluid volume already after 30 days treatment. Schirmer test showed an increase from baseline 16.3±2.6 mm to 24.4±4.8 mm (P<0.05) with 30 mg MaquiBright™ and from 18.7±1.9 mm to 27.6±3.4 mm with 60 mg (P<0.05), respectively. Following treatment with 30 mg MaquiBright™ for further 30 days, tear fluid volume dropped slightly to 20.5±2.8 mm, whereas the improvement persisted with 60 mg treatment at 27.1±2.7 mm after 60 days treatment (P<0.05 vs. baseline).

    RESULTS: The burden of eye dryness on daily routines was evaluated employing the "Dry Eye-related Quality of life Score" (DEQS), with values spanning from zero (impact) to a maximum score of 60. Participants had comparable baseline values of 41.0±7.7 (30 mg) and 40.2±6.3 (60 mg). With 30 mg treatment the score significantly decreased to 21.8±3.9 and 18.9±3.9, after 30 and 60 days, respectively. With 60 mg treatment the DEQS significantly decreased to 26.9±5.3 and 11.1±2.7, after 30 and 60 days, respectively. Blood was drawn for safety analyses (complete blood rheology and -chemistry) at all three investigative time points without negative findings.

    CONCLUSION: In conclusion, while daily supplementation with 30 mg MaquiBright™ is effective, the dosage of 60 significantly increased tear fluid volume at all investigative time points and decreased dry eye symptoms to almost a quarter from initial values after two months treatment.

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Update 04/30/15:

    J Nutr Health Aging. 2015;19(5):548-554.

    Bilberry Extract Supplementation for Preventing Eye Fatigue in Video Display Terminal Workers.

    OBJECTIVES: To examine the effect of a dietary supplement containing bilberry extract (BE) on eye fatigue induced by acute video display terminal (VDT) loads.

    DESIGN AND SETTING: A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was performed from August 2012 to February 2013 in the Medical Corporation Jico-kai Yagi Hospital, and the Shinyokohama Shinoharaguchi Orthopedic Surgery and Dermatology Clinic, in Japan.

    PARTICIPANTS: Two hundred eighty-one office workers aged 20-40 years that used VDTs were screened by critical flicker fusion (CFF) and near point accommodation (NPA).

    INTERVENTION: The participants were randomized to either a BE (480 mg/day) or placebo (vehicle) group, and took allocated capsule, daily, for 8 weeks.

    MEASUREMENTS: The CFF, NPA, contrast visual acuity, functional visual acuity, keratoconjunctival epithelial damage, and fluorescein tear film break-up time were examined, and 18 subjective symptoms of eye fatigue were evaluated by questionnaire. Adverse events were reported via medical interviews. Data were collected both before and after VDT load at baseline, and 4, and 8 weeks after daily supplementation with either BE or placebo.

    RESULTS: Of 281 participants screened, 88 having relatively lower levels of CFF and NPA were enrolled in the study. Of these, 37 control and 43 BE group subjects completed the study. The VDT load-induced reduction in CFF was alleviated after 8 weeks of BE supplementation (95% confidence interval, 0.10-1.60; p=0.023), in contrast to placebo supplementation, while NPA variation was not. Of the subjective symptoms of eye fatigue, VDT load-induced ocular fatigue sensation, ocular pain, eye heaviness, uncomfortable sensation, and foreign body sensation were mitigated more in the BE group than in the control group, at week 8 (p<0.05). There were no severe adverse events in either group.

    CONCLUSIONS: BE supplementation improved some of the objective and subjective parameters of eye fatigue induced by VDT loads.

    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Update 05/18/15:

    Panminerva Med. 2015 Sep;57(3):121-5.

    Recurrence of retinal vein thrombosis with Pycnogenol® or Aspirin® supplementation: a registry study.

    AIM: The aim of this study was to use Pycnogenol® to reduce the recurrence of retinal vein thrombosis (RVT) after a first episode. Pycnogenol® is an anti-inflammatory, anti-edema and an antiplatelet agent with a “mild” antithrombotic activity. The registry, using Pycnogenol® was aimed at reducing the number of repeated episodes of RVT.

    METHODS: Possible management options – chosen by patients – were: standard management; standard management + oral Aspirin® 100 mg once/day (if there were no tolerability problems before admission); standard management + Pycnogenol® two 50 mg capsules per day (for a total of 100 mg/day). Number of subjects, age, sex, distribution, percentage of smokers, and vision were comparable.

    RESULTS: Recurrent RVT was seen in 17.39% of controls and in 3.56% of subjects supplemented with Pycnogenol® (P<0.05 vs. controls). There was RVT in 15.38% of the subjects using Aspirin®. The incidence of RVT was 4.88 times higher with standard management in comparison with the supplement group and 4.32 lower with Pycnogenol® supplementation in comparison with Aspirin®. Vision level was better with Pycnogenol® (20/25 at nine months; P<0.05). With Pycnogenol®, edema at the retinal level was also significantly reduced compared to the other groups. Pycnogenol® has a very good safety profile. In the Aspirin® group 26 completed 9 months and 6 subjects dropped out for tolerability problems. In the Aspirin® group, 2 minor, subclinical, retinal, hemorrhagic episodes during the follow-up were observed (2 subjects out of 26, equivalent to 7.69%). This pilot registry indicates that Pycnogenol® seems to reduce the recurrence of RVT without side effects. It does not induce new hemorrhagic episodes that may be theoretically linked to the use of Aspirin® (or other antiplatelets).

    CONCLUSION: Larger studies should be planned involving a wider range of conditions, diseases and risk factors associated to RVT and to its recurrence.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Update 07/10/15:

    Undersea Hyperb Med. 2015 Mar-Apr;42(2):125-31.

    Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for choroidal neovascularization: a pilot study.

    INTRODUCTION: Choroidal neovascularization (CNV) is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide and affects patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Its natural course may lead to impaired central vision and macular fibrosis. Even VEGF blockade, currently the best available treatments for CNV, may fail to improve vision. Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy may be an alternative or ancillary treatment for CNV.

