What your patient might ask you…

Can turmeric help prevent glaucoma?

According to a new study, yes.

First, what is turmeric?
It’s a plant from the ginger family recognized for it’s bright yellow/orange color. It’s commonly used in a dry powder form and many types of curry use turmeric as a key ingredient to add flavor.

What is so great about turmeric?
Its active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin has antioxidant properties and has been shown to protect retinal ganglion cells when administered orally.

Why don’t we just take it orally?
The problem with oral administration is that curcumin has poor solubility and therefore doesn’t efficiently get absorbed into the blood stream. A person would need to take up to 24 pills a day to get the benefits which leads to GI side effects.

What did the study find?
A new study designed a drop containing curcumin within a nanocarrier. The nanocarrier allows for administration of high doses of curcumin as well as increased solubility. Using the drop twice a day for three weeks in rat models with glaucoma showed a reduction in retinal ganglion cell loss compared with the controls. (via)

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