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Antioxidants Cut Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease

Dietary intake more important than supplements for prevention of age-related macular degeneration

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A diet high in beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, iron and zinc can significantly reduce the incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), researchers report in the Dec. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dietary intake appears to be more important than supplements in terms of risk prevention, the authors say.

In the Rotterdam Study, Redmer van Leeuwen, M.D., of Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands, and colleagues assessed the dietary intake of antioxidants by 5,836 Rotterdam residents aged 55 or older beginning in 1990.

After a median follow-up of eight years, 13.4% were newly diagnosed with AMD. Intake of vitamin E, zinc and iron was associated with an 8% reduction in incidence of AMD. An above-median intake of beta-carotene, vitamins C and E and zinc cut risk of AMD 35%. In those with below-median intake of those nutrients, risk was increased 20% during follow-up. Nutritional supplements in the group with the highest antioxidant intake did not further reduce risk of AMD.

"Based on this study, foods high in these nutrients appear to be more important than nutritional supplements," the authors write.

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