Aside from being studied as a possible preventative treatment for lymphoma, prostate cancer, breast cancer and metastatic cancer, broccoli has now been proven to fight age-related vision loss. This tasty green superfood contains an essential detoxifying compound that triggers the creation of receptor proteins in the retina to prevent age-related macular degeneration, or AMD.
The leading cause of vision loss for over 10 million Americans, AMD occurs when AhR proteins fail to continue activating at normally occurring levels.
Usually affecting people over the age of 50, AMD damages the macula, a part of the retina that assists in producing sharpened images of objects in your direct line of sight.
As the disease progresses, affected individuals often report the presence of a “blurred area near the center of vision,” that grows larger and larger with time.
While AMD does not lead to complete blindness, its debilitating effects can cause a great amount of interference with daily activities such as driving, reading, writing, cooking and identifying the faces of those around you.
Compound in broccoli found to prevent age-related vision loss
Broccoli contains a compound called I3C, which naturally boosts the creation of AhR in the retina, thus preventing the onset of age-related macular degeneration.
A study published in Scientific Reports, revealed: “I3C helps clear cells of environmental toxins by activating the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) protein which upregulates pathways involved in chemical detoxification.”
To use broccoli’s levels of naturally occurring I3C to treat human vision loss, lead researcher Arvind Ramanathan, PhD, knew there would be some challenges.
Since broccoli’s levels of I3C are not sufficient enough to activate a substantial protective effort against AMD, Ramanathan conducted a series of virtual screenings to find a compound related to I3C that would bind to AhR proteins within the retina more effectively.
After thorough investigation, Ramanathan and his team found a compound 10 times more potent than I3C, called 2,2′-aminophenyl indole, or 2AI. “2AI protected human retinal cells in culture from stress,” Ramanathan said. “And it also protected retinal cells in mice from light-mediated damage.”
Since environmental stress is one of, if not the main contributor to age-related macular vision loss, 2AI’s ability to protect cells from stress related degeneration means its future role in preventing AMD could be crucial.
Naturally occurring compounds provide potential for treatment of other age-related diseases
Ramanathan also spoke of the discovery of additional naturally occurring compounds that could aid in the prevention of age-related diseases. After the successful findings of his IC3-broccoli study, Ramanathan encourages others to conduct similar studies, stating: “This method allows us to capitalize on nature’s wisdom to find related molecules that can deliver therapeutic benefit.”
While naturally occurring health remedies exist in overwhelming abundance, it is up to independent scientific research to inform the public of their immense potential to fight and cure diseases affecting modern day society. Thanks to Dr. Ramanathan, and many others like him, maybe the world will one day realize their unlimited potential.