DHA and macular degeneration (II)


The Omega-3 fatty acid DHA is found in high concentration in the retina and is required for its proper function (it has been reported that DHA intake is inversely related to the risk of age-related macular degeneration – AMD). On the other hand, lutein and zeaxanthin (two carotenoids which act helping protect and maintain healthy cells) are also deposited in high quantities in the macula. The quantity of lutein and zeaxanthin in the macula is a useful measure for predicting disease and visual function, and DHA supplementation could increase its transport to the retina and hence cause their increase. Therefore, one of the mechanisms by which DHA should decrease risk of age-related macular degeneration could be via increasing the transport of lutein into the macula.

Several studies have associated diets rich in vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and DHA with the reduction in the risk of development of early and advanced age-related macular degeneration.

In one of them, the patients with age-related macular degeneration were asked to take two tablets daily for one year: the tablets of one group were placebo (containing sugar) and the tablets of the other group were a complex with 12 mg of lutein + 0.6 mg of zeaxanthin + 280 mg of DHA. Both types of tablets had the same look, smell, taste and packaging. After one year, the daily intake of the nutritional supplement had a beneficial effect on the lutein and zeaxanthin levels in the macula.

  • – García-Layana A, Recalde S, Alamán AS et al. Effects of lutein and docosahexaenoic Acid supplementation on macular pigment optical density in a randomized controlled trial. Nutrients 2013;5(2):543-551.
  • American Optometric Association. Lutein & Zeaxanthin.
macular degeneration

DHA and macular degeneration (I)

Macular degeneration is a disease of the eye that gradually destroys the macula, the part of the retina (inner eye's membrane that turns light and images into nerve signals that ar[...]