The People's Perspective on Medicine

Macular Degeneration Not Slowed by Fish Oil

Macular degeneration remains a leading cause of blindness among older citizens. A study two decades ago showed that supplementation with a particular mix of vitamins and minerals could slow the progression of this condition. Now a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has revealed that adding omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil supplements does not improve the results obtained with the original formula.

More than 4,000 volunteers over age 50 participated in the five-year study. The original formula had contained beta-carotene, and safety issues have surfaced about this nutrient in the years since the first study. So the scientists also tested the alternate carotenoids lutein and xeazanthin in place of beta-carotene. These seemed to work just as well, though that finding is based on analysis of a smaller group of patients in the study. It should be studied more thoroughly before lutein and xeazanthin are routinely included in supplements for slowing macular degeneration.

 [Journal of the American Medical Association, May 15, 2013]   

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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controlled trials. Macular degeneration is one of them. The AREDS2 vitamin regimen is certainly worth a try.
Diagnosed with beginning macular degeneration. Prescribed areds2 even though it says only for moderate or advanced AMD not beginning. The pills (only taken 1 a day so far not 4). cause some stomach distress. Possibly the fish oil part. I have various stomach issues. So curious what else people have tried. May have to take the vitamins separately and leave out the fish part which I gather was not in the original study anyway.
thanks for any info and suggestions

Diagnosed with beginning macular degeneration. Prescribed areds2 even though it says only for moderate or advanced AMD not beginning. The pills (only taken 1 a day so far not 4). cause some stomach distress. Possibly the fish oil part. I have various stomach issues. So curious what else people have tried. May have to take the vitamins separately and leave out the fish part which I gather was not in the original study anyway.
thanks for any info and suggestions.

I was diagnosed with macular degeneration three months ago and have been getting the eye shots in my left eye. The retina specialist recommended AREDS2 and I would like to know if anyone has tried these. They are pretty expensive, but I would do anything to save my eyesight. They are supposed to slow the progression of the disease and was proven by some trial studies. Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Peoples Pharmacy response: There are relatively few conditions in medicine for which vitamins have been shown helpful in placebo-controlled trials. Macular degeneration is one of them. The AREDS2 vitamin regimen is certainly worth a try.

I want to say a big Thanks to Cindy for posting about bilberry for macular degeneration. About a year ago, I was diagnosed with early onset amd but when I asked about drusen, the Dr just said NO, guess he doesn’t believe that is the cause or ? he recommended the supplement that B & Lomb makes with the AREDS2 supplements but with the almost 80 mg zinc oxide in it I only took it a few months & have switched to taking the supplements separately & changing the kind of zinc to 25mg zinc gluconate & 2mg copper. It helps my ibs d which I’ve had for over 30 years.
I recently read that some bp meds deplete you of zinc and phytates block zinc (hubby’s on bp meds) so we’ve changed the way we take our zinc supplements. Psyllium fiber several hours away from the zinc supplement. I wonder if diuretics and ace inhibitors depleting zinc could possibly be the reason glucose can go higher when you take those types meds?
Back to the macular degeneration, I think that the researchers still think zinc is good for our eyes. As always, too much is not good & I am going to start taking bilberry.

Well, fish oil may not prevent macular degeneration, but bilberry DEFINITELY DOES! I had the beginnings of macular degeneration some 10 years ago (a kinda grayed-out, “fainter” circular area in the middle of my visual field that made whatever I was looking at harder to see).
I started taking bilberry capsules (3 per day, or per pkg instructions), and that gray, pale area just FADED AWAY! Took about 2 years for it to completely resolve. I would never be without my bilberry. PS, Later I added lutein, another great eye supplement, so that probably made a difference too.

anyone had experience with the Ocuvite daily vitamin for eyes with good results?

There was a finding that eating spinach was effective in preventing macular degeneration. It contains many of the desired supplements. I have since read that eggs also contain them. While the eggs have less, more is absorbed because of the fat in the eggs. I have made a practice of eating spinach omelets to get double benefit as my mother had macular degeneration.
Several years ago an optometrist had seen dreusen in my eyes (a precursor to macular degeneration)more recently, an ophthamologist has seen none.

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