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AREDS

AREDS 1

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) was a major clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute, one of the Federal government's National Institutes of Health.

AREDS was designed to learn more about the natural history and risk factors of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataract and to evaluate the effect of high doses of antioxidants and zinc on the progression of AMD and cataract.

Results from the AREDS showed that high levels of antioxidants and zinc significantly reduce the risk of advanced AMD and its associated vision loss. These same nutrients had no significant effect on the development or progression of cataract.

At the time of AREDS 1 there was already some knowledge that carotenoids could play an important role in AMD prevention, but lutein and Zeaxanthin were not researched well enough, which is why it was decided to include beta-carotene in the formulation (1).

AREDS 2

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) is a multi-center, randomized trial designed to assess the effects of oral supplementation of macular xanthophylls (lutein and Zeaxanthin) and/or long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid) [DHA] and eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] ) on the progression to advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). An additional goal of the study is to assess whether forms of the AREDS nutritional supplement with reduced zinc and/or no beta-carotene work as well as the original supplement in reducing the risk of progression to advanced AMD.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin supplementation was not available when the AREDS study formulation was designed, nor had science identified Zeaxanthin to clearly be preferred by the central macula (2).

Results from the AREDS 2 trial will be published in 2013.

  1. Competitive inhibition of carotenoid transport and tissue concentrations by high dose supplements of lutein, Zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. Wang Y, et al. Eur J Nutr. 2010 Jan 16

  2. The value of measurement of macular carotenoid pigment optical densities and distributions in age-related macular degeneration and other retinal disorders. Bernstein, P, Delori F, Richer S, et al. Vision Research. Oct 23, 2009
   
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