Black Currant Anthocyanins for Eye Pressure?

March 26, 2013

Why glaucoma patients and healthy subjects may benefit from this pigment.

Black currant (Ribes nigrum) is a rich source of anthocyanins. These pigments give many fruits their colors and, despite the notion that anthocyanins are poorly absorbed in the body, research keeps linking consumption of these compounds, as standardized extracts or in whole foods, to potential health benefits-the latest being healthy eye pressure.

In a small crossover trial on 12 healthy subjects, researchers at Sapporo Medical University in Japan found that consuming 50 mg of black currant extract daily improved intraocular blood pressure, or the fluid pressure of the eye, better than placebo at two and four weeks.

Experts consider high intraocular blood pressure (ocular hypertension) to be a risk factor for developing glaucoma. And yet, glaucoma patients also appear to respond to black currant anthocyanins. The same team of researchers reanalyzed data from its successful 2012 study in which glaucoma patients consumed black currant anthocyanins or placebo daily for two years. That study focused on improvements in eye deviation, the ability of eyes to move independently or together. Now looking at intraocular blood pressure, the research team notes that those glaucoma patients experienced statistically significant decreases in intraocular blood pressure at two years compared to baseline.

Results of the latest study and reanalysis of glaucoma patients are published in the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics.