Natural Prevention for Diabetic Retinopathy
Can turmeric and its natural vitamins and nutrients help prevent or treat diabetic retinopathy? With progress lagging in conventional treatments, some researchers are looking to herbal remedies for safe and more effective alternatives. The search for solutions is especially urgent since the number of people with the condition is growing quickly. Studies suggest turmeric compounds could help delay the onset or progression of this common diabetic eye disease. (viii.73-75, 86)
What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common eye condition associated with diabetes. It's also the leading cause of blindness in American adults. The other two eye diseases associated with diabetes are cataracts and glaucoma. (viii.78, 81)
Chronic, progressive damage to the small blood vessels of the eye leads to diabetic retinopathy. Without treatment, damage promotes development of fragile blood vessels on the surface of the retina. In a process called diabetic macular edema, leaking blood from these weak capillaries and blockage by hard deposits on the retina then causes vision loss. (viii.78, 81)
Risk Factors for Diabetic Retinopathy
Not everyone with diabetes will have diabetic retinopathy, but many do. What increases the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy? Experts say the following are some of the factors that make it more likely: (viii.86)
- Length of time a person has diabetes (almost 60% developing it after 10 years and 97% after 25 years).
- Chronic high blood sugar levels.
- High blood pressure.
- Unhealthy cholesterol levels.
- Made of a lot of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which easily form free radicals when stressed.
- Chronically exposed to light that excite free radicals.
- Highly metabolic and in need of lots of oxygen and blood.
How Can Turmeric Help Diabetic Retinopathy?
Turmeric compounds also work in many of the same ways researchers say conventional therapy for diabetic retinopathy works, including:
|ACTION||PROPOSED/USED CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT/DRUGS||ACTIVE TURMERIC COMPOUNDS/FORM|
Block inflammatory molecules: (viii.86)
Salicylate-based drugs. (viii.86)
Topical SAR 1118. (viii.86)
Anti-CD49a neutralizing antibody. (viii.86)
|Blocking formation of AGEs. (viii.86)||
LR-90 advanced glycation inhibitor. (viii.86)
|Block renin-angiotensin system (RAS) that increases blood pressure, free radicals, and inflammation in blood vessels. (viii.86, 100)||
Reduce formation of excess, abnormal blood vessels (angiogenesis) that lead to diabetic macular edema: (viii.101)
|Intravitreal pegaptanib. (viii.101)|
Pre-Clinical and Clinical Evidence of Benefit
Animal and clinical studies show the following potential benefits of turmeric compounds:
|TURMERIC COMPOUND||HOW IT CAN HELP|
|Alpha-linolenic acid (viii.4)
(an omega-3 fatty acid)
|Caffeic acid (viii.22)|
|Protocatechuic acid (viii.39)|
|Vitamin C (viii.46)|
|Vitamin E (viii.46)||
|Whole turmeric extract||
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