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Headlines your health: supplements provide no extra AMD risk reduction.

Adding lutein and zeaxanthin to a formulation of antioxidant vitamins provides no added protection against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a large study suggests.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that a combination of vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc reduced the risk of progression to advanced AMD, a leading cause of blindness. In the follow-up to that study, AREDS 2, researchers examined whether adding lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids to the original AREDS formulation would further reduce AMD risk. Lutein and zeaxanthin, like beta carotene, are carotenoids, nutrients that are important for eye health.

AREDS 2 included 4,203 people, ages 50-85, at risk for progression to advanced AMD. The participants were randomized to receive lutein and zeaxanthin (with or without omega-3 fatty acids), omega-3s alone, or a placebo. They also took the original AREDS formulation or a variation of it.

During the five-year average follow-up period, 1,608 participants progressed to advanced AMD. Reporting online May Sin the Journal of the American Medical Association, the researchers found that none of the supplements significantly reduced AMD progression compared to placebo.

The AREDS 2 findings may not apply to dietary intake of the study nutrients. Good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include kale, spinach, and corn. Omega-3s are found in fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna. AREDS vitamin formulations are available, but use them only under your physician's direction.

Schedule eye exams every five years starting at age 40, increasing in frequency until you have an exam every year or two by age 65.

To reduce your risk of AMD, work with your physician to optimize your cardiovascular health--studies suggest a link between cardiovascular disease and wet AMD. Reduce your sun exposure, and wear UV-protective sunglasses. And, if you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit. Smoking is a leading risk factor for AMD.

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Title Annotation:IN THE NEWS
Publication:Men's Health Advisor
Date:Jul 1, 2013
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