Turmeric Help for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in industrialized countries, and unfortunately is thought to be irreversible and difficult to treat. The good news is that experts suggest lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation, physical exercise, and a healthy diet, can help dramatically reduce the risk of developing AMD. Research studies also indicate that antioxidants such as those found in turmeric may help. (viii.59, 103, 167)
What is AMD?
AMD is the progressive deterioration of the macula, the part of the eye needed for fine detail and central vision. These are both important for everyday tasks such as reading and driving. The macula is the central, back part of the retina, which detects and converts what we see into electrical signals that get sent to the brain. (viii.168)
Types of AMD and Current Treatment Strategies
- Drugs to block over-production of growth factors which promote abnormal over-growth of new blood vessels, with or without laser treatment of retina.
- Laser surgery to destroy abnormal blood vessels.
Current treatment for dry AMD is primarily limited to dietary changes, vitamin supplements, and supportive care. (viii.167)
How Can Turmeric Help?
Turmeric contains over 300 vitamins, plant nutrients, and minerals — many of them with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The results of clinical trials and population studies show that dietary antioxidants and minerals can help prevent and treat AMD — including some of the vitamins found in turmeric. (viii.22, 39, 46, 50, 170-173)
Studies suggest that many of the compounds in turmeric have the same properties as conventional AMD therapies. For example, a primary treatment for wet-type AMD is anti-VEGF drugs to inhibit excess blood vessel growth. Turmeric compounds exhibit the same effect, and may even be safer. Turmeric compounds also mimic the anti-aging effects of calorie restriction, which may help prevent or slow the progression of AMD. (viii.61, 103)
Although some authors noted studies indicating that high doses of curcumin can cause DNA damage, all but one was a lab study. The animal study used a type of inbred mutant rat used to model Wilson's disease, a rare genetic disorder where copper accumulates in the liver. In many other clinical studies, including involving cancer patients given very high doses of curcumin, serious adverse side effects were not reported. They don't carry the risk of serious side effects to the eye as anti-VEGF drugs. (viii.68, 174-175)
Other potential benefits include:
|TURMERIC COMPOUND OR FORM||BENEFICIAL ACTIVITY|
|Alpha-linolenic acid (viii.46)||
|Caffeic acid (viii.22)|
|Linoleic acid (viii.171)|
|Vitamin C (viii.46)|
|Vitamin E (viii.46)|
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