Were you aware the connection between omega 3 and retina health was recently expanded when researchers showed that it could prevent age-related macular degeneration or AMD? Here’s a little bit about AMD and omega-3s.
AMD is the most common cause of vision loss among the elderly. Although it does not usually cause complete blindness, central vision is lost.
Losing your central vision is like having something in front of your face all of the time. But, when you turn your head it follows you. You cannot look around it. If you turn your eyes, the blind spot moves with you. All that you have is your peripheral vision. You have to learn not to look directly at something, if you want to be able to see it.
The condition makes using a computer, reading or taking care of bills difficult, if not impossible. Even meal preparation and eating are taxing. Most people with AMD need assistance to stay in their homes.
The retina is the light-gathering structure that lines the inside of the eye. The macula is a point on the retina, near the back of the eye. The retinal lining and the macula specifically are composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids, carotenoids and other compounds. There’s your first connection between omega 3 and retina health. Omega-3s are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. They must be present in the diet in order for the body to repair organs and tissues.
The typical American diet provides far more omega-6s than 3s. In some cases, people consume 40 times more 6s than 3s. While both are essential, this drastic imbalance in intakes sets the stage for inflammation throughout the body.
About 60% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in the retina are DHAs (Docosahexaenoic acid). DHA is found only in some kinds of fish, some types of seafood, fish oil and some varieties of seaweed. If your diet includes none of those things, you are not getting any DHA in your diet.
This is the likely connection between omega 3 and retina disease in the US. Americans tend to eat more beef, chicken, pork and other meats. Those provide some omega-3s, but not DHA.
AMD is a degenerative eye disease. It progresses, because the body does not continue to repair damage done to the macula as it should. The current theory is that a low intake of essential nutrients is the reason that the body stops its repair work.
In studies concerning omega 3 and retina health, researchers found that DHA supplements slow the degradation and provide some improvement in central vision. There suggestion is that supplementation may help prevent AMD.
If you would like to take an omega-3 supplement to reduce your risk of AMD, remember to look for fish oil or algae oil. The flax seed supplements do not contain DHA.
Many other benefits are associated with increased DHA intake. But, it is important to choose your supplements carefully. Some are far better than others.
Now that you know a little more about the connection between omega 3 and retina health, you might want to take the time to learn about choosing the best supplements.