Listed in Issue 163


O'CONNELL and COLLEAGUES, Macular Pigment Research Group, Department of Chemical and Life Sciences, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland.  report a study designed to investigate whether such risk factors are associated with a dietary lack of antioxidants relevant to retinal health.


Evidence continues to accumulate that oxidative stress is etiologically important in the pathogenesis of age-related maculopathy (ARM) and that appropriate antioxidants of dietary origin may protect against this condition. Risk factors for ARM may be classed as established or putative.


Dietary, anthropometric, and sociodemographic details relating to 828 healthy Irish subjects aged 20-60 y were recorded in a cross-sectional fashion and analyzed for associations between risk factors for ARM and dietary intake of relevant nutrients.


Of the established risk factors for ARM, increasing age was associated with a relative lack of dietary zeaxanthin (P < 0.05) and tobacco use with a relative lack of dietary vitamin C (P < 0.05). Of the putative risk factors for ARM, alcohol consumption was associated with a relative lack of dietary alpha-linoleic acid (P < 0.05), and female sex was associated with a relative lack of dietary zinc (P < 0.05).


The authors showed that several variables related to risk for ARM are associated with a relative dietary lack of key nutrients. Their finding that age, the most important and universal risk factor for ARM, is associated with a relative lack of dietary zeaxanthin, is an important finding that warrants further investigation.


O'Connell ED, Nolan JM, Stack J,  Greenberg D,  Kyle J, Maddock L and  Beatty S. Diet and risk factors for age-related maculopathy. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 87(3): 712-22, Mar 2008.

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