Macular Degeneration 2005 Study Shows Benefits of Nutrients


This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolled 106 patients with bilateral macular degeneration. The subjects received either a nutrient combination (consisting of 200 mg of acetyl-L-carnitine, 780 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, and 20 mg of coenzyme Q10) or a placebo daily for 12 months, and underwent visual testing every three months. Treatment improved visual field defects in both eyes. Only one of 102 eyes treated deteriorated during the 12-month study, compared to 14 of 110 placebo-treated eyes. Moreover, the area of the eye's fundus covered by drusen (degenerated retinal pigment cells that are a precursor to macular degeneration) in the treated group decreased by 15% to 23%, while increasing by more than 10% in the placebo group.

The nutrients were selected based on their biological activities. Specifically, acetyl-L-carnitine facilitates fatty acid oxidation, omega-3 fatty acids regulate neural and sensory development in the retina, and coenzyme Q10 is critical to the generation of energy in the mitochondria. The results suggest that supporting mitochondrial health may be useful in preventing and managing macular degeneration.


* Feher J, Kovasc B, Kovacs I, Schvoller M, Papale A, Balacco Gabrieli C. Improvement of visual functions and fundus alterations in early age-related macular degeneration treated with a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine, n-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10. Ophthalmologica. 2005 May-Jun;219(3):154-66.