B vitamins for AMD prevention

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Age-related macular degeneration has long been the leading cause of blindness in the world. This eye disease is quite damaging in an old patient. By destroying one’s sharp central vision, age-related macular degeneration will cause difficulty in performing daily tasks, such as reading, watching TV and driving. A good news is that a recently published study conduced by Harvard Medical School has revealed that vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid are beneficial to eye health. In detail, these nutrients can help prevent or lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

The study recruited 5,000 subjects, all of which are women over 40 years old and without signs of age-related macular degeneration. Some of these participants were assigned to take a combination of 2.5 milligrams of folic acid, 50 milligrams of vitamin B6 and one milligram of B12 randomly. And there were other subjects assigned to take a placebo every day. The study lasted for 7 years, during which every subject was asked to receive examinations of medical reports or make response to questionnaires on a yearly basis. And these participants taking vitamins were kept close monitor in order to ensure there was no new disease.

According to the results published in the February 2009 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, there were 137 cases of age related macular degeneration in total and 70% of these patients suffered significant vision loss. However, the study showed that compared to the placebo subjects, the group who took the B vitamins and folic acid had a 34% lower risk of the disease and a 42% lower chance to suffer vision loss.

The study author named William Christen said that folic acid, B6 and B12 are traditionally used to reduce blood levels of homocysteine. It is commonly known that high blood level can increase the risk of developing AMD. But now, these nutrients are recommended to prevent macular degeneration. Good sources of vitamin B include animal products, yeast extracts, dried apricots, dates and figs, milk, eggs, nuts and so on.