Can diet affect the risk for age-related macular degeneration or AMD? A substantial amount of research has been done on nutritional and dietary factors that may influence the development and progression of AMD. Let’s talk about what these studies suggest in terms of medical nutrition therapy for your patients.
Age-related macular degeneration damages the part of the retina responsible for central vision…the macula. At this time, there is no cure. So there is a need to identify risk factors that can be modified and therefore affect its development and progression to advanced stages.
According to a Medscape perspective and commentary on age-related macular degeneration the retina appears susceptible to oxidative stress resulting in damage that plays a role in pathogenesis. From a nutrition and diet viewpoint, certain compounds in foods and foods themselves may help counteract this oxidative damage protecting against both development and progression.
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study known as AREDS found that a precise supplement combination of antioxidants and minerals which included vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper reduced by 25% over 5 years the risk of patients who had intermediate AMD from developing the advanced form.
AREDS 2, the follow-up study, went on to suggest that lutein and zeaxanthin can replace beta-carotene, which has been linked to increased risk for lung cancer, particularly among former smokers. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two yellow-orange-red pigments known as carotenoids which act as antioxidants and are found widely in vegetables. I find this fascinating…are also found in high concentrations in the macula, giving its yellowish color and helping to protect it. These carotenoids may help protect patients’ eyes from the damaging oxidative stress effects of blue light, which may be one contributing factor in the development of AMD.
Listen now for three nutrition tips to tell you patients.
Share these recipes with them as well. Easy ways to boost the foods containing carotenoids.