    METHODS: AMD patients with active CNV underwent 10 daily sessions of HBO2 at 2 atmospheres absolute (atm abs) for 120 minutes each session. After the end of the sessions, patients with clinical or tomographical signs of CNV activity underwent standard anti-VEGF treatment.

    RESULTS: Seven patients (average age 73) underwent 10 daily 120-minute sessions of HBO2 at 2 atm abs. After the sessions, five patients underwent intravitreal injection of bevacizumab. Average follow-up was 150 days. Average CNV area at baseline was 14.42 mm2; average CNV greatest linear diameter at baseline was 4.56 mm. Statistical analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed for central retinal thickness and volume mean percentage changes post-treatment. At the end of follow up, five patients showed anatomical improvement, one patient maintained anatomical aspect and one patient showed anatomical worsening.

    CONCLUSION: HBO2 may be a safe and tolerable treatment option for patients with active CNV, potentially delaying its progression, as monotherapy or in combination with intravitreal bevacizumab.

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Updated 08/06/15:

    Saudi J Ophthalmol. 2015 Jul-Sep;29(3):197-200.

    Efficacy and safety of 1% forskolin eye drops in open angle glaucoma – An open label study.

    PURPOSE: Current treatment for glaucoma includes beta-blockers and prostaglandin analogues which have their own disadvantages. Thus a need exists for new ocular hypotensive agents that are more efficacious and have fewer side effects. Therefore, forskolin eye drops 1%, through herbal product; a clinical trial was carried out for the safety and efficacy in the treatment of open angle glaucoma.

    METHODS: Ninety adult male/female patients of 18-60 years of age, of either sex, suffering from open angle glaucoma with an intraocular pressure (IOP) of more than 24 mm Hg were enrolled in the study. Patients were advised to instill 2 drops thrice a day (8:00 h, 14:00 h and 20:00 h) and tonometric readings were recorded on baseline visit and on Visit 2, i.e. end of 1st week, Visit 3-2nd week, Visit 4-3rd week, and Visit 5-4th week. The reduction in IOP across each time point from untreated baseline visit and reduction in IOP across various study visits were measured.

    RESULTS: The mean (95% CI) difference in reduction in IOP was 4.5 mm Hg (P < 0.05) in the right eye and was 5.4 mm Hg (p < 0.05) in the left eye from baseline visit (Visit 1) to final visit (Visit 5). CONCLUSIONS: Forskolin 1% eye drops can be a safe alternative to beta blockers in glaucoma patients having concomitant asthma. Be well! JP

  8. JP Says:

    Updated 11/06/15:

    J Diabetes Res. 2015;2015:231570.

    Regular Chinese Green Tea Consumption Is Protective for Diabetic Retinopathy: A Clinic-Based Case-Control Study.

    Objective. To determine the association between regular Chinese green tea consumption and the risk of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in diabetic patients in China.

    Methods. 100 DR patients and 100 age-sex-matched diabetic controls without retinopathy were recruited in a clinic-based, case-control study. DR was defined from retinal photographs and detailed information on Chinese green tea consumption of the participants was collected through a face-to-face interview.

    Results. The crude odds ratio [OR] of Chinese green tea consumption for DR was 0.49 (95% confidence interval: 0.26-0.90). When stratified by sex, the protective effect of Chinese green tea consumption on DR was statistically significant in women (P = 0.01) but not in men (P = 0.63). After adjusting for age, sex, and other confounders, DR was significantly associated with Chinese green tea consumption (OR = 0.48; P = 0.04), higher systolic blood pressure (OR = 1.02; P = 0.05), longer duration of diabetes (OR = 1.07; P = 0.02), and the presence of family history of diabetes (OR = 2.35; P = 0.04).

    Conclusions. Diabetic patients who had regularly drunk Chinese green tea every week for at least one year in their lives had a DR risk reduction of about 50% compared with those who had not. Regular Chinese green tea consumption may be a novel approach for the prevention of DR.

    Be well!


  9. JP Says:

    Updated 11/06/15:

    JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015 Oct 8:1-10.

    Intakes of Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Other Carotenoids and Age-Related Macular Degeneration During 2 Decades of Prospective Follow-up.

    Importance: Despite strong biological plausibility, evidence from epidemiologic studies and clinical trials on the relations between intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has been inconsistent. The roles of other carotenoids are less thoroughly investigated.

    Objective: To investigate the associations between intakes of carotenoids and AMD.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: Prospective cohort study, with cohorts from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study in the United States. A total of 63 443 women and 38 603 men were followed up, from 1984 until May 31, 2010, in the Nurses’ Health Study and from 1986 until January 31, 2010, in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. All participants were aged 50 years or older and were free of diagnosed AMD, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and cancer at baseline.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: Predicted plasma carotenoid scores were computed directly from food intake, assessed by repeated food frequency questionnaires at baseline and follow-up, using validated regression models to account for bioavailability and reporting validity of different foods, and associations between predicted plasma carotenoid scores and AMD were determined.

    Results: We confirmed 1361 incident intermediate and 1118 advanced AMD cases (primarily neovascular AMD) with a visual acuity of 20/30 or worse by medical record review. Comparing extreme quintiles of predicted plasma lutein/zeaxanthin score, we found a risk reduction for advanced AMD of about 40% in both women and men (pooled relative risk comparing extreme quintiles = 0.59; 95% CI, 0.48-0.73; P for trend < .001). Predicted plasma carotenoid scores for other carotenoids, including β-cryptoxanthin, α-carotene, and β-carotene, were associated with a 25% to 35% lower risk of advanced AMD when comparing extreme quintiles. The relative risk comparing extreme quintiles for the predicted plasma total carotenoid index was 0.65 (95% CI, 0.53-0.80; P for trend < .001). We did not identify any associations of carotenoids, either as predicted plasma score or calculated intake, with intermediate AMD. Conclusions and Relevance: Higher intake of bioavailable lutein/zeaxanthin is associated with a long-term reduced risk of advanced AMD. Given that some other carotenoids are also associated with a lower risk, a public health strategy aimed at increasing dietary consumption of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids may reduce the incidence of advanced AMD. Be well! JP

  10. JP Says:

    Updated 11/07/15:

    Clin Ophthalmol. 2015 Oct 22;9:1981-8.

