A study published in the July 2013 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition provides additional evidence suggesting higher nutritional status of certain B vitamins may be important in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 55 years of age in the U.S. and Canada. Previous studies have shown that taking certain antioxidant vitamins and minerals as supplements, at specific dosages, can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration.
Results showed that higher blood levels of homocysteine were associated with a significant increased risk of developing AMD, whereas higher serum levels of vitamin B were strongly associated with descreased risk of developing AMD. More specifically, data showed that increased concentrations of serum total homocysteine were associated with approximately 30 percent increased odds of developing AMD over 10 years, and increased concentrations of vitamin B were associated with an approximate 30 percent reduced odds of developing AMD.
People with folate or vitamin B 12 deficiency at the beginning of the study were approximately twice as likely to develop AMD during the 10-year study. Homocysteine is a toxic end product of metabolism known to damage blood vessels and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. B vitamins have shown to be able to recycle homocysteine back to the nontoxic and highly useful amino acid known as methionine.
Various lifestyle behaviors can be very helpful in preventing AMD. The following practices appear to be the best proactive strategies to help prevent the development of AMD:
1) Don’t smoke
2) Protect your eyes from UV light.
3) Prevent the onset of Type II diabetes by maintaining your ideal weight, performing endurance and strength training exercises regularly.
4) Eat a diet rich in brightly colored vegetables and fruit.
5) Keep your cholesterol levels low.
6) Take a high potency multivitamin/mineral each day that contains much needed antioxidants and B vitamins.