• Do Certain Dietary Fats Protect Against AMD?

    By Lynda Seminara
    Selected By: Prem S. Subramanian, MD, PhD

    Journal Highlights

    Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science

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    Although the etiology of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is be­lieved to be multifactorial, evidence suggests that a poor diet and high cholesterol levels play a role in disease development and progression. Dietary fat consumption also has been im­plicated, but concordance is lacking on the specific type of fat. Roh et al. looked more closely at dietary fat intake and found a link between AMD and high consumption of trans fat. Mono­unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (MUFA and PUFA) appeared to have a protective effect.

    Participants in this cross-sectional study were at least 50 years old and had AMD based on color fundus photogra­phy. A U.S. cohort was recruited from January 2015 to July 2016, and Portu­guese participants were recruited from a population-based study. A similar control group had no evidence of AMD. Patients completed a question­naire to determine their energy intake of trans fat, saturated fat, MUFA, and PUFA during the preceding year.

    The final analysis included 483 participants. Of these, 97 (20.1%) were controls, 90 (18.6%) presented with early AMD, 201 (41.6%) had interme­diate AMD, and 95 (19.7%) presented with late AMD. Mean age was signifi­cantly higher for those with AMD, but otherwise the two groups were similar.

    After multivariate adjustments, higher consumption of trans fat was found to correlate with AMD (odds ratio [OR], 2.36; p =.0156). In contrast, higher intake of PUFA and MUFA was inversely associated with AMD (OR, 0.25 [p =.0063] and 0.24 [p < .0001], respectively). No association was found for saturated fat. The analysis by stage showed that higher trans fat intake was common with intermediate AMD (OR, 2.26; p = .0228), but higher intake of PUFA and MUFA appeared protective of intermediate disease (OR, 0.2 [p = .0013] and 0.17 [p < .0001], respec­tively) as well as advanced disease (OR, 0.13 [p = .02] and 0.26 [p = .004], respectively). Omega-6 PUFA trended toward reducing the risk of interme­diate AMD (OR, 0.30; p = .0165). The inverse relationship between MUFA and AMD was significant only for the Portuguese subset; this may reflect the composition of the Portuguese diet.

    In addition to providing data on the various stages of AMD, this study showed that high intake of trans fat correlates with the presence of AMD, whereas PUFA and MUFA appear to offer protection. Omega-6 PUFA also seemed beneficial, but the authors urged more research into this relationship.

    The original article can be found here.