JAMA Ophthalmology Study Highlights

A randomized trial by Christin Arnold, Dipl-Troph, of Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany, and colleagues found that a supplement containing a fixed combination of lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) during 12 months significantly improved plasma antioxidant capacity, circulating macular xanthophyll levels and optical density of the macular pigment.

The study, which was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled and parallel, was conducted in Germany and included 172 patients with nonexudative age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Patients were divided into either the placebo group; group 1 (a capsule containing 10 mg of lutein, 1 mg of zeaxanthin, 100 mg of docosahexaenoic acid and 30 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid administered each day); or group 2, who received the same substances but twice the dose.

According to the results, the concentrations of the administered carotenoids in plasma as well as the optical density of the macular pigment increased significantly in the groups randomized to receive supplementary macular xanthophylls and omega-3 LC-PUFAs after one month of intervention and remained at this level through the end of the study. The double dose produced a beneficial change in the fatty acid profile in the plasma of the patients with AMD in comparison to group 1, the results also indicate.

"Therefore, such supplementation may be beneficial for AMD patients," the authors conclude, although they note that no general implications for clinical practice can be given.