Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is now the leading cause of blindness in industrialized countries. The growth of new blood vessels occurs in multiple layers of the eye. These new immature blood vessels can leak into the retina and cause loss of vision. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a chemical responsible for the growth of new blood vessels (neovascularization) and is produced by the eye (especially when there is increased inflammation). Anti-VEGF factors can reduce the speed of the disease and even yield improvements.
Fucoidan is a functional food derived from brown algae. It is believed to be anti-tumor, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. The researchers studied fucoidan for its effects on VEGF and angiogenesis in the eye. Pig eye cells were grown on culture media for this study. The tissues were exposed to fucoidan (from Fucus vesiculosus) for various periods. Some tissues which were not exposed to fucoidan served as controls.
No toxicity to fucoidan was found and it did not cause proliferation of cells (overgrowth). Fucoidan did reduce VEGF production, but also reduced wound healing which could reduce healing after laser surgery. Fucoidan was shown to reduce tissue angiogenesis, and, as a result, is a possible VEGF-antagonist which can be taken orally for macular degeneration.
CONCLUSION: Fucoidan reduces VEGF in the eye and, subsequently, reduces angiogenesis. It has a good margin of safety and deserves further study for age-related macular degeneration treatment.
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Summary #970. nutrientmedicine