Popular dietary supplement shows promise to prevent, treat cataracts

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Washington, July 16 (ANI): A new piece of research suggests that the popular dietary supplement carnosine may prove helpful in preventing and treating cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye that is a leading cause of vision loss worldwide.

Writing in a study report, Enrico Rizzarelli and colleagues point out that the only effective treatment for cataracts is surgical replacement of the lens, the clear disc-like structure inside the eye that focuses light on the nerve tissue in the back of the eye.

The report highlights the fact that cataracts develop when the main structural protein in the lens, alpha-crystallin, forms abnormal clumps.

The authors say that the clumps make the lens cloudy and impair vision.

Studies conducted in the past have suggested that carnosine may help block the formation of these clumps.

During the current study, the researchers exposed tissue cultures of healthy rat lenses to either guanidine - a substance known to form cataracts - or a combination of guanidine and carnosine.

They observed that the guanidine lenses became completely cloudy, while the guanidine/carnosine lenses developed 50 to 60 percent less cloudiness.

According to them, carnosine also restored most of the clarity to clouded lenses.

The results, scheduled for publication in the July 28 edition of ACS' Biochemistry, demonstrate the potential of using carnosine for preventing and treating cataracts, the scientists say. (ANI)

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