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Study uses Chinese wolfberries to improve vision imperfections caused by type-2 diabetes
Date:3/30/2010

A Kansas State University researcher is exploring the use of Chinese wolfberries to improve vision deficiencies that are common for type-2 diabetics.

Dingbo "Daniel" Lin, K-State research assistant professor of human nutrition, is studying wolfberries and their potential to improve damage to the retina. His findings show that the fruit can lower the oxidative stress that the eye undergoes as a result of type-2 diabetes.

"I would not say that wolfberries are a medicine, but they can be used as a dietary supplement to traditional treatments to improve vision," Lin said. "Wolfberries have high antioxidant activity and are very beneficial to protect against oxidative stress caused by environmental stimuli and genetic mutations."

Lin has experience in biochemistry and eye research, and he wanted to bridge his current work in nutrition with vision. In a conversation about the eye and phytochemicals Lin had with his father, a traditional medical doctor in China, Lin decided to explore the use of wolfberries for vision improvement.

"In our culture's history, we have traditional medicine literature that describes things like the wolfberry and its functions," Lin said.

Wolfberries are bright orange-red, oblong-shaped and grown in China. Lin said the fruit is known to help rebalance homeostasis, boost the immune system, nourish the liver and kidneys and improve vision. He wanted to understand the mechanisms of the wolfberry's effects on vision and started the project in July 2008.

Lin and his colleagues have found that wolfberries have high levels of zeaxanthin, lutein, polysaccharides and polyphenolics, which have been shown to improve vision, including the prevention of age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

The researchers are using dried wolfberries and examining their effects on the retina pigment epithelial cell layer.

"It's the only cell layer in the far back of the reti
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Contact: Dingbo "Daniel" Lin
dingbo@k-state.edu
785-532-0656
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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