Coffee could help prevent retinal damage
A joint study by scientists at Cornell University in the US and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology has found that chlorogenic acid (CLA) – an antioxidant found in coffee – can prevent retinal degeneration in mice.
The retina is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. This demand for high levels of oxygen makes the retina vulnerable to oxidative stress, where the body is unable to counteract the harmful effects of free radicals through neutralization by antioxidants.
To assess the role of CLA in combating this process, scientists created oxidative stress in the eyes of mice by treating them with nitric oxide. The scientist found that a group of mice pre-treated with CLA showed no sign of retinal damage.
Chang Y. Lee, Professor of food science at Cornell and the study's senior author, said: "The study important in understanding functional foods, that is, natural foods that provide beneficial health effects."
"Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and we are understanding what benefit we can get from that," he added.
The researchers stress that it is not yet known whether drinking coffee can deliver CLA directly to the retina by crossing a membrane known as the blood-retinal barrier. If future studies find that it does, scientists may one day be able to create a drink tailored to provide retinal support.
The study is published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
TAKEN FROM Optometry Today www.optometry.co.uk
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