Wednesday - Jul 17, 2019

Drinking Coffee can Protect Eyesight?


man drinking coffee

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide and more often than not, most people can’t live a day without drinking three or more cups of coffee. Beside from being a part of the daily routine, coffee has more to offer when it comes to its potential health benefits.  A number of researches had been conducted to determine the possible effects of coffee on the overall health.  Just recently, a new study was published proving that drinking coffee can also lessen the risk of having type 2 diabetes.

There are also studies suggesting that consuming two or more cups of coffee may also reduce death caused by liver cirrhosis for almost 66%.  Other researches also find out that high coffee consumption may also help prevent prostate cancer. Previous studies also found out that coffee can reduce the risks of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other age-related cognitive functions diseases.

In a recent study, researchers were able to prove that coffee contains antioxidants which can protect the deterioration of eyesight and may even prevent blindness. The researchers from the Cornell University in Ithaca, New York published their study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Lead author, Chang Y. Lee, professor of science and food of the said university said that although the main component of coffee is caffeine which is responsible for giving the boost, green coffee beans or raw coffee actually contains only 1% of caffeine.

Each raw coffee bean has approximately 7 to 9% of chlorogenic acid or CGA which is an antioxidant known for giving a number of health benefits such as reduction of blood pressure and weight loss. Previous studies have shown that CGA could be a powerful neuroprotectant.  As a result, the findings have increased the interest among researchers to determine the neuroprotective properties that can block hypoxia or the lack of oxygen in the parts of the body.

How Raw Coffee Bean Protects the Retina?

The retina is a thin layer located behind the eye and it is made of light-sensitive and nerve cells that function as the receiver and organizer of visual information.  Retina is at risk for hypoxia because it is considered as the most metabolically functioning tissues in the body that consumes higher amount of oxygen as compared with the other tissues in the body including the brain. Thus, it is prone to a number of diseases that causes oxidative stress such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration which can all lead to temporary or complete blindness.

Investigators used mice as the experimental animal for this study.  They were interested to know whether coffee particularly the CGA can prevent hypoxia and the overall deterioration of the retina of the mice.  The team tested the possible effects of CGA on the retinal ganglion cells or RGCs.  Retinal ganglion cells are the neurons that are located near the innermost surface of the retina that is usually susceptible to hypoxia.

Cell deterioration was lessened when treatment of nitric oxide was given, but the retinal cell death was further reduced if cells were treated with CGA. They pointed out that both the CGA and coffee extract reduced the RGC death by preventing the down-regulation of cell surface protein called Thy-1. The findings of the study showed that coffee extract and CGA has protective properties that helped mice against retinal deterioration.

The researchers also noted that since the mice did not develop retinal damage when they were treated with antioxidant, they did not yet claim that the same effect will happen for humans.  It is not yet know how CLA antioxidant can be delivered to retina by means of consuming coffee.  Hence, they recommend further studies that will examine the delivery method of providing CLA through eye drops or creating a special kind of brewed coffee that is especially for eye health.

The researchers concluded that the coffee extract and CGA are responsible for reducing the RGC apoptosis which is induced by nitric oxide and hypoxia.  Thus, drinking coffee can help prevent retinal degeneration.

Despite a number of published journal articles about the health benefits of coffee, there are still some researches that points out that drinking coffee has also some serious effect on the person’s health.  Some studies reported that drinking four cups of coffee per day may increase the risk of dying early.  Other studies reported that men who consume two cups of coffee regularly per day are more prone to urinary incontinence.

There are many associated health and unhealthy benefits of coffee. Thus, it is important for coffee lovers to take coffee in moderation to prevent the onset of the possible serious effect of coffee on one’s health.  Lee also pointed out the importance of using natural foods since it offers a lot of potential health benefits.  Drinking raw coffee contains less caffeine thus; it can offer better health benefits.