    Short-term effects of relaxation music on patients suffering from primary open-angle glaucoma.

    PURPOSE: To evaluate whether additive relaxation music (RM) has an adjuvant short-term effect on physiological and psychological parameters in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma.

    METHODS: Prospective, randomized clinical trial. Patients in the therapy group (TG) received a 30-minute RM via headphones, whereas members of the control group (CG) did not. Best corrected visual acuity, intraocular pressure, visual field testing, short- and long-term mental states, and blood levels of different stress hormones were analyzed and compared.

    RESULTS: A total of 25 (61%)/16 (39%) patients were assigned to the TG/CG. Best corrected visual acuity, daily intraocular pressure, and short-term mental state (KAB) development were significantly better in the TG in comparison to controls. Visual field testing, long-term mental well-being (profile of mood states), and adrenalin, cortisol, and endothelin-I blood levels did not differ significantly between both groups.

    CONCLUSION: Additive RM applied on a daily basis can positively impact various physiological and psychological parameters in the short term.

    Be well!


  11. JP Says:

    Updated 2/4/16:

    Cesk Slov Oftalmol. 2015 Winter;71(6):288-92.

    [ProVens® in the Therapy of Glaucoma and Ocular Hypertension].

    OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of the ProVens® dietary supplement administration on intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma and ocular hypertension.

    MATERIAL AND METHODS: The patients included in the trial were given the ProVens® dietary supplement once daily. One ProVens® tablet contains: 50 mg of maritime pine bark extract, 100 mg of green tea extract, and 3 mg of blueberry extract. The main ProVens® components are proanthocyanins from the bark of the maritime pine tree Pinus pinaster, polyphenols from green tea, and anthocyanins from blueberries. The total number of patients included in the trial was 46. Out of these, 35 patients were monitored for asymptomatic ocular hypertension and 11 patients for open-angle glaucoma treated with prostaglandin analogs. Intraocular pressure was measured by applanation tonometry in the beginning of the trial, after one month, and after three months of their inclusion in the trial, always at the same time of the day.

    RESULTS: In the group of patients with ocular hypertension, there was a statistically significant reduction in the intraocular pressure from the baseline values of 24.2 ± 2.1 mm Hg to 20.9 ± 2.5 mm Hg within the period of three months (p < 0.0001). In the group of patients with open-angle glaucoma, there was a statistically significant reduction of the intraocular pressure from the baseline values of 18.4 ± 3.2 mm Hg to 17.0 ± 3.1 mm Hg within the period of three months since the beginning of administration of the product (p = 0.022). When comparing both groups, we observed a significantly higher reduction in intraocular pressure (p = 0.0001) in the group of patients with ocular hypertension. In the whole group, no adverse effects were reported during the intake of this dietary supplement. CONCLUSION: Intake of the ProVens® dietary supplement containing proanthocyanins from the bark of the maritime pine tree Pinus pinaster together with a mixture of herbal antioxidants appears to be one of the methods of how to improve the control of intraocular pressure, particularly in patients with ocular hypertension. Be well! JP

  12. JP Says:

    Updated 06/12/16:

    Nutr Metab (Lond). 2016 Jun 4;13:40.

    Association of low oleic acid intake with diabetic retinopathy in type 2 diabetic patients: a case-control study.

    BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to describe the intake of macronutrient, especially fatty acids, and explore their possible effect on diabetic retinopathy (DR) in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

    METHODS: In this case-control study, we included a total of 146 patients with DR and 148 without DR. The intake of macronutrient was evaluated using a validated food frequency questionnaire. We used logistic regression adjusted for sex, age, diabetes duration, energy intake, educational level, physical activity, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and diabetes treatment, to estimate odds ratio (ORs) of DR.

    RESULTS: Patients with DR had significantly lower intake of fibre, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and palmitic and oleic acid. Inverse associations were observed between MUFA and oleic acid intake in DR. Subjects with intermediate and high MUFA intake were less likely to have DR than those with lower MUFA intake, with ORs of 0.46 (95 % CI: 0.22-0.93) and 0.42 (95 % CI: 0.18-0.97), respectively. Similarly, intermediate and high oleic acid intake were associated with reduced DR frequency compared with low oleic acid intake, with OR values of 0.48 (95 % CI: 0.23-0.97) and 0.37 (95 % CI: 0.16-0.85), respectively. These associations were stronger in patients with a longer diabetes duration.

    CONCLUSION: In type 2 diabetes mellitus, MUFA and oleic acid intake were inversely associated with DR.

    Be well!


  13. JP Says:

    Updated 06/15/16:

    Clin Ophthalmol. 2016 May 9;10:813-20.

    A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of oral antioxidant supplement therapy in patients with dry eye syndrome.

    PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy of oral antioxidant supplementation in the treatment of patients with dry eye syndrome (DES).

    METHODS: A prospective, randomized, double-blinded study compared the effects of an antioxidant supplement (containing anthocyanosides, astaxanthin, vitamins A, C, and E, and several herbal extracts, including Cassiae semen and Ophiopogonis japonicus) with placebo on patients with DES. We assessed dry eye symptoms, visual acuity, Schirmer’s test, tear film breakup time, cornea and conjunctiva fluorescein staining, serum anti-SSA/anti-SSB antibodies, and the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in tears. The supplementation period was 8 weeks and patients were followed up every 4 weeks for 16 weeks. A linear mixed model was used to compare the groups, while within-group differences were tested by repeated-measures analysis of variance.

