How to Alleviate Menstrual Cramps

Kate Willett with Healthline

About 80% of women who menstruate have reported PMS symptoms. Women suffering from PMS may experience cramps, bloating, headaches, back pain, and breast tenderness. For some women, PMS symptoms are annoying, for others they can be completely debilitating. In any case, if you’re suffering from PMS, chances are, you wish you weren’t.

While scientists and physicians have long speculated on the causes of PMS, recent research suggests that PMS is caused by inflammation triggered by a biomarker called C-reactive protein (CRP), indicating that the best way to treat PMS may be reducing inflammation through anti-inflammatory medication and natural methods of reducing inflammation.

Today’s blog post outlines some potential strategies women can use to combat inflammation that may result in monthly discomfort or pain. Please note that if you’re suffering from severe menstrual cramps, it’s important to consult your doctor as they may be caused by endometriosis or uterine fibroids.

Natural Strategies for Reducing Inflammation

Changes to your diet may also help reduce the inflammation causing menstrual pain. While many foods and supplements can be part of an anti-inflammatory diet, we’ve outlined some of the most potent options here.

Consume Omega-3’s

Omega-3’s, found in fish (salmon, tuna, halibut), and various nut and seed oils, have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3’s can also be consumed in supplement form.

A study published in the May 2000 issue of the journal Nutrition Research, showed that omega-3 fatty acid supplements along with vitamin B12 helped significantly reduce discomfort associated with menstrual cramps.

Take Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body process calcium and may reduce inflammation. The research is still at early stages, but findings suggest vitamin D may be effective in treating menstrual cramps. Vitamin D is available in supplement form or can be consumed through dietary sources such as fish, eggs, and fortified milk.

Eat Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, which studies have shown to reduce inflammation. To get the most antioxidants, focus on colorful fruits and vegetables, such as berries, peppers, citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, and kale.

Avoid Sugar

Sugar is a strong contributor to inflammation. Avoiding or reducing sugar may reduce menstrual pain. Sugar lurks in most processed foods, so check labels for maximum effect.

Anti-Inflammatory Medication


NSAIDS, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Naproxen (available over-the-counter as Aleve) or Ibuprofen (available over-the-counter as Advil) are commonly used to treat arthritis, muscle and joint pain, and menstrual pain. Recent research confirms that NSAIDs are more effective than placebos in treating menstrual pain. Research suggests that Naproxen may be more effective in treating severe menstrual cramps than it is for moderate menstrual cramps.

If you decide to use NSAIDS, start taking the medicine at the beginning of your period or when you feel symptoms, and continue for two or three days or until symptoms have gone away. NSAIDS may be hard on your stomach, so they are best taken with food. A typical dose of Naproxen for menstrual pain is 550 mg taken every 12 hours or 275 mg taken every 6–8 hours as needed.

NSAIDS may cause side effects or have negative interactions with other medications, so it’s important to consult with your doctor before taking this medication.

Note from the editor: NSAIDS may have a blood thinning and can increase the bleeding.

Whether you decide to use NSAIDS or reduce inflammation naturally, through treating inflammation, you may find maximum relief of your menstrual discomfort.

About the Author:

Kate Willett is a freelance writer located in Los Angeles, CA. She writes about health, politics, and comedy. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.




How Cinnamon Controls Blood Sugar

We're not talking about sticky, sugar-laden, insulin-inducing cinnamon rolls here. This much-loved spice has actually shown evidence of lowering blood sugar.

While long used as a flavoring, current research is beginning to confirm health benefits of cinnamon, whose traditional therapeutic use included treatment of chronic bronchitis.1

Cinnamon Controlls Diabetes

In a trial of type 2 diabetics reported in 2006, an extract of cinnamon that provided the equivalent of 3 grams powdered cinnamon consumed daily for four months resulted in a 10.3% reduction in fasting plasma glucose from levels measured at the beginning of the study, compared with a 3.4% reduction in the placebo group.2 Participants with higher fasting plasma glucose levels at the beginning of the study derived the greatest benefit.

