Many people wonder, “what are the best foods for macular degeneration?” Proper nutrition is critical to eye health, and it’s important to know not only what to eat, but also how much.
Age-related macular degeneration refers to the disease caused by the degeneration of the central macula of the retina with age. It is the most important cause of blindness
Since the macula is the most concentrated area of photoreceptor cells, once damaged, it will easily cause blurred vision, distortion and deformation of objects, causing inconvenience in life
There are many reasons for macular degeneration, such as obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, and exposure to harmful light. These factors can trigger oxidative stress and cause tissue damage. Note 14
Classification of macular degeneration
Depending on whether the choroid of the eye produces new blood vessels, it can be divided into dry and wet macular diseases. The most serious one is wet (new blood vessels will bleed and leak water and cause photoreceptor cell damage). Although only 15% of the total cases, it It is associated with 80% of blindness cases. Note 15
In recent years, the eyes have been irritated by blue light due to the long time of using mobile phones and staring at the computer. Related cases are getting younger, and there are also cases of 20-year-old teenagers in clinical practice.
What are the health foods beneficial to age-related macular degeneration?
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two fat-soluble antioxidants belonging to the carotenoid family, commonly found in dark green vegetables (brassica oleracea, spinach, broccoli, peas and lettuce) and egg yolks
These two pigments are one of the most important substances in the macula of the retina, which can form the macular pigment, maintain visual acuity and avoid harmful light damage
It is estimated that 1–3 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin will be consumed in the daily diet, but 6 to 20 mg is needed to help reduce the risk of ocular degenerative diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration
Decreased macular pigment density will greatly increase the risk of Age Related Macular Degeneration (Age Related Macular Degeneration). Note 4
A meta-analysis (including 12 studies) pointed out that lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin all contribute to the increase of macular pigment density (whether for healthy people or patients with macular degeneration) So, and there is a dose response relationship). Note 1
Another integrated analysis also found (Meta-analysis, including 8 studies, 1176 participants) that lutein can help improve the visual function of patients with macular disease (including visual acuity and visual contrast sensitivity), and is related to macular pigment density The promotion presents a positive relationship. Note 2
The underlying mechanism is related to the antioxidant properties of lutein, scavenging free radicals, anti-lipid peroxidation, absorbing harmful blue light and maintaining the function of the retina and choroid. Note 3
Zinc is a trace element second only to iron in the human body. It has three major biological functions, including enzyme catalyst, structure formation and ion regulation
Zinc plays an important role in physiological balance and metabolism. If it is lacking, it will seriously interfere with immune function, oxidative stress, apoptosis, aging and other body mechanisms, and increase the incidence of chronic diseases. Note 5
In addition, zinc also has extremely high concentrations in eye tissues, especially the retina and choroid. In photoreceptor cells, both rhodopsin regeneration and light transmission require its participation. Note 6
A systematic review (including 10 studies) pointed out that so far, although the preventive effect of zinc is still inconsistent. Note 7
However, according to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), it is found that zinc intake may help reduce the occurrence of advanced macular degeneration and is of great significance for preventing vision loss in patients. Note 8
The use of zinc in combination with other antioxidants (such as vitamin E and vitamin C) can significantly improve the vision of patients with age-related macular degeneration
Fish oil (Omega-3 fatty acids)
Omega-3 is an indispensable fatty acid for human body to maintain health. The main types include EPA and DHA. Since they cannot be synthesized by themselves, they must be supplemented by food. Common high-content foods include tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel and algae
Omega-3 has a very high concentration in the retina (about half of all lipids), especially DHA has the effect of maintaining the fluidity of the photosensitive receptor membrane, the integrity of the retina and the visual function. Note 12
In addition, DHA also has the effects of increasing mitochondrial activity in the retina, anti-oxidation, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptosis and anti-angiogenesis. Note 13
A large-scale Australian Cohort Study (observation period of 5 years, 3654 participants) pointed out that intake of more Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from natural diets (especially from fish) can significantly reduce the early and late stages of macular degeneration. Incidence rate. Note 9
Another double-blind controlled study found (3 years for 263 patients with macular degeneration) that supplementing with DHA-rich Omega-3 supplements can help reduce choroidal neovascularization events (one of the clinical symptoms of macular degeneration). Note 10
However, a recent Cochrane system analysis believes that increasing the intake of Omega-3 in the diet will not help prevent or slow down the disease process of macular degeneration. Note 11
In summary, Omega-3 intake is definitely positive for eye health, but it still needs more evidence to confirm the prevention of eye diseases.