**Do not start vitamin/mineral therapy without first consulting your physician as some supplements may be contraindicated in some patients**
AREDS:Age-Related Eye Disease Study was a clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute (NEI) designed to:
• Investigate the natural history and risk factors of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts, and
• Evaluate the effects of high doses of antioxidants and zinc on the progression of the two conditions in those with AMD.
The study of 3600 individuals for an average of 6.3 years concluded that high levels of antioxidants and zinc can reduce some people’s risk of developing advanced AMD by about 25 percent. Those that benefited form the dietary supplements included those with intermediate-stage AMD and those with advanced AMD in one eye only. The supplements had no significant effect on the development or progression of cataracts. “High levels” in this case were defined to be:
• 500 milligrams of Vitamin C;
• 400 international unit of Vitamin E;
• 15 milligrams of beta-carotene (or 25,000 international units of Vitamin A):
• 80 milligrams of the dietary mineral zinc, in the form of zinc oxide; and
• 2 milligrams of copper as cupric oxide, added to prevent copper deficiency anemia, a condition associated with high levels of zinc intake.
The results were reported in the October 2001 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.
Fish Oil: Omega 3 fatty acids, considered essential fatty acids: They are necessary for human health but the body cant make them – you have to get them through food.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants and nut oils. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. They have also become popular because they may reduce the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon) at least 2 times a week.
A questionnaire given to more than 3,000 people over the age of 49 found that those who ate more fish were less likely to have macular degeneration (a serious age-related eye condition that can progress to blindness) than those who ate less fish. Similarly, a clinical study comparing 350 people with macular degeneration to 500 without the eye disease found that those with a healthy dietary balance of Omega-3 fatty acids and more fish in their diets were less likely to have macular degeneration.
Lutein &Zeaxanthin: Some studies indicate that Lutein supplements can lead to a lower risk for macular degeneration. Lutein supplements are available in soft-gel capsule form. They should be taken at mealtime because lutein is absorbed better when ingested with a small amount of fat such as olive oil. The recommended dosage is 6 mg to 30 mg daily. Zeaxanthin is the dominant carotenoid in the central macula.
Kale, spinach, turnip greens, collards and broccoli are naturally high in Lutein and Zeaxanthin. For a chart of foods containing high doses of Lutein and Zeaxanthin Click Here
Tobacco: Studies have shown that smokers and ex-smokers are more likely to develop macular degeneration. The optic nerve is also susceptible to damage from smoking. If you smoke, you should not take the high doses of Vitamin A found in the AREDS formula vitamins as this could increase your risk of developing lung cancer.