Cinnamon has also been shown to lower hemoglobin A1c, a marker of long-term glucose control. A randomized trial of 109 type 2 diabetics with elevated hemoglobin A1c levels who received usual care in addition to 1 gram cinnamon daily for 90 days resulted in greater reduction in hemoglobin A1c in comparison with usual care alone.3

Additionally, a trial of 58 poorly controlled type 2 diabetic men and women found reductions in hemoglobin A1c as well as mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures after 12 weeks of cinnamon supplementation compared with a placebo group.4

In Chinese type 2 diabetics, 120 or 360 milligram per day doses of cinnamon extract in addition to gliclazide therapy for three months resulted in a reduction in hemoglobin A1c and fasting blood glucose levels while these levels remained unchanged in the placebo group.5

In a trial that included overweight or obese subjects with impaired fasting blood glucose, cinnamon given twice daily for 12 weeks was associated with an increase in plasma antioxidant status and a decrease in malondialdehyde, a marker of oxidative stress.6

"This study supports the hypothesis that the inclusion of water soluble cinnamon compounds in the diet could reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease," authors A. M. Roussel and colleagues conclude.

Cinnamon Helps Maintain Optimal Blood Sugar Control

A trial of healthy subjects conducted by Swedish researchers found a decrease in blood glucose after eating and a delay in gastric emptying among those who received 6 grams cinnamon compared to those who did not receive it.7

A subsequent study conducted by the Swedish team that evaluated the effects of 1 and 3 grams cinnamon revealed a reduction in serum insulin and an increase in glucagon-like peptide 1 (a hormone that helps prevent high blood glucose levels) in those who received the 3 gram dose.8

Another study involving healthy participants found reductions in total plasma glucose responses to orally administered glucose and improved insulin sensitivity when 5 grams cinnamon was consumed immediately or 12 hours before oral glucose tolerance testing.9

A subsequent study conducted by the researchers in which healthy men were supplemented with 3 grams cinnamon or a placebo for 14 days resulted in reductions in glucose and insulin responses to oral glucose tolerance testing at the end of the treatment period, however, these benefits were rapidly lost once cinnamon was discontinued.10

In nonalcoholic fatty liver disease patients, daily supplementation with 1,500 mg cinnamon for 12 weeks was associated with decreases in fasting blood glucose, insulin resistance, total cholesterol, triglycerides, liver enzymes and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.11

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition not necessarily characterized by cystic ovaries (as its name implies) but by insulin resistance. In a pilot study involving 15 women with PCOS, cinnamon consumed daily for eight weeks resulted in significant improvement in insulin resistance compared to a placebo as indicated by fasting and two hour oral glucose tolerance test results.12

Interestingly, a recent article appearing in Food and Chemical Toxicology suggests that cinnamon inhibits the misfolding of human islet amyloid polypeptide that is regarded as a causative factor in type 2 diabetes mellitus.13 The authors of the study identified proanthocyanidins as the main anti-amyloidogenic compounds occurring in cinnamon water extract and discovered that these compounds also decreased human islet amyloid polypeptide aggregation's damaging and toxic effects.

A review published in 2007 concluded that cinnamon was well tolerated and has a "possible modest effect in lowering plasma glucose levels in subjects with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes”, and adds the usual disclaimer that diabetics should not use cinnamon in place of the proven standard of care.14

A meta-analysis of eight randomized placebo-controlled trials involving participants with diabetes and/or prediabetes published in 2011 concluded that "Cinnamon intake, either as whole cinnamon or as cinnamon extract, results in a statistically significant lowering in fasting blood glucose."15
Subsequent meta-analyses of six and ten clinical trials involving diabetics came to similar conclusions.16,17

Cinnamon has shown its value among populations who are looking to optimize their glycemic control. There appears to be a variety of valuable, recent human studies on this beloved ancient spice.

We conclude this review with a study of hyperglycemic subjects who were given a 250 mg dried water-extract cinnamon capsule twice per day or a placebo. Participants in this 2010 study showed a reduction in fasting glucose after two months.18 One should take immediate action at the first signs of hyperglycemia to lessen the chances that diabetes will develop.


