Vitamin E Supplement Fights Eye Disease; Green Vegetable Diet 'Difficult to Achieve'

NEW YORK, May 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The high levels of nutrients needed to combat age-related macular degeneration "are very difficult to achieve from diet alone," but a formulation containing Vitamin E can lower the risk of vision loss, a New York Times special supplement reports.

The 10-page advertising section of the Times magazine, called "From Cause to Cure," examines eye health, particularly macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 60.

A new study on macular degeneration found that taking a supplement containing antioxidants Vitamin E and Vitamin C, with beta carotene and small amounts of zinc and copper, can "significantly reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and its associated vision loss," the article reported.

Dr. Frederick Ferris, director of clinical research at the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, was chairman of the study and said: "Previous studies have suggested that people who consume a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables have a lower risk of developing AMD. However, the high levels of nutrients that were evaluated in the study are very difficult to achieve from diet alone."

Dr. Ferris said that although two-thirds of the study participants took a daily multivitamin in addition to their assigned treatment of vitamins and minerals, the study found that those at high risk of developing advanced AMD could lower that risk by taking the formulation of vitamins and minerals, including 400 international units (IU) of Vitamin E daily.

Currently, treatment for age-related macular degeneration is limited, and researchers believe the new study shows promise to "delay progression in those at high risk."

Macular degeneration cases are expected to double by the year 2020, health authorities say, as the generation of "baby boomers" -- persons born between 1946 and 1964 -- ages. The eye disorder is believed to affect almost 30 percent of people over age 75.

SOURCE: Foods for the Future


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