Can Flax Seed Oil Protect the Retina from UV Damage?

July 6, 2011

A new animal study shows that flax seed oil may specifically protect the retina from damage due to UV light. Rats were exposed to UVC light twice a day for 1 hour while being fed either flax seed oil or no flax seed oil in their diets. The internal antioxidant glutathione and the superoxide dismutase enzyme increased in the lens, skin, and serum of the group fed flax, but were lower in the group that did not get flax, indicating a greater ability to fight oxidative stress in the flax group. Indeed, markers of oxidative stress increased in lens, skin and serum of the no flax group, but not in the flax group. Furthermore, apoptosis (cell death) occurred the no flax group, but specifically not in the retinas of the flax group, showing a preferential effect in the eye.

Extrapolating research from animals to humans is not straightforward, but this study opens the door to the possibility that eating flax seed can be beneficial for people as well.

For a copy of the study abstract, click here.

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




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