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Key Nutrients Lower Risk of Macular Degeneration

Last Updated: May 08, 2009.

The intake of certain key nutrients can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and that risk can be correlated with a nutrient compound score devised by researchers and reported in the May issue of Ophthalmology.

FRIDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- The intake of certain key nutrients can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and that risk can be correlated with a nutrient compound score devised by researchers and reported in the May issue of Ophthalmology.

Chung-Jung Chiu, D.D.S., of Tufts University in Boston, and colleagues evaluated the intake of certain nutrients among the 4003 participants (7,934 eyes) in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study, then devised and calculated a nutrient compound score, and evaluated its association with the occurrence of AMD in the subjects' eyes. The nutrients evaluated for inclusion in the score were zinc, vitamins C and E, lutein/zeaxanthin, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid. Low-dietary glycemic index (dGI) and beta-carotene in the diet were also considered in the analysis.

Researchers found that a higher nutrient compound score and low dGI correlated with lower risk for early AMD (as indicated by the presence of drusen) and advanced AMD. However, beta-carotene in the diet was not significantly associated with either drusen or advanced AMD, and the researchers recommended against including the nutrient in the compound score.

"We found that consuming diets that provide low dGI and higher intakes of these nutrients were associated with the greatest reduction in risk for prevalent drusen and advanced AMD, whereas dietary beta-carotene did not affect these relationships. These findings warrant further prospective studies," the authors conclude.

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