Thursday, December 11, 2014

AMD eye vitamins may be hyped

Have you seen those TV commercials promoting vitamins for aging eyes?

Published in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, study looked at 11 supplements. Seven did not adhere to proven formulas--those validated by research--and 11 were found to have misleading claims.

Take Age Related Macular Degeneration. In 2001 there was a landmark study called AREDS showed that a specific formula of supplements containing high doses if antioxidants and zinc could slow the worsening of AMD in those with intermediate AMD and those with advanced AMD in one eye only.

In 2011, a followup study AREDS2 showed that the fomula was still effective if the beta carotene was replaced by lutein and zeaxanthin. (Beta carotene was suspected of increasing lung cancer risk in smokers.)

A study based a Yale and several other hospitals then looked at the commercial brands of supplements.

--Only four had equivalent doses of AREDS or AREDS2 ingredients.

--Another four had lower doses.

--Four products also had other ingredients and herbs that were not part of AREDS or AREDS2.

All 11 supplements also had promotional claims--such as "support," "protect," "promote."

The science is not there to support routine use of these products for AMD and cataracts. At best, these are for patients with specific stages of these disorders.

Aw, I know...If only there were magic pills.

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