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A possible role for vitamin C in age-related cataract

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 October 2011

Jolieke C. van der Pols*
Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research, Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 IXJ, UK
Corresponding author: Miss J. C. van der Pols, fax +44 (0)1223 426617, email
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While many experimental studies have shown a protective effect of vitamin C in age-related cataract, other studies have revealed contrasting roles for this nutrient. Oxidative damage in the lens can be prevented by vitamin C. However, a pro-oxidant effect of vitamin C through H2O2 generation has been suggested. Vitamin C has also been shown to play a role in protein glycation, which is observed in cataract formation. A protective effect of dietary energy restriction appears to be inversely related to plasma vitamin C levels in rodents. Moreover, conclusions from human epidemiological and intervention studies are not uniform. The available evidence suggests that maintenance of sufficient plasma vitamin C is needed to prevent oxidative damage in the lens. More research will be needed in order to confirm the relative importance of the different roles of vitamin C in the eye lens.

Postgraduate Symposium
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