  1. Ziment I. Respiration. 1991;58 Suppl 1:37-42.
  2. Mang B et al. Eur J Clin Invest. 2006 May;36(5):340-4.
  3. Crawford P. J Am Board Fam Med. 2009 Sep-Oct;22(5):507-12.
  4. Akilen R et al. Diabet Med. 2010 Oct;27(10):1159-67.
  5. Lu T et al. Nutr Res. 2012 Jun;32(6):408-12.
  6. Roussel AM et al. J Am Coll Nutr. 2009 Feb;28(1):16-21.
  7. Hlebowicz J et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;85(6):1552-6.
  8. Hlebowicz J et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Mar;89(3):815-21.
  9. Solomon TPJ et al. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2007 Nov;9(6):895-901.
  10. Solomon TP et al. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2009 Apr;105(6):969-76.
  11. Askari F et al. Nutr Res. 2014 Feb;34(2):143-8.
  12. Wang JG et al. Fertil Steril. 2007 Jul;88(1):240-3.
  13. Jiao L et al. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Jun;56:398-405.
  14. Pham AQ et al. Pharmacotherapy. 2007 Apr;27(4):595-9.
  15. Davis PA et al. J Med Food. 2011 Sep;14(9):884-9.
  16. Akilen R et al. Clin Nutr. 2012 Oct;31(5):609-15.
  17. Allen RW et al. Ann Fam Med. 2013 Sep-Oct;11(5):452-9.
  18. Barbara J Stoecker, et al. The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. April 2010, 24 meeting abstract supplement 722.1


The Power of Pterostilbene

Pterostilbene (Pteros‐til‐bene) is an analog of resveratrol, a compound that is found in red grapes, peanuts, and other plant foods.

It is considered to be a calorie restriction mimetic — that is, a compound that mimics the myriad benefits associated with lowering one's daily calorie intake.

The Cancer Connection

In 1999, researchers reported in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology that pterostilbene and resveratrol were found in the Ayurvedic medicine darakchasava, which has long been prescribed as a cardiotonic and more.1

A review published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2002 reported the significant antioxidant potential of pterostilbene, its inhibitory effect against cyclooxygenase 1 (COX-1) and COX-2 (enzymes involved in inflammation) and its ability to prevent precancerous changes induced by a carcinogen in a mouse model of mammary cancer.2 The compound has shown stronger protective effects than resveratrol against the development of colon cancer in mice injected with a carcinogenic compound.3

Other research has shown an inhibitory effect for pterostilbene against gastric,4 bladder,5 pancreatic,6 lung,7 melanoma,8 osteosarcoma,9 liver,10 leukemia,11 esophageal12, and breast and prostate cancer cell lines.13 Additionally, pterostilbene has had a growth-inhibitory effect in colorectal cancer cells when combined with another plant compound, quercetin.14 A review lists alteration of the cell cycle, induction of apoptosis, and inhibition of metastasis as pterostilbene's anticancer mechanisms.15

Cancer stem cells are increasingly recognized for their role in cancer and metastasis. A study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that pterostilbene suppressed the generation of cancer stem cells in breast cancer cell cultures.16

Pterostilbene is a Metabolic Marvel

Findings from several studies suggest that pterostilbene could be of benefit to diabetics. In rats, in which diabetes was induced, pterostilbene improved activity levels of the body's naturally produced antioxidants, and normalized lipid peroxidation and pathologic changes in the animals kidneys and liver.17

In another study involving diabetic rats, pterostilbene lowered plasma glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin levels (HbA1C), inviting a comparison with metformin.18 In hamsters with elevated cholesterol levels, enhancement of the diet with pterostilbene was associated with lower glucose as well as low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.19

Research involving vascular smooth muscle cells, which are the main cells of the arterial wall, whose abnormal proliferation plays a role in the development of atherosclerosis, uncovered an inhibitory effect in vitro in association with the administration of pterostilbene, which suggests that "Pterostilbene may be a potential anti-proliferative agent for the treatment of atherosclerosis and angioplasty restenosis," according to authors Eun-Seok Park and colleagues.20

