According to a new study, peer reviewed and published in the Journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), one of the omega-3 essential fatty acids found in cold water fish and fish oil supplements such as Omega XL, prevented age-related vision loss in lab tests.
The lead researcher in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, Yves Sauvé, and his team studied the effectof dietary supplementation with DHA using a transgenic mouse model. At 12 months the researchers noted that DHA prevented the accumulation of a toxic molecule in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) that normally builds up with age that can cause retina disease and vision loss. Sauvé and his team concluded that supplemental DHA could act on pathologic and normal age-related processes.
“This discovery could result in a very broad therapeutic use,” Sauvé said in a statement. “In normal aging, this toxin increases twofold as we age. But in lab tests, there was no increase in this toxin whatsoever. This has never been demonstrated before – that supplementing the diet with DHA could make this kind of difference.”
Another study is underway by Sauvé and his research team to look at people who have age-related macular degeneration, a condition that results in loss of central vision and is the main cause of blindness in people over the age of 50. The researchers will look for DNA markers in the blood of study participants. The team wants to determine whether participants with certain genetic markers will respond better to increasing amounts of DHA in their diet, and if so, why.
Source: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science
B. Dornstauder, M. Suh, S. Kuny, F. Gaillard, I. M. MacDonald, M. T. Clandinin, Y. Sauve. Dietary Docosahexaenoic Acid Supplementation Prevents Age-Related Functional Losses and A2E Accumulation in the Retina. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 2012; 53 (4): 2256 DOI: 10.1167/iovs.11-8569