Studies have confirmed the benefits of supplements from AMD to reduce vision loss

After 10 years, the AREDS2 formula benefits from the elimination of beta-carotene and increases its effectiveness compared to the original formula.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that blurs your central vision. This is common in the United States, especially among older, white Americans, and is a major cause of vision loss in the United States. In addition to regular physical exercise, smoking cessation, and maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol levels, supplements pose a risk to AMD or slow its progression.

Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS and AREDS2) have found that dietary supplements can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness in older Americans. In the new report, the researchers analyzed 10 years of AREDS2 data. They show that the AREDS2 formula, which replaces lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants instead of beta-carotene, does not reduce the risk of lung cancer due to beta-carotene, but is more effective in reducing the risk of developing AMD than the original formula. . A report on the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology June 2, 2022.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) An eye disease that blurs your central vision. This occurs when the aging macula – the part of the eye that controls the sharp, straight vision – is damaged. The macula is a part of the retina (the light-sensitive tissue behind the eye). AMD is a common condition – it is a major cause of vision loss for the elderly.

“Because beta-carotene increases the risk of lung cancer for current smokers in two studies supported by NIH, our goal with AREDS2 was to create an equally effective complement formula that anyone could use, whether they smoked or not,” said Emily Chu. , MD, Director of Epidemiology and Clinical Application at the National Eye Institute (NEI) and co-author of the research report. “These 10 years of data confirm that the new formula is not only safer, but also better at slowing down AMD’s progress.”

AMD is a degenerative disease of the retina of light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye. The progressive death of the retinal cells in the macula, the part of the retina that provides precise central vision, eventually leads to blindness. Treatment can slow or reverse vision loss; however, there is no cure for AMD.

The original AREDS study, which began in 1996, showed that the formula of dietary supplements (500 mg of vitamin C, 400 international units of vitamin E, 2 mg of copper, 80 mg of zinc and 15 mg of beta-carotene) significantly slowed the progression of AMD. moderate and late disease. However, two series of studies have also shown that people who smoke and take beta-carotene have a significantly higher risk of lung cancer than expected.

Emily Chew takes the eye exam

Dr. of the National Eye Institute. Emily Chew examines her eyes. Credit: NEI

At AREDS2, which began in 2006, Chu and colleagues compared the beta-carotene formula with 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin. Like beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that have retinal activity. Beta-carotene-containing formulations were given only to participants who had never smoked or quit smoking.

AMD is slow in some people and fast in others. If you have an early AMD, you may not notice any vision loss for a long time. That’s why it’s so important to get regular eye exams to determine if you have AMD.

By the end of the five-year AREDS2 study period, the researchers concluded that lutein and zeaxanthin did not increase the risk of lung cancer, and that the new formation could reduce the risk of AMD progression by approximately 26%. At the end of the five-year study period, study participants were offered the latest AREDS2 formulation containing lutein and zeaxanthin instead of beta-carotene.

In this new report, researchers tracked 3,883 of the 4,203 original participants in AREDS2 five years after completing the AREDS2 study in 2011 and collected information on whether they had a late onset of AMD and were diagnosed. lung cancer. Although all participants switched to a formula containing lutein and zeaxanthin at the end of the study period, a subsequent study found that beta-carotene almost doubled the risk of lung cancer in smokers. People who took lutein / zeaxanthin were not at risk for lung cancer. In addition, after 10 years, the group assigned to lutein / zeaxanthin had an additional 20% lower risk of switching to late AMD than those initially assigned to receive beta-carotene.

“These results confirm that it was the right decision to change our formula from beta-carotene to lutein and zeaxanthin,” Chu said.

Reference: “Long-term results of addition of lutein / zeaxanthin and ω-3 fatty acids to AREDS supplements: AREDS2 report №28” Emily Yu. By Chu, MD; Traci E. Clemons, PhD; Elvira Agron, MA; Amita Domalpali, MD, PhD; Tiarnan D.L.Kinan, BM, BCh, PhD; Susan Vitale, PhD; Claire Weber, Master; Douglas S. Smith, BS and William Kristen, ScD; For the AREDS2 research team, June 2, 2022, JAMA Ophthalmology.
DOI: 10.1001 / jamaophthalmol.2022.1640

The study was funded through the NEI Intramural Program (EY000546) and contracts (AREDS2 contract HHS-N-260-2005-00007-C; ADB contract NO1-EY-5-0007; AREDS Contract NOI-EY-0-2127, and contract HHS- N-263-2013-00005-C). AREDS2 contracts were supported by the NIH Dietary Supplements Bureau, the National Center for Supplemental and Integrative Health, the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood, and the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke. . The study was conducted at the NIH Clinical Center.

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