Pterostilbene and Memory

Now we come to an area of interest to most life extensionists: pterostilbene's effect on brain aging. In aged rats given pterostilbene, cognitive behavioral deficits were reversed and a correlation was discovered between working memory and pterostilbene levels in the brain's hippocampus, an area that is involved in memory formation.21

In a study involving a mouse model of accelerated aging, the addition of pterostilbene to the diet improved water maze performance in comparison with mice that did not receive the compound, and reduced markers of cellular stress, inflammation, and Alzheimer's disease pathology.22

In mice given a compound that impairs memory and learning, the administration of pterostilbene reduced this impairment and showed a protective effect against neuronal injury compared to untreated mice.23 

In a study that involved mice in which cerebral ischemia was induced followed by reperfusion, subsequent administration of pterostilbene improved neurologic function, decreased brain infarct volume, and reduced brain edema after 24 hours. In addition, pterostilbene was associated with improved motor function, increased neuron survival, inhibition of oxidative stress and other benefits indicative of neuroprotection.24

The Bottom Line

Although scientific investigation of pterostilbene and its benefits is relatively recent, the evidence revealed so far is positive. While one doesn't replace the other, pterostilbene appears to have many of the benefits of resveratrol and potentially greater bioavailability.25, 26, 27 Combining the two could be the best way to ensure reaping the greatest number of benefits from these multifaceted compounds.


  1. Paul B et al. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999 Dec 15;68(1-3):71-6.
  2. Rimando AM et al. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Jun 5;50(12):3453-7.
  3. Chiou YS et al. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Mar 23;59(6):2725-33.
  4. Pan MH et al. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Sep 19;55(19):7777-85.
  5. Chen RJ et al. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Dec;54(12):1819-32.
  6. Mannal PW et al. J Gastrointest Surg. 2010 May;14(5):873-9.
  7. Schneider JG et al. J Surg Res. 2010 Jun 1;161(1):18-22.
  8. Schneider JG et al. Am J Surg. 2009 Nov;198(5):679-84.
  9. Liu Y et al. Toxicology. 2013 Feb 8;304:120-31.
  10. Lombardi G et al. Nat Prod Commun. 2015 Aug;10(8):1403-8.
  11. Siedlecka-Kroplewska K et al. Folia Histochem Cytobiol. 2012;50(4):574-80.
  12. Feng Y et al. Cell Physiol Biochem. 2016;38(3):1226-44.
  13. Chakraborty A et al. Toxicol In Vitro. 2010 Jun;24(4):1215-28.
  14. Priego S et al. Mol Cancer Ther. 2008 Oct;7(10):3330-42.
  15. McCormack D et al. J Surg Res. 2012 Apr;173(2):e53-61.
  16. Mak KK et al. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Jul;57(7):1123-34.
  17. Amarnath Stheesh M et al. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2006 Nov;58(11):1483-90.
  18. Pari L et al. Life Sci. 2006 Jul 10;79(7):641-5.
  19. Rimando AM et al. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 May 4;53(9):3403-7.
  20. Park ES et al. Vascul Pharmacol. 2010 Jul-Aug;53(1-2):61-7.
  21. Joseph JA et al. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Nov 26;56(22):10544-51.
  22. Chang J et al. Neurobiol Aging. 2012 Sep;33(9):2062-71.
  23. Hou Y et al. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2014 Oct 3;54:92-102.
  24. Zhou Y et al. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2015 Aug;135:199-209.
  25. Kapetanovic IM et al. Cancer chemotherapy and pharmacology. 2011;68(3):593-601.
  26. Nutakul W et al. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2011;59(20):10964-10970.
  27. McCormack D et al. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2013;2013:575482.


The Health Benefits of Amla (Indian Gooseberry)

Amla, also known as amalika or Indian gooseberry, is an Indian Ayurvedic remedy that is gaining popularity in the Western world. It is also recognized under the names of Emblica officinalis and Phyllanthus emblica.

