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Coffee Drinkers May Be Protecting Their Vision with Chlorogenic Acid

When you inhale the aroma of your morning cup of coffee, you can smile as you sip it. Researchers keep finding new health benefits associated with coffee consumption. People who drink coffee have a lower likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, nonviral hepatitis, liver cancer, recurrent prostate cancer, cognitive decline and Parkinson’s disease. Now there may be protection against degeneration of the retina in the eye.

Scientists at Cornell University have found that giving mice chlorogenic acid, a compound found in coffee, protects their retinas from damage. Deterioration of the retina, whether from age, macular degeneration or glaucoma, impairs clear vision. The mice in the study were given a compound (nitric oxide or NO) to generate oxidative stress in their retinas, but those that had been given chlorogenic acid first did not experience damage. Although coffee is rich in chlorogenic acid, it is too early to say how the doses tested in mice would translate to humans.

[Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, Jan. 2014]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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