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B Vitamin Intake Linked With Lower Risk of Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens in the eye that lead to a decrease in vision. A recent study suggests that higher intake of B vitamins may lower the rate of and decrease the risk of developing different types of cataracts in mature adults.


Participants in the study included 3115 people between the ages of 55 and 80.  All were followed for an average of 9.6 years as a part of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. Participants filled out a baseline food frequency questionnaire. Baseline and annual lens photographs were taken to test for cataracts.


The researchers found that people with the highest vitamin B2 intake had a 22% lower risk of mild nuclear cataract and a 38% lower risk of moderate nuclear cataract, as well as a 20% lower risk of mild cortical cataract when compared with those with the lowest intake. Participants with the highest B12 intake had a 22% and 38% lower risk of mild and moderate nuclear cataract, respectively, as well as a 23% lower risk of mild cortical cataract.


The participants with the highest average B6 intake had a 33% lower risk of developing moderate nuclear lens opacity when compared with those with the lowest average intakes.


The researchers did not find and associations between lutein plus zeaxanthin intake and risk of cataracts.


Researchers from the National Eye Institutes of Health conducted the study. It was published in the July 2015 issue of Ophthalmology.


B vitamins have been linked to numerous health benefits, including reducing breast cancer risk, nervous system function, red blood cell formation, and hormone function. Studies have also suggested that B vitamins may reduce the risk of hearing loss, and birth defects


Our bodies do not naturally synthesize B vitamins. However, it is easy to increase your intake by eating more folate- rich foods. Some foods rich in folate include liver, eggs, beans, sunflower seeds, asparagus, leafy green vegetables, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupes, and other melons. B  vitamin intake also can be bolstered through supplements or fortified foods.

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