Amla enjoys a mythical reputation in India, due to a belief in that it originated from drops of Amrit, the nectar of immortality.

It is thus asserted to confer longevity and to cure nearly every disease, hence its designation as a rasayana or rejuvenator in Ayurveda. While these claims lie within the realm of myth, has modern science validated any of amla's benefits?

Amla Is Really Healthy

Amla fruit has been found to contain a high amount of the antioxidant vitamin C, and its tannins were shown to possess vitamin C-like properties.1,2 An article that calls amla "the Ayurvedic wonder" notes that the plant also contains phenolic compounds, phyllembelic acid, phyllembelin, rutin, curcuminoids and emblicol.3

A review published in 2011 in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention titled, "Amla (Emblia officinalis Gaertn), a wonder berry in the treatment and prevention of cancer," provides a long list of properties attributed to amla.4

The authors observe that "The fruit is used either alone or in combination with other plants to treat many ailments such as common cold and fever; as a diuretic, laxative, liver tonic, to manage cholesterol, support heart health, ease inflammation, as a hair tonic; to prevent peptic ulcer and dyspepsia, and as a digestive aid.

Amla's Case for Cholesterol

Early research found an association between supplementation with amla and protection against elevated serum cholesterol in rabbits given a cholesterol-rich diet.5 In humans, 28 days of amla supplementation lowered cholesterol in those with normal and elevated levels, which returned to near pretreatment levels two weeks after amla was discontinued.6

In human umbilical vein endothelial cells, it was shown that the amla compound corilagin and its analog Dgg16 decrease malondialdehyde, a marker of oxidative stress, while preventing the adherence of monocytes to the cells, indicating an inhibitory effect on atherosclerosis progression.7 In rat vascular smooth muscle cells, both compounds inhibited proliferation activated by oxidized low density lipoprotein (LDL).

A clinical trial of amla in overweight and obese adults resulted in lower LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol to high density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP, a marker of inflammation) and platelet aggregation after 12 weeks of supplementation, suggesting that amla could benefit overweight or obese individuals by reducing several cardiovascular disease risk factors.8

In a trial that included diabetics and nondiabetics, amla lowered fasting and post-meal blood glucose levels, total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while improving HDL cholesterol.9

Amla Supports Liver Health

In addition to the cardiovascular system, amla has been shown to benefit the liver. According to a recent review that noted that over 10% of the world's population is affected by liver diseases, "Scientific studies have shown amla to be effective in preventing/ameliorating the toxic effects of hepatotoxic agents like ethanol, paracetamol, carbon tetrachloride, heavy metals, ochratoxins, hexachlorocyclohexane, antitubercular drugs, and hepatotoxicity resulting from iron overload.

Amla is also reported to impart beneficial effects on liver function and to mitigate hyperlipidemia and metabolic syndrome. Amla possesses protective effects against chemical-induced hepatocarcinogenesis in animal models of study." 10

Amla May Offer Environmental Protection

Other research has found a protective effect for amla against chromosomal damage caused by lead and aluminum.11,12

Amla also appears to have a cosmetic benefit. In one experiment, amla stimulated fibroblast proliferation and induced procollagen production, while decreasing matrix metalloproteinase-1, which breaks down collagen.13

Amla was also shown to inhibit ultraviolet B (UVB)-induced photoaging in human skin fibroblasts through its ability to scavenge reactive oxygen species.14 Its ability to protect against reactive oxygen species induced by UVB appears to be stronger than that of vitamin C.15

The Bottom Line

It appears that some of amla's mythologic properties may indeed be valid. While there's no evidence that it will confer immortality, one interesting study conducted in 2014 found that turmeric, from which curcumin is derived, as well as amla fruit increased the life span of Drosophila melanogaster, a fruit fly that is the subject of a fair amount of gerontologic research.16

The authors concluded that "the results support the free radical theory of aging as both these plant derivatives show high reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging activities."


