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Fish Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Macular Degeneration

But more research needed before increased consumption can be recommended, report suggests

FRIDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Consumption of fish twice or more per week and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but the meta-analysis which led to this observation was based on very limited studies, according to a report published in the June issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Elaine Chong, of the Centre for Eye Research Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of nine studies containing 88,974 subjects, including 3,203 people with AMD. Studies selected for inclusion in this analysis were based on prospective cohort, case-control and cross-sectional designs.

Greater dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids reduced the risk of late AMD by 38 percent, while consumption of fish at least twice a week was associated with a reduced risk of both early and late AMD (odds ratios 0.76 and 0.67, respectively), the investigators found. However, the researchers do not recommend routine supplementation of diets with these foods because the literature did not contain randomized controlled trials and had few prospective studies.

"The primary prevention of AMD by modifying risk factors remains a key public health strategy to tackle this common condition," the authors write. "While our review suggests that consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fish intake twice or more per week may play important roles in the primary prevention of AMD…routine recommendation of an omega-3 fatty acid and fish intake for AMD prevention is not warranted until additional information from prospective studies and randomized controlled trials emerges."

Two of the study's authors have financial ties to Pfizer and Novartis.

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