    RESULTS: Forty-three patients, 20 and 23 in treatment and placebo groups, respectively, completed the study. Liver and renal functions were normal. Diastolic blood pressure decreased in the treatment group. There were no significant differences in systolic blood pressure, dry eye symptoms, serum anti-SSA and anti-SSB, visual acuity, intraocular pressure, or fluorescein corneal staining between the groups. Tear film breakup time scores and Schirmer’s test without topical anesthesia significantly improved in the treatment group. Tear ROS level differed between the groups and decreased after treatment. Overall subjective impression revealed a significant improvement with treatment compared with placebo.

    CONCLUSION: Oral antioxidant supplementations may increase tear production and improve tear film stability by reducing tear ROS. The vegetable-based antioxidant supplement used in this study is safe and can be utilized as an adjuvant therapy to conventional artificial tear therapy for patients with DES.

    Be well!


  14. JP Says:

    Updated 06/26/16:

    Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2016 Jun;20(11):2418-24.

    Bilberry extracts are not created equal: the role of non anthocyanin fraction. Discovering the “dark side of the force” in a preliminary study.

    OBJECTIVE: Several experimental studies and clinical trials support the potential of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L) extracts in promoting eye health and circulation. Many active ingredients have been isolated from the berries and leaves of the bilberry plant. However, anthocyanins represent the most widely studied bioactive compounds in this plant.

    PATIENTS AND METHODS: The aim of this registry, supplement study was to evaluate the effects of Mirtoselect® (standardized in 36% anthocyanins and obtained by an industrial extraction process that preserves the full range of the non-anthocyanin components, mainly natural sugars and polyphenols) in different types of retinal vasculopathies. In total, 140 patients with different types of retinopathy spontaneously decided to join one of the following groups: standard management (SM) only (n=38); SM associated with Mirtoselect® supplementation (n=47); SM associated with a generic bilberry extract supplementation (n=55). Retinal circulatory parameters and flow measurements of the retinal vessels were evaluated at the inclusion and after 6-months supplementation.

    RESULTS: Overall, significant improvements in several retinal circulatory parameters such as retinal blood flow velocity, with respect to the values at inclusion, were observed in both supplementation groups, especially in Mirtoselect® supplementation group. However, at 6 months, inter-group comparison revealed a statistical advantage in all tested parameters for Mirtoselect® supplementation groups. No side effects or tolerability concerns were reported.

    CONCLUSIONS: Our registry study suggests that Mirtoselect® supplementation could represent an effective and safe integrated approach for the treatment of different retinopathies.

    Be well!


  15. JP Says:

    Updated 07/29/16:

    PLoS One. 2016 Jul 28;11(7):e0160240.

    Olive Oil Consumption and Age-Related Macular Degeneration: The Alienor Study.

    BACKGROUND: Olive oil provides a mixture of lipids and antioxidant nutrients which may help preventing age-related diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, little is known about the associations between olive oil consumption and the risk of AMD.

    OBJECTIVE: To examine associations between olive oil use and AMD prevalence in elderly subjects.

    METHODS: Alienor (Antioxydants, Lipides Essentiels, Nutrition et maladies OculaiRes) is a population-based study on eye diseases performed in elderly residents of Bordeaux (France). In 1999-2000, frequencies of consumption of main categories of dietary fats used were collected. In 2006-2088, AMD was graded from non mydriatic retinal photographs into three exclusive stages: no AMD, early AMD, and late AMD. Two categories of preferred dietary fat used (olive oil, n-3 rich oils, n-6 rich oils, mixed oils, butter and margarine) were defined: “no use” and “regular use” (using fat for spreading and/or cooking and/or dressing). Associations of AMD with each fat use were estimated using Generalized Estimating Equation logistic regressions models.

    RESULTS: Our study included 654 subjects (1269 eyes) with complete data (n = 268 eyes with early AMD and n = 56 with late AMD). After adjustment for potential confounders, regular use of olive oil was significantly associated with a decreased risk of late AMD (odds ratio [OR] = 0.44, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.21;0.91). In contrast, regular use of olive oil was not significantly associated with early AMD (OR = 0.84, 95%CI: 0.59;1.21). No associations were found between regular consumption of n-3 rich oils, n-6 rich oils, mixed oils, butter and margarine and AMD, whatever the stage.

    CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests a protective effect of olive oil consumption for late AMD in this elderly community-dwelling population. Characterization of the mediating nutrients deserves further research.

    Be well!


  16. JP Says:

    Updated 11/11/16:

    Ophthalmology. 2016 Nov 3.

    A Randomized, Double-Masked, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial of Two Forms of Omega-3 Supplements for Treating Dry Eye Disease.

    PURPOSE: To assess the efficacy of 2 forms of oral long-chain omega-3 (ω-3) essential fatty acid (EFA) supplements, phospholipid (krill oil) and triacylglyceride (fish oil), for treating dry eye disease (DED).

    DESIGN: Randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

    PARTICIPANTS: This study was conducted at a single site and involved 60 participants with mild to moderate DED who were randomized (1:1:1) to 1 of 3 groups: placebo (olive oil), krill oil, or fish oil supplements.

    METHODS: Participants received 1 of the 3 interventions: placebo (olive oil 1500 mg/day), krill oil (945 mg/day eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA], + 510 mg/day docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]), or fish oil (1000 mg/day EPA + 500 mg/day DHA) for 90 days, with monthly study visits.

    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcome measures were mean change in (1) tear osmolarity and (2) DED symptoms (Ocular Surface Disease Index [OSDI] score) between days 1 and 90. Secondary outcomes included mean change in key clinical signs (tear stability, tear production, ocular surface staining, bulbar and limbal redness, tear volume, anterior blepharitis, meibomian gland capping) and tear inflammatory cytokine levels.

