A breakthrough laboratory study has found that DHA, an Omega 3 fatty acid, prevented Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD).
A Canadian research team at the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry fed DHA to mice and measured the levels of a toxin called lipofuscin. Lipofuscin builds up in the eye with age, causing ARMD. Mice who ate the DHA for at least 6 months had significantly lower levels of the toxin.
Age-related macular degeneration affects around nine million adults aged 40+ in the USA. ARMD can cause serious loss of vision. It affects the central part of vision, not peripheral vision. Deterioration of the cells in the macula at the eye’s center makes reading, writing, and driving difficult.
The researchers deduced that getting a certain amount of DHA from supplementation and/or the diet could prevent diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In fact, it may imply very broad therapeutic benefits of DHA.
In a statement, the head researcher Dr. Yves Sauve, said “In normal aging, this toxin increases two-fold as we age. But in lab tests, there was no increase in this toxin whatsoever.” He added “This has never been demonstrated before — that supplementing the diet with DHA could make this kind of difference.”
These researchers have now focused their attention on a human study. They are studying people who have developed ARMD to see if higher dietary amounts of DHA improves or slows the progression of their disease. The new study is taking into account certain genetic markers in the subjects, to see which how genetics affects people’s response to DHA.
DHA is an omega 3 fatty acid, which is found in fish oils. The effect of DHA on health has been the subject of much research. Another recent study linked omega 3 fatty acids with reduced AMD in women.
Note: Before embarking on any supplement regimen, consult your health care professional. Excessive amounts of DHA can affect hormonal levels, causing unwanted side-effects. We have shopped around and found a high-quality omega 3 supplement that we recommend.
Study: “Dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation prevents age-related functional losses and A2E accumulation in the retina” by Dornstauder et al., Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, March 16, 2012. doi: 10.1167/iovs.11-8569