New Research Shows Vitamin C is Important for Eye Health

July 22, 2011

Retinal cells share some characteristics with brain cells, among them special receptors called GABA-type receptors that help manage the rapid transfer of information between cells.  New research shows that in retinal cells these receptors require relatively high levels of vitamin C.  Without it, they stop functioning properly.  This may be
due to the antioxidant properties of vitamin C, which would help to protect the receptors from breaking down.

Because retinal cells are close in both proximity and structure to brain cells, this research suggests that vitamin C may also play a critical role in the proper function of the brain.  The role of vitamin C in the brain has not been well understood, but it is known that in conditions of deficiency, the brain is one of the last places for vitamin C to be lost.  This hints at its importance.

The improper function of the GABA-type receptors due to insufficient vitamin C could have implications in diseases involving retinal and nerve cell function, such as epilepsy and glaucoma.  The researchers speculate that a vitamin C-rich diet could be protective for those at risk of glaucoma.

To read more about this work, click here.

To read an abstract of the study, click here.

Risa Schulman, PhD
Expert, Healthy Food and Dietary Supplement Science, Marketing and Regulatory




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