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Preventing blindness - Is there anything fish oil can't do?

June 22, 2009

[caption id="attachment_541" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Anchovies, a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids"]Anchovies, a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids[/caption]

Researchers from Tufts University just published a study whose results suggest that omega-3 fatty acids can play a role in slowing the deterioration of eyesight due to age-related macular degeneration [AMD]. They link these findings to prior work at their lab suggesting a low glycemic index diet (ie, one which produces smaller/slower changes in blood glucose and insulin) is helpful in preventing the progression of AMD.

Participants who consumed higher amounts of DHA and EPA appeared to have lower risk of progression to both wet and dry forms of advanced AMD. ... "Data from the present study also shows the supplements and omega-3 fatty acids collaborate with low-dietary glycemic index (dGI) diets against progression to advanced AMD," says corresponding author Chung-Jung Chiu, ... "Our previous research suggests a low-GI diet may prevent AMD from progressing to the advanced stage. We hypothesize that the rapid rise of blood glucose initiated by high-GI foods results in cellular damage that retinal cells cannot handle, thus damaging eye tissues."

A low glycemic index diet combined with abundant quantities of omega-3 fatty acids--this sounds suspiciously close to the paleo diet.

1 Response

Michael Edson, MS, L.Ac.
Michael Edson, MS, L.Ac.

June 23, 2009

In another study, Archives of Ophthalmology recently published a meta analysis on omega-3 fatty acid and fish intake and its effect on the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
This study identified 274 abstracts, 3 prospective cohort, 3 case-control, and 3 cross-sectional studies.

Using quantitative methods, a high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a 38% reduction in the risk of late AMD. Fish intake (2x per week) was associated with reduced risk of early and late AMD.

More omega-3 and AMD specific studies need to be conducted to further investigate omega-3¹s effect on AMD.

Ref: Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(6):826-833.

For more information and specific research studies by eye condition on nutrition and vision, go to Natural Eye Care

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