Benefits for Cataracts/Glaucoma
Cataracts: Cataracts are clumps of protein that collect on the
lens of an eye and interfere with vision. Normally, light passes through the lens
(the clear tissue behind the pupil) and focuses on the retina. The retina is the
light-sensitive layer of the eye that sends visual signals to the brain. A cataract
occurs when the normally clear lens becomes cloudy. Most cataracts develop slowly
over time and are a natural result of aging.
Cataracts and Alpha Lipoic
It is believed that antioxidants may protect the lens against
damage caused by free radicals. It is also thought that ALA's ability to encourage
the production of the antioxidant glutathione would help to protect our eyes from
developing cataracts. The following study helps to demonstrate this.
this experiment, one group of newborn rats was given a drug called (BSO) that
inhibits production of glutothione. Another group of newborn rats were given BSO
along with an injection of lipoic acid. Newborn rats do not open their eyes until
the 6th week of life, but from past experiments it was known that when these glutathione-deprived
rats did open their eyes, they would all have cataracts. Would lipoic acid protect
against cataracts caused by glutathione deficiency? At the end of the 6 weeks
all of the rats that were given just the BSO developed cataracts. Yet almost all
of the rats that were also given lipoic acid supplementation had remained cataract
free. Further testing showed glutathione levels were much higher in eye lens of
the rats treated with lipoic acid but severely depleted in those that were not
treated with lipoic acid. Maitra et al (1) suggest alpha-lipoic acid's protective
effect for BSO-induced cataract formation is probably due to its protective effects
on lens antioxidants. The lens antioxidants glutathione, ascorbate, and vitamin
E were depleted to 45, 62, and 23% of control levels, respectively, by BSO treatment,
but were maintained at 84-97% of control levels when R-alpha-lipoic acid was administered.
Ou P, Nourooz-Zadeh J, Tritschler HJ, Wolff SP. Activation of aldose
reductase in rat lens and metal-ion chelation by aldose reductase inhibitors and
lipoic acid. Free Radic Res 1996;25:337-346)
Glaucoma is a slowly progressing disease that causes damage to the eye's optic
nerve and can result in blindness. Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of
the disease, affects about three million Americans. It is the leading cause of
blindness for African-Americans. Because there are usually no symptoms at first,
half of the people with this disease don't know they have it. With early treatment,
serious vision loss and blindness can usually be prevented.
Glaucoma and Alpha Lipoic
A clear fluid flows in and out of the space at the front of the
eye, nourishing nearby tissues. Glaucoma causes the fluid to pass through too
slowly or to stop draining altogether. As the fluid builds up, the pressure inside
the eye increases, causing damage to the optic nerve and vision loss.
and Alpha Lipoic Acid - Forty-five patients with stage I and II open-angle glaucoma
(OAG) were administered either 75 mg of alpha-lipoic acid for 2 months or 150
mg for 1 month. A control group of 31 patients with OAG were administered only
local hypotensive therapy. The greatest improvement of biochemical parameters
(gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase and non-protein SH-groups), visual function, and
the coefficient of efficacy of liquid discharge was observed in the patients administered
the higher dose of alpha-lipoic acid. Preliminary evidence indicates that 150
mg of alpha lipoic acid, taken daily for one month, significantly improves visual
function in people with glaucoma.*
* Filina AA, Davydova NG, Endrikhovskii
SN, et al. Lipoic acid as a means of metabolic therapy of open-angle glaucoma.
Vestn Oftalmol 1995;111:6-8.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)