Fish Oil May Help Save Your Sight

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by Roman Bystrianyk, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. "Fish Oil May Help Save Your Sight", CBS News, July 10, 2006,

    To help save your vision as you age, you may want to give fish oil the
    thumbs up and cigarettes the thumbs down, according to a new study.

    Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) - the leading cause of
    age-related vision loss - is nearly twice as common in elderly
    smokers as nonsmokers. And seniors who eat fish at least twice weekly
    are almost half as likely to have AMD than those who eat fish less than
    once a week.

    So say Johanna Seddon, M.D., and colleagues in July's Archives of
    Ophthalmology. Seddon works at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary,
    which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School in Boston.

    Halfway around the world in Australia, other experts found that
    age-related macular problems are rarer in people whose diets are rich
    in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, including salmon and
    mackerel, as well as flax seeds and walnuts.

    U.S. Study

    Seddon's team studied data from 681 individual male twins in their
    mid-70s who were World War II veterans. The group included 222 men with
    intermediate- or late-stage AMD and 459 with early or no AMD.

    The men completed questionnaires about their smoking history, alcohol
    use, physical activity, diets, and use of multivitamins and

    "Current smokers had a 1.9-fold increased risk of AMD while past
    smokers had about a 1.7-fold increased risk" of AMD, compared with
    nonsmokers, the researchers write.

    The study also shows that men with the highest fish consumption (at
    least two weekly servings) were 45 percent less likely to have AMD than
    those with the lowest fish consumption (less than one weekly serving).

    Australian Study

    The Australian researchers included Brian Chua, BSc, MBBS, MPH, of the
    University of Sydney's ophthalmology department.

    Chua and colleagues studied nearly 2,900 people aged 49 and older
    (average age: 63-65 years). Participants completed dietary
    questionnaires; five years later, they got special photographs of their
    retinas to screen for AMD.

    Participants who reported eating at least one weekly serving of fish
    were 40 percent less likely to develop early-stage AMD during the
    study, compared with those who reported eating fish less than once a
    month or not at all.

    People who ate fish frequently were also less likely to have late-stage
    AMD, the study shows. But that pattern was only seen in participants
    who reported eating fish at least three times weekly.

    Fatty Acid Balance

    When it comes to reducing AMD risk, striking the right fatty acid
    balance might be important, note Seddon and colleagues.

    In their study, the reduced AMD risk was mainly seen in people who
    consumed high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and low levels of an
    omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid, which is found in vegetable
    oils including corn, safflower, and sunflower.

    Seddon and colleagues aren't against omega-6 fatty acids. But they
    note that a lot of people consume way too much omega-6 fatty acids,
    compared with omega-3 fatty acids.

    "The ideal omega-6/omega-3 ratio is 3:1 to 4:1," Seddon's team

    "However, the average American's diet has an omega-6/omega-3 ratio
    that ranges from 10:1 to 50:1 ... Our results suggest that when our
    diet is rich in these omega-6 fatty acids (as measured here by linoleic
    acid), the protective effect of omega-3 fatty acids is dampened."

    Chua's Australian study couldn't confirm those results.

    Study's Limits

    The studies don't prove that not smoking or eating fish prevented

    Both studies were purely observational; participants weren't asked to
    quit smoking or change their diets. The studies also don't specify
    what type of fish participants ate, or how the fish was prepared.

    Still, the results held after adjusting for other AMD risk factors.

    Inflammation might partly explain the results, the researchers note.
    They point out that smoking boosts inflammation, while omega-3 fats
    reduce inflammation.

    Sources: Seddon, J. Archives of Ophthalmology, July 2006; Vol. 124: pp.
    995-1001. Chua, B. Archives of Ophthalmology, July 2006; Vol. 124: pp.
    981-986. WebMD Medical "Good Fat vs. Bad Fat." News release,
    Roman Bystrianyk, Jul 11, 2006
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  2. Roman Bystrianyk

    Quick Guest

    So if I smoke and eat fish will I break even?

    Quick, Jul 11, 2006
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  3. Roman Bystrianyk

    Dr. Leukoma Guest

    Or, what about eating smoked salmon? :)

    Dr. Leukoma, Jul 11, 2006
  4. Roman Bystrianyk

    retinula Guest

    or smoking dried salmon?

    retinula, Jul 11, 2006
  5. Roman Bystrianyk

    vernon Guest

    It would give a good excuse for your breath.
    vernon, Jul 11, 2006
  6. You could try smoking a fish!
    Roman Bystrianyk, Jul 11, 2006
  7. Roman Bystrianyk

    PeterB Guest

    Not if the fish smokes too.
    PeterB, Jul 11, 2006
  8. Roman Bystrianyk

    vernon Guest

    "Fat laden" The cry of the uneducated tripe vendors.
    vernon, Jul 11, 2006
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