  1. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Mar 8;104(1-2):113-8.
  2. Indian J Exp Biol. 1999 Jul;37(7):676-80.
  3. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2010;21(1):93-105.
  4. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2011 May;20(3):225-39.
  5. Br J Exp Pathol. 1981 Oct;62(5):526-8.
  6. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1988 Nov;42(11):939-44.
  7. Yakugaku Zasshi. 2005 Jul;125(7):587-91.
  8. J Med Food. 2015 Apr;18(4):415-20.
  9. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Sep;62(6):609-16.
  10. Food Funct. 2013 Oct;4(10):1431-41.
  11. Mutat Res. 1990 Jul;241(3):305-12.
  12. Environ Mol Mutagen. 1993;21(3):229-36.
  13. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Sep 2;119(1):53-7.
  14. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Oct 28;132(1):109-14.
  15. J Cosmet Sci. 2011 Jan-Feb;62(1):49-56.
  16. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:910290.


The Pressure to Beat Glaucoma

Glaucoma, a major cause of blindness, is characterized by increased intraocular pressure (although it can also occur with normal intraocular pressure), optic nerve damage, and the gradual loss of peripheral vision. Often, the increase in pressure is the result of inadequate drainage of aqueous humor, which normally flows from the posterior chamber behind the iris to the anterior chamber in front of the iris.

Approximately 90% of glaucoma cases are of the open angle form, in which there is a wide, open angle between the eye's iris and cornea. In angle-closure glaucoma, the angle between the iris and cornea is narrow. While open angle glaucoma develops slowly, angle-closure glaucoma comes on suddenly. Both types of glaucoma impair aqueous humor outflow.

Other forms include congenital glaucoma and variants of open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma that include secondary glaucoma, exfoliative glaucoma, traumatic glaucoma, and more.

Several treatments for glaucoma exist, mainly in the form of eye drops, including the prostaglandin analog bimatoprost that has gained recognition over the past several years due to its ability to thicken and darken the eyelashes, resulting in the prescription cosmetic known as Latisse®. There are also surgical treatment options that have had limited success.

B-Vitamins, Antioxidant Support, and More

Nutritional therapies for glaucoma can help lower intraocular pressure without the side effects of drugs, however, they are most often suggested to act in complement with standard therapies rather than replace them.

A study of dietary factors and glaucoma noted that greater consumption of carrots, collard greens, kale, and peaches were associated with significantly lower risk for glaucoma in women in comparison with consumption of the foods less than once per month.1

These foods are high in vitamins A, B2, and C, as well as carotenoids. Supplemental vitamin C has been associated with a lower risk of developing glaucoma in a study of a subgroup of participants in the 2005−2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.2 Subjects whose supplemental vitamin C intake was among the top 20% of subjects had a 53% lower risk of the disease than those among the lowest 20%.

Supplementation with alpha lipoic acid, a compound that has shown rejuvenating effect in gerontologic experiments,3,4 was shown to both help prevent and treat glaucoma in a mouse model by reducing oxidative stress and limiting disease-related retinal ganglion cell death and dysfunction.5

A study that included patients with dry eye disorders and those with nonadvanced primary open-angle glaucoma (who frequently develop dry eye in association with the use of eye drops used to treat the disease) found that daily supplementation with antioxidants including vitamins A, C and E plus essential fatty acids (EPA, DHA) for three months improved dry eye signs and symptoms compared with those who did not receive the supplements.6

Forskolin (Coleus forskohli) is an herb that has been used topically to help control intraocular pressure. A study that evaluated orally administered forskolin combined with rutin (a glycoside of quercetin) in a group of patients with primary open angle glaucoma being treated with a topical drug regimen found a 10% decrease in intraocular pressure in treated subjects, while intraocular pressure remained stable in the control group.7

A similar investigation of this nutrient combination plus vitamins B1 and B2 resulted in an approximate 20% decrease in intraocular pressure in comparison with pretreatment values, leading the authors of the report to conclude that, "[...[ forskolin and rutin given through the oral route appear to reach the ocular district, where they can act in synergy with topical pharmacological treatments, and contribute to the control of intraocular pressure.8

The intake of the B vitamin folate has been linked with a lower risk of exfoliative glaucoma or suspected disease.9 An evaluation of 78,980 women who participated in the Nurses' Health Study and 41,221 male participants in the Health Professionals Follow-Up study found a 25% lower risk of diagnosed or suspected exfoliative glaucoma among those whose intake of folate was among the highest 20% compared with the lowest 20%.

