High Homocysteine Low Folate And B12 Predict Macular Degeneration

High homocysteine, low folate and B12 predict macular degeneration

High homocysteine, low folate and B12 predict macular degeneration

Tuesday, May 14, 2013. An article published ahead of print on May 1, 2013 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports the finding of Australian researchers of a protective effect for higher serum levels of vitamin B12 and folate against the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in men and women aged 55 and older. The study also revealed a greater risk of AMD in association with higher serum levels of homocysteine, which is a risk factor for heart disease and peripheral vascular disease.

Paul Mitchell of the University of Sydney and his colleagues analyzed data from 1,390 participants in the Blue Mountains Eye Study of common eye diseases in residents aged 49 and older of a suburban Australian area. Eye examinations were conducted upon enrollment and at five, ten and fifteen years. Serum homocysteine, folate and vitamin B12 levels were measured and food frequency questionnaires were completed at the five year follow-up visit.

From the five-year through the fifteen year follow-up visit, 219 subjects were diagnosed with AMD. The risk of the disease increased in association with rising homocysteine levels. In comparison with those with lower homocysteine levels, participants whose levels were greater than 15 micromoles per liter had a 53 percent greater risk of AMD.

Among those with deficient folate levels, the risk of AMD was 89% higher in comparison with the risk experienced by subjects with greater levels. Vitamin B12 deficiency also increased risk. Participants whose vitamin B12 levels were less than 185 picomoles per liter had a 58 percent greater risk of early AMD and more than double the risk of late AMD than those whose levels were higher.

Increasing intake of vitamin B12 from diet and supplements was associated with a declining risk of AMD, and high dietary folate was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of late stage disease. In a separate analysis of vitamin B12 from supplements only, the risk of early, late and any AMD was reduced, with those who reported using the supplements having a 63% lower risk of late disease in comparison with nonusers.

"Elevated serum total homocysteine and folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies predicted increased risk of incident AMD, which suggests a potential role for vitamin B12 and folate in reducing AMD risk," the authors write. "If our findings are confirmed, efforts at the prevention of elevated serum total homocysteine either by treatment with folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements or a simple strategy of eating a healthful diet by incorporating a range of foods that contain folate such as leafy green vegetables and fortified foods could potentially contribute to reducing the burden of blindness from age-related macular degeneration."

What's Hot Highlight

Carnosic acid protects the eyes

What's Hot

The November, 2012 issue of the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science reported that carnosic acid, a compound occurring in the herb rosemary, helped protect the eyes' retina from degeneration and hydrogen peroxide-induced toxicity.

Acting on previous findings of a protective effect for carnosic acid against free-radical damage in the brain, Stuart A. Lipton, MD, PhD, who is the director of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute's Del E. Webb Neuroscience, Aging, and Stem Cell Research Center, and his colleagues tested the effect of carnosic acid on retina-derived cell lines treated with hydrogen peroxide, which promotes oxidative stress, a factor believed to be involved in the progression of age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. The team found that carnosic acid induced the production of antioxidant enzymes and lowered free radicals and peroxides.

In a study involving dark-adapted rats, those that received carnosic acid prior to white light exposure experienced less retinal damage. Increases in outer retinal nuclear layer thickness measured in carnosic acid-treated animals indicated improved retinal photoreceptor protection. Treated rats also exhibited improved electroretinogram activity, a measure of photoreceptor function. "These findings suggest that carnosic acid may potentially have clinical application to diseases affecting the outer retina, including age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, in which oxidative stress is thought to contribute to disease progression," the authors conclude.

Dr Lipton revealed that "We're now developing improved derivatives of carnosic acid and related compounds to protect the retina and other brain areas from a number of degenerative conditions, including age-related macular degeneration and various forms of dementia."

Life Extension Magazine® May, 2013 Issue Now Online!

Life Extension Magazine May, 2013 

Latest Supplements 

Tocotrienols with Sesame Lignans,
60 softgels

Item #00781

add to cart

The term "vitamin E" refers to a family of eight related, lipid-soluble, antioxidant compounds widely present in plants. The tocopherol and tocotrienol subfamilies are each composed of alpha, beta, gamma, and delta fractions having unique biological effects. Different ratios of these compounds are found in different parts of a plant. For example, the green parts of a plant contain mostly alpha tocopherol and the seed germ and bran contain mostly tocotrienols. Along with other nutrients, tocopherols and tocotrienols are concentrated in the bran layers of the rye grain, and are only present at low levels in the flour endosperm. Tocopherols are also present in algae, mint teas, and other foods.

Tocotrienols have shown superior action in maintaining arterial health. This wonder nutrient is so effective because of its structure of double bonds in the isoprenoid side chain, making it a great scavenger of free radicals.


Kyolic® Garlic Formula 102

Super Selenium Complex, 200 mcg, 100 vegetarian capsules
Item #01778

add to cart

Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to optimal health. Few people—including physicians—realize that selenium is available in several different forms. Each form of selenium acts along a different pathway to support healthy cell division. For optimized selenium support, one should supplement with all three of the following forms of selenium:

  • Sodium selenite
  • L-selenomethionine
  • Selenium-methyl L-selenocysteine

Super Selenium Complex contains a selenium blend that combines all three of these unique forms of selenium. A small amount of vitamin E is included because it has been shown to work synergistically with selenium.



Life Extension Update What's Hot
Long-term nutritional supplementation reduces progression of age-related macular degeneration Grapes may protect against macular degeneration
Greater omega-3 fatty acid intake associated with protection against advanced age-related macular degeneration B vitamins decrease macular degeneration risk
Elevated homocysteine linked with macular degeneration risk AMA journal says vitamin E preventive benefit in macular degeneration outweighs possible risks
Life Extension Magazine® Health Topics
Halt the leading cause of age-related blindness Homocysteine reduction
Homocysteine as a risk factor for disease Age-related macular degeneration
The missing link in combating macular degeneration Eye health