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How A Good Drop Can Help Your Eyes!

Were you aware that a good drop of red wine is good for our eyesight and has some impressive anti-aging properties too? In small amounts that is – not too much though, as it can have the detrimental common side effects, such as blurred vision and speech, inability to focus, stairs and chairs will be hard to navigate, you’ll develop foot-in-mouth disease and yes, your co-ordination will be affected as you try to get your keys in the front door lock that has somehow disappeared. All jokes aside though, we can drink small quantities of red wine relatively guilt free and know we are helping our body at the same time.

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Studies have shown – and physicians now agree – that the health benefits for our eyes when drinking red wine are positive, but until recently, researches were not sure which compounds were responsible for this. We now know its resveratrol.

What the heck is resveratrol, you might wonder? Resveratrol’s chemical name is: trans-3,5,4’-trihydroxystilben (try saying that three times fast after a glass of red!), and this particular compound has an extremely high concentration in the skin of certain types of red grape, anywhere from 50-100 micrograms per gram in fact. Resveratrol is a phytoalexin! Any wiser? Neither was I, so I delved a little deeper. Phytoalexin is the combination of various antimicrobial chemical substances, produced by plants to combat infection by a pathogen – simply put, it’s the normal chemical response of plants against disease and is very similar to our own and other animal immune systems.

By administering a high dose of this compound to test mice when they reached middle age, the researchers found that it improved their quality of life significantly. The mice responded quite remarkably with a reduction in cataracts and osteoporosis, a much better vascular function and a lessening in the decline of motor skills. David Sinclair – a researcher at Harvard Medical School – said that “resveratrol influences a whole series of seemingly unrelated diseases associated with aging."

To produce the same effect without using resveratrol, researchers have found that reducing our daily calorie intake by 30-50% or by eating every other day will produce a similar benefit. This is not a practical solution for us three meal a day human beings and would be extremely difficult to adhere to. This type of food pattern would also be of great concern to the elderly, any one with diabetes, young people and let’s face it; I think all of us would struggle with this type of restrictive diet!

Resveratrol seems to be very promising, even in these early days of research, in helping us age gracefully and obtain better eyesight. An interesting fact that came out of one study, was that even though the subject mice were being fed a high calorie diet, they not only experienced a better quality of life, but they lived much longer than those mice being fed the same diet but no resveratrol. We mere mortals and mice are not the only ones that are benefiting from this – in other studies, resveratrol has been shown to extend the lives of fish, flies, yeast and worms. Clinical trials have also started in the use of this important new compound in helping with type 2 diabetes. Life just gets better and better!

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