Further investigation revealed that folate from supplements but not from diet was responsible for the protective effect9. Other research involving patients with exfoliative glaucoma and exfoliation syndrome (which increases the risk of exfoliative glaucoma) has found an association with elevated plasma homocysteine, which is treatable with B vitamins.10

Healthy Blood Flow

While the cause of normal tension glaucoma is unknown, one hypothesis concerning its occurrence suggests that the disease is due to reduced blood flow to the optic nerve. To investigate this vascular hypothesis, researchers in Seoul, Korea evaluated the effects of Ginkgo biloba, which has beneficial effects on blood circulation and other benefits, and bilberry anthocyanins, which have an affinity for the eye and vascular tissues.11

After treatment for nearly two years, normal tension glaucoma patients who received anthocyanins or ginkgo experienced improvement in the Humphrey Visual Field test, which is used to evaluate peripheral vision that becomes impaired with glaucoma. Improvement also occurred in best corrected-visual acuity among those who received anthocyanins, while deteriorating in the control group.

Another study that tested anthocyanins from black currant resulted in improved ocular blood flow in comparison with a placebo group.12

A review suggests that resveratrol, a compound occurring in red grapes and wine, could aid in the prevention of glaucoma, due to its vascular-enhancing properties that support the eyes' microcirculation.13

In 2008, Molecular Vision published the finding of researchers at Italy's University of Chieti-Pescara of improved ocular blood flow and lowered average intraocular pressure in association with Mirtogenol®, a combination of Mirtoselect® from bilberry and Pycnogenol® from French Maritime pine bark, in a study that included 38 asymptomatic participants with intraocular hypertension.14

The authors of the study conclude that dietary intervention with the combination may help prevent progression to higher intraocular pressure and symptomatic glaucoma. They note that bilberry and Pycnogenol® have been used as supplements for decades without significant side effects.

The Bottom Line

Glaucoma, while slow-progressing in its most common manifestation, remains an eventual thief of sight. It is imperative that anyone with glaucoma or suspected glaucoma receive treatment by an ophthalmologist. Progression of the disease may be slowed with early detection and treatment. Nutritional supplements may be added in the hope of boosting results. Please consult with your physician concerning the compatibility with your medication regimen of any supplements under consideration.


  1. Coleman AL et al. Am J Ophthalmol. 2008 Jun;145(6):1081-9.
  2. Wang SY et al. Eye (Lond). 2013 Apr;27(4):487-94.
  3. Liu J et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Feb 19;99(4):2356-61.
  4. Shenk JC et al. J Neurol Sci. 2009 Aug 15;283(1-2):199-206.
  5. Inman DM et al. PLoS One. 2013 Jun 5;8(6):e65389.
  6. Galbis-Estrada C et al. Clin Interv Aging. 2013;8:711-9.
  7. Vertrugno M et al. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2012 Oct;28(5):536-41.
  8. Pescosolido N et al. Clin Ter. 2010;161(3):e81-5.
  9. Kang JH et al. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2014 May;132(5):549-59.
  10. Vessani RM et al. Am J Ophthalmol. 2003 Jul;136(1):41-6.
  11. Shim SH et al. J Med Food. 2012 Sep;15(9):818-23.
  12. Ohguro H et al. Ophthalmologica. 2012;228(1):26-35.
  13. Bola C et al. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2014 May;252(5):699-713.
  14. Steigerwalt RD et al. Mol Vis. 2008 Jul 10;14:1288-92.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
All Contents Copyright © 1995-2016 Life Extension® All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.