Coffee can save your eyesite
Researchers from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, recently published their findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
We all know that caffeine is main ingredient in coffee and it is the stimulant that gives us that boost. But according to the research team, including senior author Chang Y. Lee, green coffee beans (raw coffee) only contain 1% caffeine.
However, The coffee contain another ingredient (about 7-9%) called chlorogenic acid (CGA) which is an antioxidant that has many health benefits, such as weight loss and reduction of blood pressure.
Past studies have also reported that CGA may be a powerful agent that protect neurons and there has been great interest in identifying neuroprotective compounds that block hypoxia – deprivation of oxygen in areas of the body.
The retina – a thin layer at the back of the eye that is made of light-sensitive cells and other nerve cells that are responsible for receiving and organizing visual information – is prone to hypoxia.
“The retina is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body, consuming oxygen more rapidly than any other tissues, including the brain,” the researchers explain.
“Therefore, it is susceptible to a variety of diseases caused by oxidative stress, including age-related muscular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma – all of which can lead to partial or complete blindness.”
The investigators were interested to see whether coffee, particularly CGA, may prevent hypoxia and overall degeneration of the retina in mice.
CGA and coffee extract reduced retinal cell death
“color: #111111; text-align: justify;”>For their study, the team first tested the effects of CGA on retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) – the neurons located near the inner surface of the retina – that were exposed to hypoxia. Cell damage was reduced with nitric oxide treatment alone, but was reduced further if cells were pretreated with CGA.
The team then induced retinal damage in the eyes of mice using a process called optic nerve crush. They tested the effects of coffee extract and CGA on the mice.
They found that both CGA and coffee extract reduced RGC death in the mice by preventing down-regulation of Thy-1 – a cell surface protein.
Commenting on the findings, the researchers say:
“This study shows that CGA and coffee extract are responsible for reduction of the RGC apoptosis induced by hypoxia and nitric oxide. Therefore, coffee consumption may provide additional health benefits by preventing retinal degeneration.”
Written by Honor Whiteman