NIH research confirms advantage of dietary supplements for slowing age-related macular degeneration

Delly Bezoss

Information Launch

Thursday, June 2, 2022

After 10 years, AREDS2 system reveals elevated efficacy in comparison with unique system, advantage of eliminating beta-carotene.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS and AREDS2) established that dietary dietary supplements can sluggish development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most typical explanation for blindness in older Individuals. In a brand new report, scientists analyzed 10 years of AREDS2 information. They present that the AREDS2 system, which substituted antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin for beta-carotene, not solely reduces danger of lung most cancers on account of beta-carotene, however can be simpler at decreasing danger of AMD development, in comparison with the unique system. A report on the research, funded by the Nationwide Institutes of Well being, printed in JAMA Ophthalmology.

“As a result of beta-carotene elevated the chance of lung most cancers for present people who smoke in two NIH-supported research, our objective with AREDS2 was to create an equally efficient complement system that may very well be utilized by anybody, whether or not or not they smoke,” stated Emily Chew, M.D., director of the Division of Epidemiology and Medical Utility on the Nationwide Eye Institute (NEI), and lead writer of the research report. “This 10-year information confirms that not solely is the brand new system safer, it’s truly higher at slowing AMD development.”

AMD is a degenerative illness of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the attention. Progressive demise of retinal cells within the macula, the a part of the retina that gives clear central imaginative and prescient, finally results in blindness. Remedy can sluggish or reverse imaginative and prescient loss; nonetheless, no treatment for AMD exists.

The original AREDS study, launched in 1996, confirmed {that a} dietary complement formulation (500 mg vitamin C, 400 worldwide models vitamin E, 2 mg copper, 80 mg zinc, and 15 mg beta-carotene) may considerably sluggish the development of AMD from average to late illness. Nevertheless, two concurrent research additionally revealed that individuals who smoked and took beta-carotene had a considerably increased danger of lung most cancers than anticipated.

In AREDS2, begun in 2006, Chew and colleagues in contrast the beta-carotene formulation to at least one with 10 mg lutein and a couple of mg zeaxanthin as an alternative. Like beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants with exercise within the retina. The beta-carotene-containing formation was solely given to members who had by no means smoked or who had give up smoking.

On the finish of the five-year AREDS2 research interval, the researchers concluded that lutein and zeaxanthin didn’t enhance danger for lung most cancers, and that the brand new formation may scale back the chance of AMD development by about 26%. After the completion of the five-year research interval, the research members have been all provided the ultimate AREDS2 formation that included lutein and zeaxanthin as an alternative of beta-carotene.

On this new report, the researchers adopted up with 3,883 of the unique 4,203 AREDS2 members an extra 5 years from the tip of the AREDS2 research in 2011, gathering info on whether or not their AMD had progressed to late illness, and whether or not they had been recognized with lung most cancers. Despite the fact that all of the members had switched to the system containing lutein and zeaxanthin after the tip of the research interval, the observe up research continued to indicate that beta-carotene elevated danger of lung most cancers for individuals who had ever smoked by almost double. There was no elevated danger for lung most cancers in these receiving lutein/zeaxanthin. As well as, after 10 years, the group initially assigned to obtain lutein/zeaxanthin had an extra 20% diminished danger of development to late AMD in comparison with these initially assigned to obtain beta-carotene.

“These outcomes confirmed that switching our system from beta-carotene to lutein and zeaxanthin was the precise alternative,” stated Chew.

The research was funded by the NEI Intramural program (EY000546) and thru contracts (AREDS2 contract HHS-N-260-2005-00007-C; ADB contract NO1-EY-5-0007; AREDS Contract NOI-EY-0-2127, and contract HHS-N-263-2013-00005-C). The AREDS2 contracts have been supported by the NIH Workplace of Dietary Workplace of Dietary Dietary supplements, the Nationwide Middle for Complementary and Integrative Well being, the Nationwide Institute on Getting old, the Nationwide Coronary heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the Nationwide Institute of Neurological Issues and Stroke. The research passed off on the NIH Medical Middle.

NEI leads the federal authorities’s analysis on the visible system and eye ailments. NEI helps primary and scientific science packages to develop sight-saving therapies and tackle particular wants of individuals with imaginative and prescient loss. For extra info, go to  

In regards to the Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH):
NIH, the nation’s medical analysis company, contains 27 Institutes and Facilities and is a part of the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers. NIH is the first federal company conducting and supporting primary, scientific, and translational medical analysis, and is investigating the causes, therapies, and cures for each frequent and uncommon ailments. For extra details about NIH and its packages, go to

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Well being®


Chew EY, Clemons TE, Agron E, Domalpally A, Keenan TDL, Vitale S, Weber C, Smith DC, Christen W, for the AREDS2 Analysis group. “Lengthy-term outcomes of including Lutein/Zeaxanthin and Omega-3 Fatty Acids to the AREDS Dietary supplements on Age-Associated Macular Degeneration Development: AREDS2 Report #28. JAMA Ophthalmology. June 2, 2022.


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