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Omega-3s May Help Age Related Macular Degeneration

A new study conducted by the US National Eye Institute found that omega-3 essential fatty acids may significantly reduce the risk of developing Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness in the Western world. It is a progressive disease that attacks the macula of the eye and affects over 15 million Americans. It causes central vision loss and leaves only peripheral vision.
The study was published in the October 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers with the US National Eye Institute looked at a sub-group of 1,837 people in the AREDS study considered to be at moderate to high risk of developing AMD.

AREDS was a large 12 year clinical trial designed to analyze the risk factors for AMD and evaluate the effect of high doses of antioxidants and zinc on the progression of the disease.

The researchers estimated relative omega-3 intake using food frequency questionnaires and found that participants with the highest intake (0.11% of total energy intake) had a 30% reduced risk of developing AMD.

The researchers believe the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3s play a role in reducing AMD risk.

This study supports the findings of an earlier meta-analysis published in June 2008 by researchers from the University of Melbourne in Australia. The Australian researchers found that a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids and fish may reduce the risk of AMD by up to 38%.

Omega-3s are not the only foods shown to promote eye health. In fact, research has shown that foods with a low glycemic index and high in protective nutrients such as vitamins C and E, zinc and lutein are great for boosting eye health.

Some good eye health boosters include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains and dark leafy vegetables

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