Originally published November 24 2008
Reduce Risk of Macular Degeneration with Omega-Three
by Lynn Berry
(NaturalNews) The benefits of Omega-3 for reducing the risk of macular degeneration were revealed in a recent study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology . Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision impairment for people over 55 worldwide, affecting around one in seven people.
The central part of the retina in the back of the eye is known as the macula. The retina is where we process all visual images allowing us to read, and to see people and colors. Macular degeneration (MD) affects central vision and this gradually deteriorates causing functional blindness. Peripheral vision is initially not greatly affected; however MD gradually widens over time to reduce peripheral vision.
Many believe that free radicals are the cause of MD and that antioxidants can reduce the progress of early MD. A study of 8,000 people in the Netherlands found that those who developed MD were more likely to be smokers and have high cholesterol. (1)
However, in the most recent study, a clear link was established with the consumption of Omega-3 and the reduction in age-related MD. The study was a meta-analysis of nine studies which covered 90,000 people, and 3000 of those had age-related MD. (2)
Dr Chong (University of Melbourne) and her team found that eating one portion of fish that is rich in Omega-3 may reduce the risk of contracting MD by over 50%. Even more convincing is that by increasing consumption of Omega-3 by 300 mg per day of the Omega-3 fatty acids known as DHA and EPA, the risk of MD is reduced by about 70%. (2)
The signs and symptoms of age-related MD include difficulty reading or difficulty with anything that requires fine vision such as sewing; difficulty distinguishing faces; distortion of images; and dark or blank patches appearing in the center of what you are seeing.
People who are most at risk of age-related MD are people over the age of 50; those who smoke or who have a history of MD. People who smoke increase the risk by a factor of three, and smokers develop MD 10 years before non-smokers. (3)
Other preventative recommendations include a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise; a healthy diet with greens, fruits and vegetables, antioxidants, zinc, Vitamins C and E. Lutein is one of the antioxidants found in higher amounts in people with a healthy macular. Lutein may be found in flaxseed oil, and dark green leafy vegetables. Flaxseed oil is high in Omega-3.
(1) /www.abc.net.au/health/minutes/stories/2007/0... reporting on a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Van Leuwen R et al. "Dietary intake of antioxidants and risk of age-related macular degeneration." http://jama.ama-assn.org/
(2) Chong E, et al "Dietary w-3 fatty acid and fish intake in the primary prevention of age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review and meta-analysis" Archives Ophthalmology 2008; 126: 826-833.
(3) Macular Degeneration Foundation www.mdfoundation.com.au
About the authorLynn Berry is passionate about personal development, natural health care, justice and spirituality. She has a website at www.lynn-berry.com.
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