Coffee could prevent retinal damage in people with diabetes

While a recent study reported that coffee might help to prevent type 2 diabetes risk, here's another reason to stick with your morning caffeine fix: New research suggests it might help prevent eyesight deterioration that can occur in diabetics.

The key ingredient responsible for this protective benefit is chlorogencic acid (CLA), a powerful antioxidant, say researchers from Cornell. The team studied mice whose eyes were treated with nitric oxide, a substance that would create oxidative stress and free radicals, thereby contributing to retinal degeneration in the eyes. Mice who were pretreated with CLA, however, showed no signs of retinal damage after being exposed to the nitric oxide.

Diabetics can often suffer loss of eyesight due to tissue damage, as the retina is one of the most metabolically active tissues that requires high levels of oxygen, the researchers explained.

Coffee eyedrops?

The researchers next want to determine if drinking coffee helps CLA to cross the blood-retinal barrier. If coffee consumption can help deliver CLA directly to the retina, they said, scientists might be able to develop a treatment that prevents retinal damage.

"Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and we are understanding what benefit we can get from that," said study author Chang Y. Lee, professor of food science at Cornell.

The study is published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Source: Cornell

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