Carotenoids Help Reduce the Risk of Advanced AMD

However, no link found between carotenoids and the risk of intermediate AMD

FRIDAY, Oct. 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Carotenoids are associated with a long-term reduced risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a study published online Oct. 8 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Joanne (Juan) Wu, a graduate student in nutrition epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues looked at data from health surveys that tracked people aged 50 and older -- 63,443 women and 38,603 men -- from 1984 or 1986 until 2010. Participants were all nurses and other health professionals.

The researchers found that, overall, about 2.5 percent of study participants developed either intermediate or advanced AMD during the years of the study. Wu's team found that people who consumed the very highest levels of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin had a 40 percent lower risk of the advanced form of AMD compared to those who consumed the very least.

"Other carotenoids, including beta cryptoxanthin, alpha carotene, and beta carotene, may also play protective roles," Wu told HealthDay. People who consumed the very highest amount of these carotenoids -- found in foods such as carrots and sweet potato -- had a 25 to 35 percent lower risk of the advanced form of the illness. Researchers did not find any link between the carotenoids and the intermediate form of AMD, however.

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