Free Shipping on All Orders $75 Or More!

Your Trusted Brand for Over 35 Years

Life Extension Magazine

<< Back to May 2004

An Eye to the Future

May 2004

By Dean S. Cunningham, MD, PhD

LE Magazine May 2004
An Eye to the Future
By Dean S. Cunningham, MD, PhD

For many age-related degenerative conditions, I believe an ounce of prevention is actually worth more than a pound of cure. This is not a novel idea. As Thomas Edison once wrote, “the doctor of the future will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

When deciding which proactive measures to institute in your own health plan, something is certainly better than nothing. The rewards of nutritional supplementation are delayed. For age-related diseases, you may not know whether what you do at age 40 has helped you until age 65, when you are on the golf course while some of your contemporaries are in a nursing home.

Given the collective body of literature pertaining to the prevention of age-related eye disease and the recurring emphasis on oxidative stress, it would be prudent to consider the following as a starting point or basic regimen for the four ocular conditions discussed in this article, despite their disparities in cause and pathology. The supplements you choose should emphasize diverse antioxidant activity, as exemplified by vitamins C and E, alpha lipoic acid, glutathione, lutein, zeaxanthin, and selenium. A topical compound containing N-acetylcarnosine would offer the benefit of superior, direct delivery to the tissues at risk. You can then modify and refine your individual ocular prevention program based on your own needs and preferences.


1. Donma O, Yorulmaz E, Pekel H, Suyugul N. Blood and lens lipid peroxidation and antiox- idant status in normal individuals, senile and diabetic cataractous patients. Curr Eye Res. 2002 Jan;25(1):9-16.

2. Taylor A, Jacques PF, Chylack LT Jr, et al. Long-term intake of vitamins and carotenoids and odds of early age-related cortical and posterior subcapsular lens opac- ities. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Mar;75(3):540-549.

3. Valero MP, Fletcher AE, De Stavola BL, Vioque J, Alepuz VC. Vitamin C is associat- ed with reduced risk of cataract in a Mediterranean population. J Nutr. 2002 Jun;132(6):1299-306.

4. McNeill JJ, Robman L, Tikellis G, Sinclair MI, McCarty CA, Taylor HR. Vitamin E sup- plementation and cataract: randomized con- trolled trial. Ophthamology. 2004 Jan;111(1):75-84.

5. Yuneva MO, Bulygina ER, Gallant SC, et al. Effect of carnosine on age-induced changes in senescence-accelerated mice. J Anti-Aging Med. 1999;2:337-42.

6. Wang AM, Ma C, Xie H, Shen F. Use of carnosine as a natural anti-senescence drug for human beings. Biochemistry. 2000 Jul;65(7);869-71.

7. Babizhayev MA, Deyev AI, Yermakova VN, et al. N-acetylcarnosine, a natural histidine- containing dipeptide, as a potent ophthalmic drug in treatment of human cataracts. Peptides. 2001 Jun;22(6):979-94.

8. Fong DS, Aiello L, Gardner TW, et al. Diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes Care. 2003 Jan;26(1):226-9.

9. Kaneto H, Kajimoto Y, Miyagawa J, et al. Beneficial effects of antioxidants in diabetes: possible protection of pancreatic beta-cells against glucose toxicity. Diabetes. 1999 Dec;48(12):2398-406.

10. Song Y, Manson JE, Buring JE, Liu S. Dietary magnesium intake in relation to plasma insulin levels and risk of type 2 dia- betes in women. Diabetes Care. 2004 Jan;27(1):59-65.

11. Lopez-Ridaura R, Willett WC, Rimm EB, et al. Magnesium intake and risk of type 2 dia- betes in men and women. Diabetes Care. 2004 Jan;27(1):134-40.

12. Anderson RA, Roussel AM, Zouari N, Mahjoub S, Matheau JM, Kerkeni A. Potential antioxidant effects of zinc and chromium supplementation in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001 Jun;20(3):212-8.

13. Talpur N, Echard BW, Yasmin T, Bagchi D, Preuss HG. Effects of niacin-bound chromi- um, Maitake mushroom fraction SX and (-)- hydroxycitric acid on the metabolic syn- drome in aged diabetic Zucker fatty rats. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Oct;252(1-2):369-77.

14. McCarty MF. High-dose biotin, an inducer of glucokinase expression may synergize with chromium picolinate to enable a definitive nutritional therapy for type II diabetes. Med Hypotheses. 1999 May;52(5):401-6.

15. Anderson RA. Nutritional factors influenc- ing the glucose/insulin system: chromium. J Am Coll Nutr.1997 Oct;16(5):404-10.

16. Rudich A, Tirosh A, Potashnik R, Khamaisi M, Bashan N. Lipoic acid protects against oxidative stress induced impairment in insulin stimulation of protein kinase B and glucose transport in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Diabetologia. 1999 Aug;42(8):949-57.

17. Barbagallo M, Dominguez LJ, Tagliamonte MR, Resnick LM, Paolisso G. Effects of vita- min E and glutathione on glucose metabolism: role of magnesium. Hypertension. 1999 Oct;34(4 Pt 2):1002-6.

18. Anuradha CV, Balakrishnan SD. Taurine attenuates hypertension and improves insulin sensitivity in the fructose-fed rat, an animal model of insulin resistance. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1999 Oct;77(10):749-54.

19. Cunningham JJ. The glucose/insulin system and vitamin C: implications in insulin- dependent diabetes mellitus. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Apr;17(4):105-8.

20. Han DH, Hansen PA, Chen MM, Holloszy JO. DHEA treatment reduces fat accumula- tion and protects against insulin resistance in male rats. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1998 Jan;53(1):B19-24.

