Omega-3 lowers AMD risk
to data pooled from nine previously conducted studies, published
in the June issue of Archives of Opthalmology, [i] the most
marked benefits relate to more advanced AMD, although increasing
one’s intake of omega-3 is associated with a lower risk of
both early and late onset of AMD.
AMD is the prime cause of blindness over the age of 55 in
the West, according to AMD Alliance International. Its incidence
is not insignificant, with 25-30 million people affected worldwide.
Scientists are predicting these figures to increase as the
unhealthy generation of baby boomers gets older.
AMD is a degenerative disease of the retina, causing loss
of central vision which leaves sufferers with only peripheral
vision. Early detection is crucial as it can enable effective
treatment to be prescribed before the condition worsens.
This recent study is welcome news because it suggests that
we can and should take a proactive approach to our health.
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids form building blocks in the
layer of nerve cells in the retina, therefore playing an important
part in maintaining healthy eyesight. According to the lead
author of the study, “a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and
fish, as a proxy for long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake,
has therefore been hypothesised as a means to prevent AMD”.
Additionally, the outer photoreceptor (cell segments of the
outer retina) are constantly shred in the normal visual cycle
and deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids may initiate AMD.
The researchers have also highlighted the protective effect
of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids against oxygenic, inflammatory
and age-associated pathology of the vascular and neural retina,
all of which are thought to affect the onset of AMD. All the
more reason, we believe, to ensure that your diet is rich
in the important bioavailable fatty acids.