Fish & Fat in Diet (2000-01, 2007) & Macular Degeneration


Learn more about other support for macular degeneration.

Researchers determined that in 3,600 patients (aged 49 and older) who ate fish more than once a week had 50% and as seldom as 1 to 3 times a month the risk of developing advanced macular generation compared to patients eating fish less than once a month. Fish in the diet didn't significantly change the risk of early (dry) macular degeneration. It is thought that the omega3 fatty acids contained in fatty fish are responsible for the decreased risk.

Patients consuming high amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol in their diets were 2.7 times as likely to develop wet (advanced) macular degeneration, also known as choroidal neovascularization.

Researchers: Smith, et al. Archives of Ophthalmology, March, 2000

The researchers investigated the relationship between risk of macular degeneration and consumption of different kinds of fat.

More than 300 patients, aged 55-80, who suffer from advanced macular degneration (wet type). There were about 500 control subjects who did not have AMD, but had other ocular diseases. The study evaluated fat intake and was adjusted for other risk factors such as smoking cigarettes.

The researchers found that highest (top 1/5) consumption of vegetable oils was connected to about 2 1/4 times greater risk of developing AMD compared to those people whose consumption of vegetable oils was in the lowest 1/5th.

  • Highest consumption of linoleic acid (omega6 found in vegetable oils) was connected to greater risk of AMD.
  • In patients whose diet was high in omega-3 fatty acids or fish, and where linoleic acid was low, the risk was lower.
  • And in patients who diet was high in omega-3s and linoleic acid was high, there was little correlation to risk.

The researchers concluded that consumption of high levels of fats, which includees monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, lineoic acid and vegetable oils, as opposed to total fat, is connected to greater risk of AMD. However diets that were high in omega-3 fatty acids and fish had a lower risk of developing AMD if lineoic acid was low.

Researchers: J.M. Seddon, et al.,
Published: Dietary fat and risk for advanced age-related macular degeneration, Archives of Ophthalmology, August, 2001.

Editor's Note: The high consumption of vegetable oils and grains, along with meats and eggs eaten from animals fed grains has dramatically thrown our omega-3 to omega-6 ratio out of balance, resulting too much omega-6 fatty acids which tend to be inflammatory. We believe it will eventually be proven that the high levels of omega-6 fatty acids in our diet with high levels of refined carbohydrates eaten are the main causes besides genetics of heart disease, stroke and autoimmune diseases.

The POLANUT study in France evaluated the effect of fat in the diet and the risk of developing macular degeneration. Researchers evaluated diet histories of about 700 patients who had developed macular degeneration.

The survey distinguished between white (low-fat) and fatty fish (such as tuna and salmon). The researchers also looked at retinal photographs taken some years prior.

The researchers separated the subjects into early and advanced macular degeneration and determined the lower 1/5, middle 3/5ths and upper 1/5 of the group based on the fat and fish intake.

They found that AMD risk increased with intake of total fat, especially with intake of saturated fats. General fish intake, on the other hand was not associated with development of AMD. Fatty fish, consumed more than once a month, were tied to lower AMD risk.

Researchers: C. Delcourt, I. Carriere, et al
Published: Dietary fat and the risk of age-related maculopathy: the POLANUT Study, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February, 2007.