Fish Consumption Reduces Risk of Macular Degeneration?
The human retina and macula contain a high proportion of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. Few previous studies have examined potential associations between dietary fat or fish consumption and age-related maculopathy (ARM), a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States and Australia.
Other risk factors for ARM include smoking and cardiovascular disease.
This study involving 3,654 subjects (aged 49 years and older) "assessed whether dietary intake of fat or fish is associated with [ARM] prevalence." Specifically, participants completed a 145-item food frequency questionnaire that provided data on nutrient intakes (including dietary fat and fish consumption); individual ARM lesions from retinal photographs were determined using the Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System.
Results showed that increased consumption of fresh or frozen fish reduced the risk of developing ARM. The odds ratio for fish consumption of at least once per week was 0.5 compared with fish consumption of less than once per month (odds ratio of 1.00 used as reference). The authors speculate that "the causal pathway of higher saturated dietary fat intake, leading to increased atherosclerosis and development of ARM, is a plausible explanation" for their findings.
Smith W, Mitchell P, Leeder SR. Dietary fat and fish intake and age-related maculopathy. Archives of Ophthalmology