Nutrition researchers believe regular intake of Vitamins C and E and Magnesium could help prevent or limit diabetic retinopathy (DR), a potentially blinding disease.
Each of these essential nutrients enables the body to respond in ways that alter retinopathy mechanisms. For example, Vitamins C and E suppress production of a known growth factor, VEG-F, which can promote abnormal blood vessels in the retina. And high dietary levels of Magnesium are associated with lower blood pressure and blood sugar. Lower levels of both correlate with a lower risk of retinopathy.
A research team from Metabolic Science, Cambridge, United Kingdom, surveyed studies published from 1988 through 2008 on the impact of these micronutrients on Diabetic Retinopathy (DR). The researchers note the evidence is not yet strong enough to specifically recommend Vitamins C or E or Magnesium supplements for patients with diabetes.
They believe the research should continue because if dietary intake of the micronutrients, rather
than a medication, might reduce the risk of diabetic complications, would be preferable.
In hospital-based studies, participants with higher levels of Vitamin C in their blood measurements were less likely to have DR. However, in population-based studies there was no association between dietary intake of Vitamin C and DR.
For Vitamin E, no studies showed an association between blood levels or dietary intake and DR risk. For Magnesium, one study showed an association between low blood levels of Magnesium and DR progression, but other studies were inconclusive.
This research was published in the January 2010 issue of Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.