Thursday, 25 April 2019

Herbal Bilberry Reduces Risk of Macular Degeneration

By Kyle J. Norton

Macular degeneration is a condition caused by the deterioration of the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula.

Macular degeneration happened mostly in adults over 60, is one of the major cause of vision loss.

The exact causes of macular degeneration are not identified. As of today, researchers cannot explain why some elderly are susceptible to macular degeneration while others do not.
There are 2 forms of macular degeneration
1. The dry form is caused by the presence of yellow deposits, called drusen under the retina, in the macula. However, the elderly with increased was not at a higher risk of macular degeneration.

2. The wet form is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels from the choroid, the vascular layer of the eye, underneath the retina.

Compared to the loss of vision of 10% of patients induced by the wet form, most patients of macular degeneration have the dry form which has been found to cause loss of some central vision.

Although aging is one the prevalent risk of the macular degeneration onset, smoking, family history, gender, ethnicity and long-term exposure to the sun and genetic preposition are also some factors may facilitate the early onset of the condition.

Some researchers suggested that macular degeneration may also be caused by an unhealthy diet.

Dr. Chung-Jung Chiu, the lead scientist in the analysis of the relationship of major American dietary patterns to age-related macular degeneration wrote, " (In the comparison of the 2 diets pattern) The Oriental pattern was characterized by higher intake of vegetables, legumes, fruit, whole grains, tomatoes, and seafood. The Western pattern was characterized by higher intake of red meat, processed meat, high-fat dairy products, French fries, refined grains, and eggs".

"For early AMD, multivariate-adjusted odds ratio (OR) from generalized estimating equation logistic analysis comparing the highest to lowest quintile of the Oriental pattern score was ORE5O=0.74 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.59–0.91; Ptrend=0.01), and the OR comparing the highest to lowest quintile of the Western pattern score was ORE5W=1.56 (1.18–2.06; Ptrend=0.01). For advanced AMD, the ORA5O was 0.38 (0.27–0.54; Ptrend<0.0001), and the ORA5W was 3.70 (2.31–5.92; Ptrend<0.0001)".

These results strongly suggested the risk of AMD is many folds higher in people who follow the Western diet compared to those who follow the Oriental diet.

Bilberry is a species of low-growing shrubs in the genus Vaccinium, belonging to the family Ericaceae, native to Northern Europe.

The plant has been used as herbs in traditional medicine for the treatment of acute and chronic diarrhea, gastritis, gastric ulcer, and duodenal ulcer, enterocolitis, ulcerative colitis, anemia, cystitis, kidney disease, and psoriasis, diabetes, etc.

Searching the list of natural compounds for the treatment of vision decline, scientists examined anthocyanins, bioactive compounds found in bilberry are known to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, on macular degeneration.

Bilberry anthocyanosides (Vaccinium myrtillus L.), according to the differentiation was found to promote rhodopsin synthesis and regeneration, thus increasing the retinal sensitivity to changes in light intensity and visual acuity and dark adaptation.

The bioactive compound also was found to the promoted blood supply of the retina in the prevention of macular degeneration due to aging-induced death of macula cells.

Where rhodopsin is the pigment-containing sensory protein that converts light into an electrical signal for vision in dim light 

The improvement of the visual function by bilberry may have a strong effect against age-related macular degeneration, Dr. Vorob'eva IV, the lead scientists suggested.

Additionally, with an aim to reveal more information of bilberry anti gradual loss of vision, researchers investigated the changes in clinical, functional, and morphological parameters of the retina in type 2 diabetes patients with diabetic retinopathy (DR) and those with combined fundus pathology (DR plus age-related macular degeneration). 

The study included 180 patients (180 eyes) with type 2 diabetes divided into 6 groups of 30 each randomly assigned into group 1 consisted of patients with DRO,; group 2--DR1 without DM, group 3--DR1 with DM, group 4--DRO and "dry" AMD (AREDS 1-3), group 5--DR1 with no DM but with AMD (AREDS 1-3), and group 6--DR1 with DM and AMD (AREDS 1-3). 

A drug containing lutein 6 mg, zeaxanthin 0.5 mg, vitamin C 60 mg, vitamin E 7 mg, vitamin A 1.5 mg, vitamin B2 1.2 mg, rutin 25 mg, zinc 5 mg, Selenium 25 mcg, and bilberry extract 60 mg was used for antioxidative therapy. Ginkgo biloba leaf extracts 60 mg was chosen as the radioprotector. 

At the end of the experiment, researchers found that
*  Macular thickness was statistically significant only in 3 and 6 (p<0.05)compared to only slight changes on other groups and light sensitivity of the macula showed a reduction, which was statistically significant in groups 4-6 before treatment.

* Injection of the supplements antioxidant and angioprotective activities displayed a strong improvement of all parameters related to visual decline, including increased visual acuity.

Dr. the lead scientist wrote in the final report, "a combined antioxidant and double-dose angioprotective (240 mg) therapy appeared to be the most effective and can be considered not only a preventive but also a therapeutic measure in type 2 diabetes patients with initial stages of DR (DRO, DR1) or those with DR and DM or combined DR and AMD (AREDS 1-3)".

Taken altogether, bilberry may be considered a herbal remedy for the improvement of visual decline, particularly,  in patients with macular degeneration, pending to the validation of larger sample size and multicenter human study.

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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it's news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada - Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.

(2) [Current data on the role of anthocyanosides and flavonoids in the treatment of eye diseases].[Article in Russian; Abstract available in Russian from the publisher] by Vorob'eva IV1, Vorob'eva IV. (PubMed)
(1) [Results of the use of antioxidant and angioprotective agents in type 2 diabetes patients with diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration].[Article in Russian; Abstract available in Russian from the publisher] by Moshetova LK1, Vorob'eva IV1, Alekseev IB1, Mikhaleva LG. (PubMed)
(3) The Relationship of Major American Dietary Patterns to Age-related Macular Degeneration by Chung-Jung Chiu, DDS, PhD, Min-Lee Chang, MS, Fang Fang Zhang, PhD, Tricia Li, MS, Gary Gensler, MS, Molly Schleicher, BS, and Allen Taylor, PhD. (PMC)

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