    RESULTS: In total, 54 participants completed the study. At day 90, tear osmolarity was reduced from baseline with both krill oil (mean ± standard error of the mean: -18.6±4.5 mOsmol/l; n = 18; P < 0.001) and fish oil (-19.8±3.9 mOsmol/l; n = 19; P < 0.001) supplements, compared with placebo (-1.5±4.4 mOsmol/l; n = 17). OSDI score was significantly reduced at day 90 relative to baseline in the krill oil group only, compared with placebo (-18.6±2.4 vs. -10.5±3.3; P = 0.02). At day 90, there were also relative improvements in tear breakup time and ocular bulbar redness, compared with placebo, for both forms of ω-3 EFAs. Basal tear levels of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin 17A were significantly reduced in the krill oil group, compared with placebo, at day 90 (-27.1±10.9 vs. 46.5±30.4 pg/ml; P = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: A moderate daily dose of both forms of long-chain ω-3 EFAs, for 3 months, resulted in reduced tear osmolarity and increased tear stability in people with DED. Omega-3 EFAs in a predominantly phospholipid form (krill oil) may confer additional therapeutic benefit, with improvements in DED symptoms and lower basal tear levels of interleukin 17A, relative to placebo. Be well! JP

  17. JP Says:

    Updated 12/21/16:

    Korean J Ophthalmol. 2016 Dec;30(6):426-433.

    The Relationship between Vitamin D and Glaucoma: A Kangbuk Samsung Health Study.

    PURPOSE: To investigate the relationship between vitamin D and glaucoma.

    METHODS: This retrospective, cross-sectional study included subjects who underwent a health screening at the Health Screening Center of Kangbuk Samsung Hospital from August 2012 to July 2013. All fundus photographs were reviewed by ophthalmologists. The ophthalmologists determined if an eye was glaucomatous based on the criteria set forth by the International Society of Geographical and Epidemiological Ophthalmology and by the appearance of the retinal nerve fiber layer and optic disc. If the subjects previously underwent an ophthalmologic examination, they were enrolled based on the documented history. In addition to fundus photographs, each participant underwent a systemic examination including blood sampling and sociodemographic and behavioral questionnaires. The subjects were divided into five groups according to serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) level. Multivariate logistic regression models were constructed to assess possible associations between elevated glaucoma risk and systemic factors with a p < 0.2 on univariate analysis. RESULTS: Of the 169,208 subjects older than 20 years, 123,331 were eligible for the study. There was no difference in the prevalence of glaucoma according to quintile of serum 25(OH)D level based on sex (p = 0.412 for males, p = 0.169 for females). According to the multivariable-adjusted logistic analysis, the odds ratio of glaucoma for the fourth quintile was significantly lower than that of the first quintile in females (odds ratio, 0.713; 95% confidence interval, 0.520 to 0.979). CONCLUSIONS: Lower 25(OH)D level was significantly associated with an elevated risk of glaucoma in females compared with higher 25(OH)D level. Further evaluation is needed to investigate the relationship between glaucoma and vitamin D. Be well! JP

  18. JP Says:

    Updated 04/08/17:

    J Clin Diagn Res. 2017 Feb;11(2):NC05-NC08.

    Efficacy of Green Tea Extract for Treatment of Dry Eye and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction; A Double-blind Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial Study.

    INTRODUCTION: With an incidence rate of 9%, dry eye is a common problem of the ocular surface, especially in patients more than 40-year-old. Green tea extract has anti-oxidative, anti-bacterial, anti-androgen, and immunomodulatory properties.

    AIM: To evaluate the efficacy of green tea extract for treatment of patients with dry eye and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: In a double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial, 60 patients were selected within the age range of 30 to 70 years, and divided into two groups by blocked randomization method. Standard treatment included artificial tear eye drops, three times a day for a month for all patients. Topical green tea extract was prescribed three times a day for one month in one of the groups. All patients were evaluated at the beginning and end of the study for clinical symptoms based on the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) score, Schirmer’s test, Tear Breakup Time (TBUT), corneal and conjunctival staining and meibum score.

    RESULTS: The mean age of participants in the green tea and control group was 61 and 64 years respectively. In the green tea group, the mean score of clinical symptoms was 9±0.86 that improved to 4.86±0.55 after one month (p=0.002). Scores suggesting improvement of TBUTs and the health of meibomian glands were significantly higher in the green tea group (p=0.002). Furthermore, no side effects of the treatment were observed.

    CONCLUSION: Green tea extract is an effective, safe, and well-tolerated topical treatment for mild and moderate evaporative dry eyes and MGD.

    Be well!


  19. JP Says:

    Not a botanical, but still worthy of note …

    Updated 06/29/17:

    Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2017 Jun 28:1-6.

    Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and Age-Related Cataract.

    PURPOSE: Cataract and insufficient vitamin D intake are both increasing worldwide concerns, yet little is known about the relationship between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels and age-related cataract. We performed this study to determine the association between serum 25(OH)D levels and age-related cataract in adults.

    METHODS: Study participants comprised 16,086 adults aged 40 years or older who had never been diagnosed with or undergone surgery for cataract using Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data from 2008 to 2012. Participants were assessed to have cataract when diagnosed with cortical, nuclear, anterior subcapsular, posterior subcapsular, or mixed cataract. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were used to evaluate the magnitude and significance of the association between serum 25(OH)D levels and cataract in multivariable logistic regression models.

    RESULTS: The OR for nuclear cataract with the highest quintile of serum 25(OH)D levels was 0.86 (95% CI 0.75-0.99) compared to the lowest quintile. A linear trend across quintiles was significant. Natural log-transformed serum 25(OH)D levels were also significantly associated with nuclear cataract (OR 0.84, 95% CI 0.75-0.95). The opulation-attributable fraction of nuclear cataract due to serum 25(OH)D insufficiency (<30 ng/mL) was 8.8% (p = 0.048).

    CONCLUSIONS: Serum 25(OH)D levels were inversely associated with the risk of nuclear cataract. Prospective studies investigating the effects of serum 25(OH)D levels on the development of nuclear cataract are needed to confirm our findings.

