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Antioxidants Don't Prevent Macular Degeneration

Dietary and supplemental antioxidants no help in primary prevention of age-related macular degeneration

TUESDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, and carotenoids are not effective in the primary prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to the results of a meta-analysis published online Oct. 8 in BMJ.

Elaine Chong, of the University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies evaluating dietary and/or supplement antioxidants for the primary prevention of age-related macular degeneration.

Pooling data from nine prospective cohort studies involving 149,203 people and 1,878 incident cases of AMD, the researchers showed that vitamins A, C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, α carotene, β carotene, β cryptoxanthin and lycopene had minimal or no effect in the primary prevention of AMD. Three randomized clinical trials also showed no benefit in AMD prevention.

"There is insufficient evidence that antioxidant supplements prevent the onset of AMD. Cigarette smoking remains the only widely accepted modifiable risk factor for the primary prevention of AMD, and patients seeking advice on AMD prevention should be encouraged to stop smoking," the authors conclude.

Two authors are on the advisory boards of Pfizer and Novartis and have received grants and honoraria from the companies.

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