Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency Infographic

Regular fish consumption as well as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish is linked to a significantly reduced AMD risk.

Approximately 9 million 40 years and older U.S. adults have signs of AMD (age related macular degeneration). Another 7.3 million individuals have early AMD, which is normally linked to no or moderate vision loss but does increase the risk of advanced AMD.

Information on 38,022 women who hadn’t been diagnosed with AMD was collected. Data on the eating habits of the women was provided via questionnaire at the start of the study, which included information on eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake, omega-3 fatty acids in fish, and linoleic acid and arachidonic acid, omega-6 fatty acids. For the 10 years follow-up period, the eye health of the women was tracked via more questionnaires, focusing specifically on AMD diagnosis.

235 cases of AMD were reported over the follow-up period. Adjusting for age and treatment assignment, it was revealed that women consuming the most DHA in comparison to women consuming the lowest amount had a 38% lower AMD risk. Similar outcomes were observed for greater EPA intake and for greater consumption of DHA and EPA together.

Consumption of 1 or more servings of fish a week, in comparison to less than 1 a month, was linked to a 42% lower AMD risk. This lower risk seemed to be due primarily to dark-meat and fish canned tuna fish consumption.

For omega-6 fatty acids, greater intake of linoleic acid but not arachidonic acid was linked to an increased AMD risk, but this association was not significant after adjusting for other risk factors and fats.

The study results indivate that the risk of incident AMD is significantly reduced with regular EPA, DHA and fish consumption in women without any previous AMD diagnosis.