Several population-based studies have revealed the importance of diet, specifically of micronutrients, in the management of age-related ocular diseases. These studies have led researchers to focus on a wide variety of nutrients in the management of eye problems, such as retinal conditions (light mediative oxidative damage), refractive errors, age-related macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma, and dry eye. This publication discusses selected natural molecules and their effect on ocular diseases. Here we present the section on PEA.
Anti-inflammatory, retino-protectant in glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy (Keppel 2015).
Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is a pleiotropic naturally occurring endogenous N-acetylethanolamine cell-protective lipid found in several foods and in many living organisms. Numerous studies have reported its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective characteristics; however, its beneficial effects are dose-dependent and mediated via receptors such as PPAR-α, PPAR-γ, PPAR-δ, GPR, and TRPV1 (Keppel 2015).
In the past 50 years, many clinical trials for various ocular diseases (such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, uveitis, and pathological conditions involving inflammation) have tested PEA effectiveness. This molecule is available both as via dietary sources rich in PEA and as via supplement.
Several PEA supplementary products are administered to glaucoma and neuroinflammation patients in Italy for nutritional support. PEA holds promise in treating many retinopathies and has been evaluated in many double-blind placebo-controlled studies to be safe, effective, and tolerable up to 1.8 g/day.
Moreover, as PEA downregulates proinflammatory genes, it has been beneficial as an anti-inflammatory and retino-protectant compound in glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy (Ye 2020).
Abstract for full publication
Environmental pollution, inadequate eating habits and unhealthy lifestyles have led to a tremendous increase in ocular diseases worldwide. Given the costly treatments that are currently available for the most common and threatening eye diseases (such as cataract, dry eye disorder, or diabetic retinopathy), curing these diseases or preventing refractive errors by taking nutraceuticals and natural compounds that are present in our daily diet is a very valuable intervention. The eyes are the most important part of our visual system and require micronutrients such as vitamins, carotenoids, trace metals, and omega-3 fatty acids in order to function properly and to protect themselves against light-induced and age-mediated degenerative disorders.
The Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) has been in the limelight since the 1980s because of the several health benefits it provides, including eye health. MedDiet is characterized by the consumption of small amounts of red meat, while emphasizing the intake of fish, eggs, nuts, legumes, citrus fruits, green vegetables, olives and their derivatives, especially olive oil, and dairy products in a proportionate manner, in order to achieve the maximum health benefits. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties of these foods - both when used as an ingredient in the dietary regime or as a source of nutritional supplements - have shown promising results in the management of chronic degenerative ocular diseases, both in animal models and in human subjects.
In this publication, we will focus on the importance of a Mediterranean diet and natural compounds for the visual system and its role in slowing down age-related ocular degeneration.
Keywords: Antioxidants; Glaucoma; Med Diet; Ocular diseases; Retinal diseases.
- Dietary supplements in retinal diseases, glaucoma, and other ocular conditions - PubMed
- J Prev Med Hyg
- 2022 Oct 17;63(2 Suppl 3):E189-E199.
- 2022 Jun.
- PMID: 36479474
- PMCID: PMC9710404
- DOI: 10.15167/2421-4248/jpmh2022.63.2S3.2760