Large-scale study shows omega-3 fatty acids may lessen AMD severity
At Spectrum Eyecare in Peachtree City, Dr. John Henahan has long been an advocate for use of high quality fish oil in treating dry eye. Now a new study from National Institutes of Health researchers found that those reporting the highest intake of omega-3 fatty acids (from fish oil) had the lowest reported rating of Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD) severity.
J.R. Chang, MD, and colleagues reported that “dietary DHA/EPA (the key components of fish oil) was inversely related to AMD score in energy-adjusted comparisons of participants reporting highest vs. lowest quintile intake.” In other words, those with the highest level of fish oil intake had the lowest risk of AMD.
There were 4,203 patients in the study; they had a baseline mean age of 73 years; and 57% of the patients were women. All patients had good visual function at baseline, but the majority had risk factors for progression to advanced AMD, according to the poster.
“This is the strongest evidence yet that we can help reduce the severity or possibly even prevent macular degeneration in at risk patients with a strong nutritional program that includes fish oil, lutein and other vitamins”, according to Dr. Henahan.
“Historically, I have been recommending smoking cessation, polarized sunglasses, a multi-vitamin and 20mg of natural lutein per day. But now I will be adding fish oil to my recommendations. The great thing about fish oil is that it appears to have so many collateral benefits, such as reducing symptoms of dry eye, improving cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of cardiovascular events. However, those taking blood thinners (such as coumadin) should consult their physician before beginning fish oil”, continued Dr. Henahan.
When looking at fish oil supplements, it is important to shop very, very carefully. Lower quality fish oils have increased contaminants such as lead or mercury and lower levels of the key omega-3′s called EPA and DHA. Look for at least 40% of these components in each capsule.
At Spectrum Eyecare, Dr. Henahan takes the time to truly understand how he can work with patients to prevent the most serious eye diseases, especially through the use of nutritional supplements and other non-drug interventions. Of course, he uses prescription medications when indicated, so you can be sure that you will get the best of both traditional and natural medicine to provide a lifetime of great vision. If you would like to have Dr. Henahan evaluate you, please contact us by clicking here or calling 770-487-0667. Dr. Henahan is in the Peachtree City office every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as well as two Saturday’s per month.
by John Henahan