A recent animal study from China has great results for diabetics. This study found that eye drops containing the amino acid L-carnosine prevents the development of cataract.
Cataract, which is a clouding of the lens inside the eye, is the most common cause of blindness; and currently, cataract surgery is the only cure. This is costly, can have long wait lists, and is not readily available in developing countries. So there is an urgent need to find a cure for cataract.
Diabetes is a major risk factor for cataract. The development of cataract—cataractogenesis—is one of the earliest common complications of diabetes. The lack of the hormone insulin in diabetics leads to a high level of glucose in the blood. This extracellular glucose diffuses into the lens of the eye, damaging it and causing the development of cataract.
L-carnosine could be an important ingredient in treating this because the precise mechanisms leading to cataract are not yet fully understood, but glycation and oxidative stress are important factors.
The non-essential amino acid L-carnosine has antioxidant and antiglycating properties. Aspirin, too, reduces glycation. A trial was developed to examine the effect of L-carnosine combined with aspirin to prevent cataract.
Combination of L-carnosine and aspirin eye drops prevents cataract
In this trial by Shi Q, Yan H, et al., (from the Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, China), rats were made diabetic. They were treated with L-carnosine eye drops only, or aspirin eye drops only, or a combination of L-carnosine and aspirin.
Cataract developed slower in all groups, compared with a control, with particularly good results from the combination L-carnosine and aspirin drops. In the final stage of the experiment, less than 10% developed stage 3 cataract with this combination treatment, compared to almost 60% of the untreated diabetic rats.
The researchers suggest that L-carnosine delayed cataract formation by preventing glycation and oxidation, thus protecting protein and DNA.
This combination of L-carnosine and aspirin eye drops could become part of a new treatment to prevent cataract—one of the most serious complications of diabetes.
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