WASHINGTON - Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish such as tuna and salmon may help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) progression, depending upon the stage of the disease, suggest researchers.
AMD is a progressive disease that attacks central vision, resulting in a gradual loss of eyesight and, in some cases, blindness
During the study, the research team from Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research (LNVR) and Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University calculated the intakes of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) among 2,924 patients aged 55 to 80 years.
The findings revealed that taking supplements of antioxidants plus zinc prevents progression of late-stage AMD.
"In our study, we observed participants with early stages of AMD in the placebo group benefited from higher intake of DHA, but it appears that the high-dose supplements of the antioxidants and/or the minerals somehow interfered with the benefits of DHA against early AMD progression," said senior author Dr Allen Taylor, director of the LNVR at the USDA HNRCA.
The antioxidant supplements did not seem to interfere with the protective effects of DHA and EPA against progression to advanced stages of AMD.
The study also showed that participants who consumed higher amounts of DHA and EPA appeared to have lower risk of progression to both wet and dry forms of advanced AMD.
"Data from the present study also shows the supplements and omega-3 fatty acids collaborate with low-dietary glycemic index (dGI) diets against progression to advanced AMD," said corresponding author Chung-Jung Chiu, DDS, PhD, a scientist in the LNVR and an assistant professor at TUSM.
"Our previous research suggests a low-GI diet may prevent AMD from progressing to the advanced stage," Chiu added.
The researchers suggest that eating two to three servings of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, shellfish, and herring every week would achieve the recommended daily intake of DHA and EPA, however, further research is required to conclude dietary recommendations for people with AMD.
The study appears in the British Journal of Ophthalmology. (ANI)