12/21/2009 - News

A high antioxidant diet can protect the eyes

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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A high antioxidant diet can protect the eyes

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

A diet high in beta carotene, vitamins C and E and zinc is linked with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration.
There is no effective treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness among older people. It involves a deterioration of the macula, the central part of the retina. AMD leads to loss of central vision and, with it, the ability to do fine work, recognize faces or drive. However, studies have shown that antioxidant supplements may reduce the progression of AMD.

In a new study, researchers at the Erasmus Medical Center have looked at whether antioxidants present in the diet can prevent the occurrence of AMD in the first place. The data come from the Rotterdam Study which began between 1990 and 1993 and involved individuals aged 55 or more of whom 5,836 were thought to be at risk of AMD - the majority of whom participated in follow up to 2004 and for whom there was reliable dietary data.

During follow up, 13.4 per cent of the group developed AMD. The higher the intake of vitamin E, iron and zinc, the lower the risk of AMD. And an above average intake of beta-carotene, vitamins C and E and zinc was linked to a 35 per cent reduced risk of AMD compared to a below average intake. A higher intake of vitamin E comes from whole grains, vegetable oil, eggs and nuts. Zinc comes from meal, poultry, fish, whole grains and dairy. Meanwhile, eat carrots, kale, and spinach for beta carotene and get vitamin C from citrus fruits and juices.

Source
Journal of the American Medical Association 28th December 2005

Created on: 01/03/2006
Reviewed on: 12/21/2009

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