Resveratrol — found in red wine, grapes, blueberries, peanuts and other plants — stops out-of-control blood vessel growth in the eye, according to vision researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
The discovery has implications for preserving vision in blinding eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 50.
For people diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) this result might be immediately useful. One can buy resveratrol. Someone with AMD might want to bring up the idea with their eye doctor.
The investigators studied mice that develop abnormal blood vessels in the retina after laser treatment. Apte’s team found that when the mice were given resveratrol, the abnormal blood vessels began to disappear.
Would long term resveratrol supplementation by older folks prevent AMD development?
A reservation: In this study effectively resveratrol is working as an anti-angiogenesis (blood vessel growth inhibiting) compound (and notably not as a sirtuin activator). At a dosage sufficient to have this effect in humans the anti-angiogenesis effect might block blood vessel growth in other areas where new blood vessels are needed. For example, new blood vessels could be needed around the heart or in leg muscles (whose shrinkage with age might be due to aged capillaries with impaired ability to dilate). Make sure you know you have AMD before seriously considering resveratrol (or any other compound) to inhibit blood vessel formation.