Diet, smoking, as well as physical and medical conditions are recognized risk factors for AMD that can be acted upon. Depending on the type of AMD you have, strategies can be put in place to rule out the disease or even slow its progression.
The first lever to activate to avoid dry AMD and slow its progression is simply dieting. Many researchers agree that certain nutrients and micronutrients from food help slow its progression.
Antioxidants protect the body and eyes
The body naturally produces substances called free radicals which can multiply abnormally as we age or have a weakened immune system. When numbers become too large in the body, free radicals can, through the oxidation process, cause many health problems such as some types of cancer and AMD. One can compare the oxidation of cells to the rust that forms on metal after time and corrosion. Free radicals can also cause cell inflammation and thus have health consequences. To counteract these phenomena of oxidation and inflammation, certain nutrients can act as your ally: antioxidants. In fact, antioxidants have the ability to prevent many oxidation reactions.
Lutein and zeaxanthin in the first line
Two antioxidants have received a lot of attention for their beneficial role in AMD: lutein and zeaxanthin. In fact, eating large amounts of foods rich in these antioxidants can slow the progression of the disease. Concretely, they reduce the risk of transition from moderate to advanced stage AMD.
Eating more fruits and vegetables rich in these antioxidants can only bring benefits to eye health, fight dry AMD and benefit the whole body.
The main food sources of lutein and zeaxanthin are:
curly green cabbage
Summer and winter squash
Omega-3 prevents the development of AMD
Omega-3 fatty acids also play a role in slowing the progression of AMD. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are two types of omega-3 fatty acids. It has anti-inflammatory activity and is essential for the proper functioning of many body organs, including the eyes. They reduce the harmful effects of inflammation associated with premature aging of the eye, which is one of the main factors in the origin of AMD.
So far, studies give these fatty acids a protective role against the development of AMD. In fact, higher consumption of foods rich in EPA and DHA is associated with a lower risk of transition from moderate to advanced stage AMD.
The main dietary sources of EPA and DHA are:
A diet that includes at least two fish meals a week should be introduced and can have many health benefits!
AMD risk factors: smoking and poor physical condition
According to several studies, smokers are more likely to develop wet (or exudative) AMD or see progression of the disease if they already have it. Cigarette smoke damages the retina through oxidative stress.
In addition, due to the harmful gases that cigarettes emit, cigarettes cause a lack of oxygen in the eye area, thus increasing the formation of abnormal blood vessels under the retina, which is the main cause of wet AMD.
Obesity and cardiovascular disease play an important role in the development of AMD. These two factors exert a pro-inflammatory activity in the body which may be responsible for triggering several diseases including wet AMD.
Researchers do not yet agree on whether obesity and cardiovascular disease can lead to the early development of AMD. On the other hand, the vast majority agree that disease progression can be slowed down by good control of weight, cholesterol and blood pressure.
So, in addition to following a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, including those rich in lutein and zeaxanthin and incorporating oily fish at least twice a week, engaging in some form of physical activity daily will only be good for heart and eye health!
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Ho, L. et al. Reducing genetic risk for age-related macular degeneration with dietary antioxidants, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. Archives of Ophthalmology. 29 (6): 758-766
Hogg, Rey et al. Cardiovascular disease and hypertension are strong risk factors for choroidal neovascularization. American Academy of Ophthalmology. 115: 1046-1052
Johnson, Age-related macular degeneration and antioxidant vitamins: recent findings. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care. 13:28-33
Krishnadev, N, et al. Dietary supplements for age-related macular degeneration » current opinion in ophthalmology. 21: 184-189
Capital. et al. Lutein and zeaxanthin intake and risk of age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review and meta-analysis”. British Journal of Nutrition. 107: 350-359
* Presse Santé strives to impart medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In no way can the information provided replace medical advice.
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