    Be well!


  20. JP Says:

    Updated 09/12/17:

    Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017 Sep 1;58(11):4569-4578.

    Associations Between Vitamin D Intake and Progression to Incident Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

    Purpose: There is growing evidence of the importance of nutrition in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but no prospective studies have explored the impact of vitamin D. We evaluated the association between vitamin D intake and progression to advanced AMD.

    Methods: Among 2146 participants (3965 eyes), 541 (777 eyes) progressed from early or intermediate AMD to advanced disease (mean follow-up: 9.4 years) based on ocular imaging. Nutrients were log transformed and calorie adjusted. Survival analysis was used to assess associations between incident advanced disease and vitamin D intake. Neovascular disease (NV) and geographic atrophy (GA) were evaluated separately. Combined effects of dietary vitamin D and calcium were assessed based on high or low consumption of each nutrient.

    Results: There was a lower risk of progression to advanced AMD in the highest versus lowest quintile of dietary vitamin D intake after adjustment for demographic, behavioral, ocular, and nutritional factors (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.60; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.43-0.83; P trend = 0.0007). Similar results were observed for NV (HR: 0.59; 95% CI: 0.39-0.89; P trend = 0.005) but not GA (HR: 0.83; 95% CI: 0.53-1.30; P trend = 0.35). A protective effect was observed for advanced AMD among participants with high vitamin D and low calcium compared to the group with low levels for each nutrient (HR: 0.67; 95% CI: 0.50-0.88; P = 0.005). When supplement use was considered, the effect was in the protective direction but was not significant.

    Conclusions: A diet rich in vitamin D may prevent or delay progression to advanced AMD, especially NV. Additional exploration is needed to elucidate the potential protective role of vitamin D and its contribution to reducing visual loss.

    Be well!


  21. JP Says:

    Updated 11/27/17:

    Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2017 Oct;21(20):4720-4725.

    Mirtogenol® supplementation in association with dorzolamide-timolol or latanoprost improves the retinal microcirculation in asymptomatic patients with increased ocular pressure.

    OBJECTIVE: Supplementation with Mirtogenol® improves the retinal microcirculation and reduces intraocular pressure (IOP) in ocular hypertension, when administrated either alone or in association with an ophthalmic solution (latanoprost). In this study, microcirculatory parameters (perfusion of the circle of Zinn-Haller and retinal circulation) and oxidative stress were tested to assess the effects of Mirtogenol® plus traditional antihypertensive drugs in patients with elevated IOP.

    PATIENTS AND METHODS: 88 otherwise healthy patients with increased IOP were followed-up in a supplement registry for 12 weeks. Three groups received; (a) dorzolamide-timolol plus Mirtogenol®; (b) latanoprost drops plus Mirtogenol® or (c) latanoprost only. Oral supplementation consisted of two tablets/day of Mirtogenol® (80 mg of bilberry extract, Mirtoselect® plus 40 mg of Pycnogenol®). IOP, retinal blood flow, perfusion of the circle of Zinn-Haller, and oxidative stress were measured during the registry period.

    RESULTS: The three study groups were comparable; IOP and ocular blood flow velocity at inclusion were also comparable. Over the study period the decrease in IOP and the improvements in retinal microcirculation were statistically significant for all management groups, with a marginally more evident benefit in Mirtogenol®+latanosprost-treated patients. At 12 weeks, the altered perfusion at the circle of Zinn-Haller was improved in all groups; patients using Mirtogenol® showed a better perfusional pattern compared with subjects using only latanoprost. A reduction in oxidative stress was observed in supplemented subjects at the end of the study period; no significant change was seen in non-supplemented patients. All managements were well-tolerated without side effects.

    CONCLUSIONS: Supplementation with Mirtogenol®, in addition to local ophthalmic treatments, is safe and may contribute as a supplementary management to reach a normal IOP and ocular microcirculatory parameters.

    Be well!


  22. JP Says:

    Updated 03/17/18:

    Nutrition. 2018 Mar 13;51-52:6-12.

    Adherence to a mediterranean diet and its association with age-related macular degeneration. The Coimbra Eye Study-Report 4.

    OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to characterize the association of lifestyle and nutritional risk profiles with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in two subpopulations with differing AMD prevalence.

    METHODS: This case-control study (n = 1992) included 768 patients with AMD and 1224 age- and sex-matched participants without AMD with a single visit at a primary health care unit. Enrolled participants completed a validated lifestyle and food frequency questionnaire. A score to measure adherence to the Mediterranean diet (mediSCORE; Range, 0-9) was constructed from individual food intakes, which were further analyzed by conversion to nutrient consumption.

    RESULTS: Higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet (mediSCORE ≥6) was significantly associated with no AMD (odds ratio [OR] = 0.73; P = 0.009). The subpopulation with lower AMD prevalence presented significantly higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet in relation to all individual food groups that comprised the mediSCORE (P < 0.014) with the exception of cereals. Food group analysis showed significant associations between the increased consumption of vegetables (OR = 0.63; P < 0.001) and fruit and nuts (OR = 0.78; P = 0.010) with no AMD. Nutrient analysis revealed that an increased ingestion of water, fibers, total fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid, vitamins A and C, carotene, alpha-tocopherol, folate, magnesium, iron, and zinc were significantly associated with no AMD (P < 0.0013). Finally, regular physical activity was associated with no AMD (P = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: High adherence to a Mediterranean diet and regular physical activity seem to be protective factors for AMD in a Portuguese population. The effect of the diet is likely driven by the increased consumption of vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Be well! JP

  23. JP Says:

    Updated 06/09/18:

    Clin Ophthalmol. 2018 May 29;12:1011-1020.

    Supplementation with a highly concentrated docosahexaenoic acid plus xanthophyll carotenoid multivitamin in nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy: prospective controlled study of macular function by fundus microperimetry.