21. Shanmugasundaram ER, Rajeswari G, Baskaran K, et al. Use of Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract in the control of blood glucose in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. J Ethnopharmacol. 1990 Oct;30(3):281-94.

22. Christensen RL, Shade DL, Graves CB, McDonald JM. Evidence that protein kinase C is involved in regulating glucose transport in the adipocyte. Int J Biochem. 1987;19(3):259-65.

23. Romero-Navarro G, Cabrera-Valladares G, German MS, et al. Biotin regulation of pan- creatic glucokinase and insulin in primary cultured rat islets and in biotin-deficient rats. Endocrinology. 1999 Oct;140(10):4595-400.

24. Sarkar S, Pranava M, Marita R. Demonstration of the hypoglycemic action of Momardica charantia in a validated ani- mal model of diabetes. Pharmacol Res. 1996 Jan;33(1):1-4.

25. Teachey MK, Taylor ZC, Maier T, et al. Interactions of conjugated linoleic acid and lipoic acid on insulin action in the obese Zucker rat. Metabolism. 2003 Sep;52(9):1167-74.

26. Battell ML, Delgatty HL, McNeill JH. Sodium selenate corrects glucose tolerance and heart function in STZ diabetic rats. Mol Cell Biochem. 1998 Feb;179(1-2):27-34.

27. Nair AR, Biju MP, Paulose CS. Effect of pyridoxine and insulin administration on brain glutamate dehydrogenase activity and blood glucose control in streptozotocin- induced diabetic rats. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1998 Aug 24;1381(3):351-4.

28. Poucheret P, Verma S, Grynpas MD, McNeill JH. Vanadium and diabetes. Mol Cell Biochem. 1998 Nov;188(1-2):73-80.

29. Cam MC, Rodrigues B, McNeill JH. Distinct glucose lowering and beta cell protective effects of vanadium and food restriction in streptozotocin-diabetes. Eur J Endocrinol. 1999 Nov;141(5):546-54.

30. Bluher M, Kahn BB, Kahn CR. Extended longevity in mice lacking the insulin receptor in adipose tissue. Science. 2003 Jan 24;299(5606):572-4.

31. Ho E, Chen G, Bray TM. Supplementation of N-acetylcysteine inhibits NFkappaB acti- vation and protects against alloxan-induced diabetes in CD-1 mice. FASEB J. 1999 Oct;13(13):1845-54.

32. Giuffrida S, Bucolo C, Drago F. Topical application of a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor reduces intraocular pressure in rab- bits with experimental glaucoma. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2003 Dec;19(6):527-34.

33. Caprioli J, Sears M. Forskolin lowers intraocular pressure in rabbits, monkeys, and man. Lancet. 1983 Apr 30;1(8331):958-60.

34. Baslow MH. Function of the N-acetyl-L-his- tidine system in the vertebrate eye. Evidence in support of a role as a molecular water pump. J Mol Neurosci. 1998 Jun;10(3):193-208.

35. Crabb JW, Miyagi M, Gu X, et al. Drusen proteome analysis: an approach to the etiol- ogy of age-related macular degeneration. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2002 Nov 12;99(23):14682-7.

36. McGwin G Jr, Owsley C, Curcio CA, Crain RJ. The association between statin use and age related maculopathy. Br J Ophthalmol. 2003 Sep;87(9):1121-5.

37. Moeller SM, Jacques PF, Blumberg JB. The potential role of dietary xanthophylls in cataract and age-related macular degenera- tion. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Oct;19(5 Suppl):522S-527S.

38. Jacques PF. The potential preventive effects of vitamins for cataract and age-related mac- ular degeneration. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1999 May;69(3):198-205.

39. McBee WL, Lindblad AS, Ferris FL III. Who should receive oral supplement treat- ment for age-related macular degeneration? Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2003 Jun;14(3):159-62.

40. Bone RA, Landrum JT, Guerra LH, Ruiz CA. Lutein and zeaxanthin dietary supple- ments raise macular pigments of these carotenoids in humans. J Nutr. 2003 Apr;133(4):992-8.

41. Bartlett H, Eperjesi F. Age-related macular degeneration and nutritional supplementa- tion: a review of randomized controlled tri- als. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2003 Sep;23(5):383-99.

42. Mozaffarieh M, Sacu S, Wedrich A. The role of the carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin, in protecting against age-related macular degeneration: a review based on controver- sial evidence. Nutr J. 2003 Dec 11;2(1):20.

43. Semba RD, Dagnelie G. Are lutein and zea- xanthin conditionally essential nutrients for eye health? Med Hypotheses. 2003 Oct;61(4):465-72.

44. Seddon JM, Ajani UA, Sperduto RD, et al. Dietary carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and E, and advanced age-related macular degenera- tion. JAMA. 1994 Nov 9;272(18):1413-20.

45. Smith PF, Maclennan K, Darlington CL. The neuroprotective properties of the ginkgo biloba leaf: a review of the possible relation- ship to platelet-activating factor (PAF). J Ethnopharmacol. 1996 Mar;50(3):131-9.

46. Seddon JM, Cote J, Rosner B. Progression of age-related macular degeneration: associa- tion with dietary fat, transunsaturated fat, nuts, and fish intake. Arch Ophthalmol. 2003 Dec;121(12):1728-37.

47. Cluzel C, Bastide P, Wegman R, et al. Enzymatic activities of the retina and antho- cyanoside extracts of Vaccinium myrtillus lactate dehydrogenase, alpha-hydroxybu- tyrate dehydrogenase, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase, glucose-6-phosphate dehy- drogenase, alpha-glycerophosphate dehy-drogenase, 5-nucleotidase, phosphoglucose isomerase. Biochem Pharmacol. 1970 Jul;19(7):2295-302.