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Macular Degeneration and Nutrition: AREDS vs. AREDS2

In 2001, the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, completed the Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), which showed that ingesting high levels of specific nutritional supplements decreased the risk of macular degeneration (AMD) progression. This included 25,000 IU of beta-carotene, 500 mg of Vitamin C, 400 IU of Vitamin E, 80 mg of Zinc and 2 mg of Cupric Oxide.

While AREDS was the first study demonstrating benefit against this retinal eye disease, if failed to demonstrate improvement in vision. More recent studies, including the Lutein Antioxidant Supplement Trial, have demonstrated vision improvement, something AREDS could not. And much exciting work involving both Lutein and Zeaxanthin, molecules known as carotenoids, have shown not only vision improvement but also a healthier macular appearance.

Finally, there appears to be an inflammatory component to Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Hence, Omega-3 fatty acids, which are derived from deep sea fish, may be helpful in further counteracting this eye disease and preventing blindness.

Hence, the National Eye Institute, in late 2006 announced the recruitment of patients into a multi-year randomized Age Related Eye Disease 2 Study.

The Age Related Eye Disease Study 2 site states:

"The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) is a multi-center, randomized trial designed to assess the effects of oral supplementation of macular xanthophylls (lutein and zeaxanthin) and/or long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid) [DHA] and eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] ) on the progression to advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  An additional goal of the study is to assess whether forms of the AREDS nutritional supplement with reduced zinc and/or no beta-carotene works as well as the original supplement in reducing the risk of progression to advanced AMD."

Find an AREDS2 Clinical Center.



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