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Omega-3's May Reduce AMD Risk

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School recently found more evidence showing that omega-3 fatty acids may significantly reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The study was published in the March 2011 issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

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 researchers analyzed dietary data on nearly 40,000 women with no prior history of AMD. The women filled out the dietary questionnaire at the start of the study and were then followed for 10 years to track the prevalence of AMD.

They found that participants who consumed the highest levels of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA were 38% and 35% less likely to develop AMD compared to those who consumed the least. Those who consumed one or more servings of fish per week were also 42% less likely to develop AMD compared to those who consumed fish less than once per month.

These findings show once again that omega-3 fatty acids may be effective as a primary prevention of AMD. Studies have also shown that taking more antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, beta-carotone and zinc may reduce the risk of AMD as well as eating more green leafy vegetables.

Beyond possible reducing AMD risk, omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to boost heart health and cognitive function and even improve mood.

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