Life Extension Update
Late age-related macular degeneration risk lower among men and women with high omega-3
Tuesday, February 19, 2013. An article published online on February 13, 2013 in The Journal of Nutrition reports an association between high omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) levels and a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in older men and women.
The investigation included 963 participants in The Antioxydants Lipides Essentiels Nutrition et Maladies Occulaires (Alienor) Study of residents of Bordeaux, France aged 73 and older. Blood samples collected between 1999 and 2001 were analyzed for plasma alpha-linolenic acid and the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The subjects underwent eye examinations during 2006-2008 and were followed for an average of 31 months, during which 72.4 percent of the participants were re-examined.
Macular degeneration was more prevalent in older versus younger participants although its incidence in men and women was similar. Having a higher level of total omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a decreased adjusted risk of late AMD in comparison with lower levels. When the effects of individual omega-3 fatty acids were separately analyzed, higher levels of alpha-linolenic acid and DHA were found to be significantly protective.
"Biomarkers of omega-3 PUFA, including plasma and erythrocyte omega-3 PUFA, have been evaluated in numerous studies, showing good correlation with dietary intake and sensitivity to change in supplementation studies," Bénédicte M. J. Merle and colleagues write. "Such biomarkers have been widely used in studies on the associations of omega-3 PUFA with a variety of health outcomes (cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes, neuropsychiatric disorders, cancers). However, to our knowledge, no published epidemiological study of AMD included measurements of biomarkers of omega-3 PUFA status."
"This study gives further support to the potential role of omega-3 PUFAs in the prevention of late AMD and highlights the necessity of randomized clinical trials to determine more accurately the value of omega-3 PUFAs as a means of reducing AMD incidence."