    Objective: There is little evidence of real-life outcomes of dietary supplementation with high-dose docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and carotenoids in patients with diabetic retinopathy (DR). We assessed the effect of supplementation with DHA triglyceride (1,050 mg/d) + xanthophyll carotenoid multivitamin on macular function in nonproliferative DR.

    Methods: Asymptomatic patients with nonproliferative DR were included in a prospective controlled study and assigned (1:1) to the DHA supplementation group or the control group. Macular sensitivity and macular integrity area were the main outcome measures. Functional vision measures (macular function [MAIA™ CenterVue], best-corrected visual acuity), structural retinal measures (central subfield macular thickness), and biochemical parameters (plasma total antioxidant capacity, DHA content of the erythrocyte membrane, and plasma IL-6) were evaluated at baseline and after 45 and 90 days of DHA supplementation.

    Results: The study included 24 patients (48 eyes) (12 patients, 24 eyes in each group). Baseline clinical characteristics of patients in both groups were similar. Macular sensitivity increased from a mean (SD) of 25.9 (2.4) dB at baseline to 27.3 (2.3) dB at 90 days (P=0.030) in the DHA group only (between-group differences P<0.19). The macular integrity index decreased from 71.2 (33.2) at baseline to 63.5 (36.4) at 45 days and to 51.6 (35.9) at 90 days (P=0.002) in the DHA group only (between-group differences P<0.05). Best-corrected visual acuity and central subfield macular thickness did not vary significantly in any of the comparisons and in none of the groups. DHA content of erythrocyte membrane and total antioxidant capacity levels increased significantly only in the DHA group. Plasma IL-6 levels decreased significantly only in the DHA group.

    Conclusion: In an early stage of DR, supplementation with high-dose DHA plus xanthophyll carotenoid multivitamin during 90 days was associated with a progressive and significant improvement of macular function measured by microperimetry. Biochemical changes supported the effect of DHA.

    Be well!


  24. JP Says:

    Updated 09/27/18:

    J Glaucoma. 2018 Sep 25.

    Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Intraocular Pressure, Lowers Stress Biomarkers and Modulates Gene Expression in Glaucoma: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

    BACKGROUND: Reducing intraocular pressure (IOP) in primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) is currently the only approach to prevent further optic nerve head damage. However, other mechanisms such as ischemia, oxidative stress, glutamate excitotoxicity, neurotrophin loss, inflammation/glial activation, and vascular dysregulation are not addressed. Because stress is a key risk factor affecting these mechanisms, we evaluated if mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) can lower IOP and normalize typical stress biomarkers.

    METHODS: In a prospective, randomized trial 90 POAG patients (180 eyes; age>45▒y) were assigned to a waitlist control or mindfulness meditation group which practiced daily for 21 days. We measured IOP (primary endpoint), quality of life (QOL), stress-related serum biomarkers (cortisol, β-endorphins, IL6, TNF-α, BDNF, ROS, TAC) and whole genome expression.

    RESULTS: Between-group comparisons revealed significantly lowered IOP in meditators (OD: 18.8 to 12.7, OS 19.0 to 13.1▒mm Hg) which correlated with significantly lowered stress-biomarker levels including cortisol (497.3 to 392.3▒ng/mL), IL6 (2.8 to 1.5▒ng/mL), TNF-α (57.1 to 45.4▒pg/mL), ROS (1625 to 987 RLU/min/104 neutrophils), and elevated β-endorphins (38.4 to 52.7▒pg/mL), BDNF (56.1 to 83.9▒ng/mL), and TAC (5.9 to 9.3) [all P values < 0.001]. These changes correlated well with gene-expression profiling. Meditators improved in QOL (P-value < 0.05). CONCLUSION: A short course of MBSR by meditation in POAG, reduces IOP, improves QOL, normalizes stress biomarkers and positively modifies gene expression. Mindfulness Meditation can be recommended as adjunctive therapy for POAG. Be well! JP

  25. JP Says:

    Updated 10/15/18:

    Am J Ophthalmol. 2018 Oct 9.

    Intake of vegetables, fruit, and fish is beneficial for Age-related Macular Degeneration.

    PURPOSE: What patients should eat to reduce their risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is still unclear. We investigated the effect of a diet recommended by Health Councils on AMD.

    DESIGN: Prospective population-based cohort study.

    METHODS: 4202 participants from the Rotterdam Study aged 55+ years, free of AMD at baseline, were included and followed up for 9.1±5.8 years. Incident AMD was graded on fundus photographs. Dietary data were collected using a validated 170-item food frequency questionnaire, and food intakes were categorized into food patterns based on guidelines from Health Councils. Associations with incident AMD were analyzed using Cox-proportional hazards models, and adjusted for age, sex, total energy intake, smoking, body mass index, hypertension, education, and income.

    RESULTS: A total of 754 persons developed incident AMD. Intake of the recommended amounts of vegetables (≥200gr/day), fruit (2x/day), and fish (2x/week) was 30.6%, 54.9% and 12.5%, respectively. In particular the intake of fish (2x/week) decreased the risk of incident AMD; hazard ratio (HR) 0.76 [95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.60-0.97]). Intake of the recommended amounts of all three food groups was only 3.7%, but adherence to this pattern showed a further reduction of the risk of incident AMD (HR 0.58 [95%CI 0.36-0.93]). Younger age, higher income, and nonsmoking were associated with this food pattern, but risk lowering effects remained significant after additional adjustment for these factors.

    CONCLUSION: A diet of 200 grams of vegetables/day, 2x fruit/day, and 2x fish/week is associated with a significantly reduced risk of AMD.

    Be well!


  26. JP Says:

    Updated 11/08/18:

    Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2018 Oct 29.

    Mediation improves brain oxygenation and quality of life in patients with primary open angle glaucoma: A randomized controlled trial.

