Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study: Eat Leafy Green Veggies To Help Prevent Cataracts

Date:
December 6, 2004
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
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.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Study: Eat Leafy Green Veggies To Help Prevent Cataracts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041203081711.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2004, December 6). Study: Eat Leafy Green Veggies To Help Prevent Cataracts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041203081711.htm
Ohio State University. "Study: Eat Leafy Green Veggies To Help Prevent Cataracts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041203081711.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is ordering U.S. military personnel to West Africa to deal with the Ebola outbreak, which is he calls a potential threat to global security. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins