Omega-3 Fatty Acids And Macular Degeneration

Everybody knows that eating fish will help to improve sight. However, a recent study clarifies this age-old belief. It says that consuming foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish and flax, is related to reduction in the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

So, you probably will not have to fumble in the dark when you grow old if you are eating the right amount of omega-3 fatty acids. This meta-analysis was published in Archives of Ophthalmology in the June 2008 issue.

Most elderly people lose vision because of AMD. In addition, most of the treatments for AMD involve certain risks.

The study

Researcher Elaine W-T Chong, M.B.B.S. at the University of Melbourne, Australia, conducted a study. She did analysis of nine different studies. This included a total of 88,974 participants, out of which 3,203 suffered from age-related macular degeneration.

The results

The study indicated that the patients who consumed more amounts of omega-3 fatty acids were at a 38% lower risk of AMD. They also found that eating fish twice a week reduced their risk of developing both early and late AMD.

The mechanism of Omega-3 fatty acids

The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, especially docosahexaenoic acid, are an essential part of the neural retina. The root cause of AMD can be insufficient amounts omega-3 fatty acids. The deficiency is usually the result of shedding and regeneration of the outer nerve cells of the retina.

Therefore, when you consume foods like fish, which are rich in the long chain omega-3 fatty acids, they serve as proxy or replenish the lost nutrient from the eye. This enables healthy vision and prevents the development of macular degeneration.

However, the study is still in the research stages. There is still a need of more proof and more trials that substantiate the exact amounts and requirement on a routine basis in order to prevent the development of AMD.

Sources of Omega-3 fatty acids

These useful nutrients can be founds in plant as well as in some seafood.

Plant sources include flax, walnuts and canola oil. On the other hand, marine sources include salmon, sardines and tuna.

This entry was posted in Diet