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  • Eyes Of Aging Mice Remain Young Given Resveratrol

    February 6, 2016: by Bill Sardi

    Strikingly, researchers report that life-long administration of a modest dose of the red wine molecule resveratrol (rez-vair-ah-trol) given to laboratory mice keeps their visual system intact and retains their retinal sensitivity to light via activation of the Sirtuin1 survival gene. [Biochemical & Biophysical Research Communications 2015]

    With advancing age the retinas of humans and animals lose sensitivity as measured by the electrical response of retinal cells (rods and cones) to light stimulation.  But when these animals are given life-long (19 months, equivalent to ~65 years in a human) oral doses of resveratrol, their retinal sensitivity approximates a youthful state.

    The most striking result was observed in the way resveratrol-treated mice retained rather than lost retinal cells over time.  Older mice lost 26% more cells than resveratrol-treated animals.

    The activation and production of Sirtuin1 gene protein was profoundly different in resveratrol-treated eyes throughout all ocular tissues.

    Retinal sensitivity to light

    Young mice (1 month)                           828

    Old mice (19 months)                           549

    Resveratrol mice (19 months)             735

    Cell die off (programmed cell death)

    Young mice (1 month)                           12.63 cells

    Old mice (19 months)                           21.13 cells

    Resveratrol mice (19 months)             17.00 cells (- 26%)

    Sirtuin1 survival gene expression

    Old mice (19 months)                           0.75
    Resveratrol mice (19 months)            1.09 (+45%)

    The dose of resveratrol used in these laboratory animals was equivalent to 350 milligrams in a 160-pound (70 kilogram) human.

    Aging is an independent factor in visual decline.  It is rare to find humans who live into their eighth and ninth decades of life without age-related visual handicaps.

    There are approximately 1.8 million Americans who are severely visually impaired due to retinal disease and ~10 million who suffer from a loss of central vision due to age-related macular degeneration.  The macula is the visual center of the retinal at the back of the eyes used for reading and color vision.

    In the eye clinic there is no effective therapeutic or preventive strategy to delay or avert retinal degeneration and function vision loss with advancing age.  Obviously the effect of resveratrol can be measured in these short-lived animals whereas in humans, such a discovery would take many decades.   So a conclusive human study may be beyond practicality.

    Mass daily resveratrol use at least beginning at age 40 in a human population that is expected to live into their 8th and 9th decades of life would be one strategy to delay or prevent the agony of lost vision in the later years of life.  ©2016 Bill Sardi,

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