Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked to Lower Macular Degeneration Risk

 

According to MedPage, a new meta-analysis shows that consuming high levels of omega-3 fatty acids (by eating fish twice a week) was associated with a 38% lowered risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – a  disease that causes severe vision loss in the elderly.

My Take?

This is not a surprising finding, as research in 2007 showed that increased ingestion of fish and vitamin D was linked to a lower risk of AMD. 

In addition, the Blue Mountains Eye Study found that participants who ate the most omega-3 fatty acids had a 59% reduced risk of early disease compared with those who ingested the least. 

And, in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professional Follow-up Study, three omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid [ALA], eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA], and DHA) were found to reduce the risk of early age-related MDA. 

This makes sense because long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), form an integral part of the nervous system of the retina.

The researchers appropriate state that the results of their meta-analysis should be interpreted with caution, at least until randomized trials can be conducted.

However, since eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids improves heart and lipid health, I recommend it highly. 

And, we have no idea if fish oil or omega-3 supplements would have the same effect.

So, my advice still stands – if you have a choice of taking vitamins and supplements in the form of food instead of pills or potions, that’s the way to go.

You can read more about fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids in my book Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook.

 

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2 Responses to Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked to Lower Macular Degeneration Risk

  1. Lauren Wright says:

    I am just concerned about the main source of Omega 3 which is the liver of fish. as you can see, fishes can accumulate mercury and PCBs.

  2. Dr. Walt says:

    Lauren, this may provide some reassurance.

    The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database says, “Fish oil supplements generally appear to be safe. Mercury accumulates in fish meat much more so than fish oils, which might explain the lack of detectable mercury in most fish oil supplements. Also, the manufacturing process used to deodorize fish oil supplements seems to lower levels of PCBs and other contaminants. Laboratory analysis of fish oil supplements found no detectable levels of mercury or other toxins such as organochlorines in over 20 products tested. However, contaminants including organochlorines and PCBs have been reported in certain brands.”

    I’d also suggest you read my blog, “If You Are Going to take Fish Oil — here’s how to take the right amount.” You can read it here.

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