13 Feb

Olive extract may protect against AMD

By Stephen Daniells,

A polyphenol from olives may protect against macular degeneration associated with age or the damaging effects of chemicals in tobacco smoke, suggests a new study.

black olives on a treeThe potential benefits hydroxytyrosol (HTS) for eye health were demonstrated in an in vitro lab study using cells from the human retina, with mitochondria – the cell’s power stations – shown to benefit most, report the researchers in the Journal of Neurochemistry.

“The protective effect of HTS in this model was as potent as that of established mitochondria-targeting antioxidant nutrients,” wrote the researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, DSM Nutritional Products, and the University of California, Irvine.

“These results suggest that HTS is also a mitochondrial-targeting antioxidant nutrient and that dietary administration of HTS may be an effective measure in reducing and or preventing cigarette smoke-induced or age-related retinal pigment epithelial degeneration, such as age-associated macular degeneration.”

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of legal blindness for people over 55 years of age in the Western world, according to AMD Alliance International.

Despite the fact that approximately 25 to 30 million people worldwide are affected by AMD, awareness of the condition is low, according to AMD Alliance International. And as the generation of Baby Boomers gets older, the Alliance expects incidence to be on the rise and triple by 2025.

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