In a study involving women with cardiovascular disease, researchers may have found an association between certain vitamins and the development of macular degeneration. Researchers compared B complex vitamins and folic acid against placedbo in a large group of patients with cardiovascular disease. Their findings, as reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, indicated a lower chance of developing macular degeneration along with lower blood levels of an amino acid homocysteine. Supplements were given, on average, daily for over 7 years.
What does this mean for you? This may be a significant finding, or association, where macular degeneration seems to decreased when taking certain supplements. There are too many variables to come to this conclusion. First, the group studied is biased, or rather, it is not a random group of people. There is bias toward sex (female) and systemic health (cardiovascular disease). Second, the study found lower blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. Increased levels of homocysteine are seen in patients at risk for cardiovascular disease. Folic acid, pyridoxine (B6) and cyanocobalamin (B12) lower serum levels of homocysteine. The study was not able to determine whether or not the lower homocysteine levels in the blood caused the decrease in macular degeneration.
Article: Arch Intern Med. 2009;169:335-341.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Retina Specialist, Ophthalmologist