Fish Oil and Macular Degeneration

Consuming Fish Oils May Protect Against Age-Related Vision Loss

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA. Could eating more fish or taking a fish oil supplement protect against age-related blindness and vision loss? Researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia investigated this link by analyzing n-3 fatty acid intakes and incidence of age-related maculopathy (ARM) among 2,895 men and women aged 49 years or over. ARM is the most common cause of severe vision loss in the elderly.

The participants in the top fifth for n-3 FA intake (found in fish and fish oils) had a 59 per cent lower risk than those in the bottom fifth of developing early-stage ARM over the five years of follow-up. Also significant was the 55 per cent lower risk of early-stage ARM among those in the top fifth for alpha-linolenic acid intake. The results also showed a 40 per cent reduction in risk of early-stage ARM and vision loss for those eating fish at least once a week, compared with little or no fish or fish oil intake. The authors conclude that a diet high in n-3 FA, especially from fish, may offer protection against both early and late ARM.
Chua, B. et al. Dietary Fatty Acids and the 5-Year Incidence of Age-Related Maculopathy. Archives of Ophthalmology, Vol. 124, July 2006, pp.981-86.

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