    BACKGROUND: Glaucoma (POAG) is a kind of neurodegenerative disease known to be closely associated with stress and adverse quality of life (QOL). Stress has also been shown to be involved in etiopathogenesis of primary open angle glaucoma (POAG). Complementary treatment in form of mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) has been reported to improve QOL, brain oxygenation and decrease markers of stress. With this premise, a randomized controlled trial was carried out to assess the effect of MBSR on intraocular pressure, subjective QOL and objective markers of stress and brain oxygenation in patients with POAG.

    METHODS: Sixty patients were randomized into intervention and control groups. Intervention group underwent 45 minutes of MBSR daily for 6 weeks in addition to standard medical treatment while controls received only standard medical treatment. Inclusion criteria were patients with POAG, age >45 years, best corrected visual acuity >6/60. Patients with other ocular co-morbid conditions contributing to vision loss, systemic diseases, patients already practicing meditation in any form were excluded. An assessment of IOP, brain oxygenation using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), QOL (WHO-BREF QOL) and stress markers in serum (cortisol, β-endorphins, interleukin-6, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), reactive oxygen species) was made at baseline and at 6 weeks.

    RESULTS: 21 female and 39 male patients were enrolled with a mean age of 57.28±9.37 years. All parameters were comparable between two groups at baseline. At 6 weeks mean level of IOP decreased significantly in intervention group (15.9±1.8 mmHg to 14.4±1.21 mm Hg, p-value 0.0001) as compared to control group (15.7±1.4 mmHg to 15.65±1.41, p-value 0.41). fNIRS showed significant improvement in oxygenated hemoglobin change (ΔHbO) in intervention group in the prefrontal cortex (p-value <  0.0001) as compared to control group (p-value 0.52). WHO-BREF QOL score increased significantly in intervention group (86.6±6.16 to 93.3±5.66, p-value 0.0001) as compared to control (89±7.25 to 89.07±3.24, p-value 0.74).Mean serum cortisol decreased significantly in intervention group (497±46.37 ng/ml to 447±53.78 ng/ml, p-value 0.01) as compared to control group (519.75±24.5 to 522.58±26.63 ng/ml, p-value 0.64). Mean β-endorphin levels increased significantly (33±5.52pg/ml to 43.27pg/ml, p-value <  0.0001) as compared to control group (34.78±4.1pg/ml to 36.33pg±4.07pg/ml p-value 0.27). Interleukin-6 decreased significantly in intervention group (2.2±0.5 ng/ml to 1.35±0.32 ng/ml, p-value <  0.0001) as compared to control group (2.03±0.37 to 2.17±0.34 ng/ml p-value 0.25). BDNF increased significantly in intervention group (52.24±6.71 to 63.25±13.48 ng/ml p-value 0.004) as compared to control group (53.23±5.82 to 54.42±5.66 ng/ml p-value 0.54). ROS decreased significantly in intervention group (1596.19±179.14 to 1261±244.31 RLU/min/104 neutrophils p-value 0.0001) as compared to control group (1577.5±172.02 to 1662.5±84.75 RLU/min/104 neutrophils p-value 0.16). CONCLUSIONS: A short term course of MBSR was associated with significant improvement in brain oxygenation and QOL along with a reduction in IOP and stress markers. MBSR may be a useful as an adjunct to standard treatment in patients with POAG and potentially decrease the risk of glaucoma progression. Be well! JP

  27. JP Says:

    Updated 11/24/18:

    Nutrients. 2018 Nov 5;10(11).

    The Role of Diet, Micronutrients and the Gut Microbiota in Age-Related Macular Degeneration: New Perspectives from the Gut⁻Retina Axis.

    Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a complex multifactorial disease and the primary cause of legal and irreversible blindness among individuals aged ≥65 years in developed countries. Globally, it affects 30⁻50 million individuals, with an estimated increase of approximately 200 million by 2020 and approximately 300 million by 2040. Currently, the neovascular form may be able to be treated with the use of anti-VEGF drugs, while no effective treatments are available for the dry form. Many studies, such as the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and AREDS 2, have shown a potential role of micronutrient supplementation in lowering the risk of progression of the early stages of AMD. Recently, low-grade inflammation, sustained by dysbiosis and a leaky gut, has been shown to contribute to the development of AMD. Given the ascertained influence of the gut microbiota in systemic low-grade inflammation and its potential modulation by macro- and micro-nutrients, a potential role of diet in AMD has been proposed. This review discusses the role of the gut microbiota in the development of AMD. Using PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus, we searched for recent scientific evidence discussing the impact of dietary habits (high-fat and high-glucose or -fructose diets), micronutrients (vitamins C, E, and D, zinc, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin) and omega-3 fatty acids on the modulation of the gut microbiota and their relationship with AMD risk and progression.

    Be well!


  28. JP Says:

    Updated 03/19/19:

    Eur J Ophthalmol. 2019 Mar 18:1120672119836007.

    Effect of 2-year nutritional supplementation on progression of age-related macular degeneration.

    PURPOSE: To examine the effect of a long-term nutritional supplementation on age-related macular degeneration progression.

    METHODS: In this prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 80 patients with intermediate age-related macular degeneration were randomized (2:1) to receive 1 tablet/day of a nutritional supplement containing a mixture of carotenoids, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids or placebo. Age-related macular degeneration progression assessed by digital fundus photography (primary outcome) and best-corrected visual acuity were evaluated. Differences between arms were tested using chi-square test or Fisher’s exact test.

    RESULTS: Seventy-four patients completed the follow-up at 24 months (48 in the treated arm and 26 in the placebo arm). An age-related macular degeneration progression was observed in the 2.1% of patients of the treated arm and in the 15.4% of patients in the placebo arm (p = 0.05, Fisher’s exact test). Best-corrected visual acuity data alone were not statistically significant among groups.

    CONCLUSION: A clinically meaningful stabilization of intermediate age-related macular degeneration over a period of 2 years may be obtained by treating patients with a mixture of carotenoids, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.

    Be well!


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