(NewsTarget) Two recent studies show that eating fish frequently and not smoking may significantly reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
A study published in July’s Archives of Ophthamology examined data from 681 World War II male twins in their 70s. The group consisted of 222 men with intermediate- or late-stage AMD and 459 men with early or no AMD. Researchers had the men fill out questionnaires on their history of smoking and alcohol use, as well as their diet, physical activity and use of vitamins and supplements.
The researchers from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, affiliated with Harvard Medical School in Boston, found that current smokers had a 1.9-fold greater risk of developing AMD, while past smokers increased their risk 1.7-fold, compared to nonsmokers. The study also found that those who ate the most fish – at least two weekly servings – reduced their risk of AMD by 45 percent over those who had less than one weekly serving.
Australian researchers at the University of Sydney also recently completed a five-year study of 2,900 people 49 and older, and found that people who ate at least one weekly serving of omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish – such as salmon and mackerel – reduced their risk of developing AMD by 40 percent.
Dr. Johanna Seddon, who led the Boston-based study, stressed the importance of not only getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, but also properly balancing the amounts of omega-3s with omega-6 fatty acids.
“The ideal omega-6/omega-3 ratio is 3:1 to 4:1,” Seddon’s team wrote. “However, the average American’s diet has an omega-6/omega-3 ratio that ranges from 10:1 to 50:1.” Seddon says over-eating omega-6 fatty acids – found in oils from corn, safflower and sunflower – diminishes the protective effects of omega-3s.