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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe visual loss in individuals over 50 years of age.  Previous studies suggest that high intakes of oily fish and antioxidant nutrients have been associated with a protective effect against AMD.

The Rotterdam Study is a prospective cohort study ongoing since 1990 in the city of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. The study targets cardiovascular, endocrine, hepatic, neurological, ophthalmic, psychiatric, dermatological, oncological, and respiratory diseases.  Recent study published in Archives of Ophthalmology investigated whether dietary nutrients can reduce the genetic risk of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) conferred by the genetic variants CFH Y402H and LOC387715 A69S in a nested case-control study.

Researchers assessed dietary intake of 2167 individuals (>=55 years) from the population-based Rotterdam Study at risk of AMD, using a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire and genetic variants were determined. Incident early AMD was determined at 3 follow-up visits (median follow-up, 8.6 years). The synergy index was used to evaluate biological interaction between risk factors; hazard ratios were calculated to estimate risk of early AMD in strata of nutrient intake and genotypes.

Five hundred seventeen participants developed early AMD. Significant synergy indices supported the possibility of biological interaction between CFH Y402H and zinc, β-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin, and eicosapentaenoic/docosahexaenoic acid (EPA/DHA) and between LOC387715 A69S and zinc and EPA/DHA. Dietary intakes of zinc in the highest tertile, as well as high dietary intakes of β-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin, and EPA/DHA, were associated with reduced risk of early AMD for the CFH Y402H genetic variant.  The highest intake of zinc and EPA/DHA reduced the risk for early AMD in people with LOC387715 A69S genetic variant.

High dietary intake of nutrients with antioxidant properties reduces the risk of early AMD in those at high genetic risk.  The study authors further suggested that clinicians should provide dietary advice to young susceptible individuals to postpone or prevent the vision-disabling consequences of AMD.

Source:
Ho L. et al; Arch Ophthalmol 2011 Jun; 129(6):758-66

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