Age-Related Eye Disease Study AREDS 1+2
Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS 1)
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS 1) study in 1992 concluded that selected antioxidant vitamins and zinc have a beneficial effect on people with the intermediate stage of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), reducing their risk of developing advanced AMD (wet AMD) by 25%.
[The AREDS 1 supplement contained: zinc – 80mg, vitamin C – 500mg, vitamin E – 400IU, copper – 2mg and beta-carotene – 15mg. The small amount of copper was added to the supplement as high doses of zinc can reduce the levels of copper in the body.]
Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS 2)
A subsequent large clinical trial Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS 2) in June 2008 was a designed to assess the effects of supplements containing lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids on AMD. It also tested whether the benefits of the original AREDS 1 formula could be improved further by taking out beta-carotene and reducing the amount of zinc. This study indicated that this improved formulation had fewer adverse side-effects and confirmed the benefits of the supplementation.
[The AREDS 2 formula contained: vitamin C – 500mg, vitamin E – 400IU, lutein – 10mg, zeaxanthin – 2mg, zinc – 25mg or 80mg, copper – 2mg (added to the formula as high levels of zinc can reduce the amount of copper in the body).]
What Can We Conclude?
A conclusion may be drawn from both the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS 1 + 2):
Supplementation of diet with selected vitamins and minerals will improve the outcome of AMD. Adverse effects of high dose isolated vitamins and minerals can be avoided by adding appropriate fruits and vegetables to the diet.
A further plausible conclusion is that antioxidants/phytonutrients will benefit AMD sufferers and that these when derived from a plant-based diet will improve the outcome of the AMD and avoid the problems associated with high dose synthetic, isolated supplements.
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