Late Age Related Macular Degeneration Risk Lower Among Men And Women With High Omega 3 Levels

Late age-related macular degeneration risk lower among men and women with high omega-3

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."

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Experiments show Alzheimer plaques reduced by vitamin D and DHA

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The February 5, 2013 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease published the finding of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles that active forms of vitamin D3 and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) improve the ability of immune cells known as macrophages to clear amyloid-beta, a toxic protein that occurs in elevated amounts in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients. Milan Fiala and his colleagues "suggest that low vitamin D3 and docosahexaenoic acid intake and/or poor anabolic production of 1,25D3/resolvin D1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells could contribute to Alzheimer's disease onset/pathology."

The team isolated macrophages from the blood of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and healthy control subjects and incubated them with amyloid-beta prior to administering 1alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25D3) or resolvin D1, an active form of DHA. While both nutrients increased the macrophages' ability to remove amyloid-beta and decrease amyloid-beta-induced cell death, they did so by utilizing different receptors.

The authors observe that macrophages from Alzheimer's disease patients express inflammatory genes in different ways than the controls and that transcription of specific inflammatory genes is increased or decreased in these patients. "Further study may help us identify if these two distinct transcription patterns of inflammatory genes could possibly distinguish either two stages or two types of Alzheimer's disease," remarked coauthor Mathew Mizwicki.

"Our new study sheds further light on a possible role for nutritional substances such as vitamin D3 and omega-3 in boosting immunity to help fight Alzheimer's," Dr Fiala stated. "We may find that we need to carefully balance the supplementation with vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids, depending on each patient in order to help promote efficient clearing of amyloid-beta. This is a first step in understanding what form and in which patients these nutrition substances might work best."

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