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L. M. Renzi, A. Iannaccone, K. T. Gallaher, S. Satterfield, E. Kenyon, T. Harris, K. C. Johnson, S. B. Kritchevsky, W. Schalch, E. J. Johnson; Relationships Among Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD), Serum Lutein (L), Zeaxanthin (Z), and n3 Fatty Acids (FAs). Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):2123.
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Research suggests that L, Z and n3 FAs are associated with risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) both independently and synergistically. Recent data on non-human primates suggests that a combination of L, Z, and n3 FAs can increase MPOD across the retina. The question of whether L, Z and n3 FAs are also complementary in human subjects, however, has not been answered and was the primary goal of this study.
A total of 223 healthy older adult subjects (M = 79.3 years, SD = 2.9 years; 50% females, 21% Black) from the Health ABC ARMA Study were tested. HPLC was used to analyze serum samples for L, Z and n3 FA content. MPOD was determined psychophysically.
Mean MPOD for the entire sample was 0.35 (SD = 0.21), which compares relatively well with previous studies. Serum L and Z were correlated with MPOD (r = 0.195, p < 0.01 for L; r = 0.202, p < 0.01 for Z). In addition, n3 FAs were positively related to serum xanthophylls (r = 0.136, p < 0.05 for DHA; r = 0.148, p < 0.05 for total n3s). A general linear model was fit to the data to determine combined effects of serum L+Z and n3 FAs on MPOD (R = 0.247, p < 0.01). L+Z and n3 FAs accounted for a small but significant proportion of variance in MPOD (R2 = 0.061 ≈6%). The relative magnitude and p-value of the coefficientsß for L+Z (ß=0.218, p=0.001) and n3 FAs (ß=0.087, p=0.18), suggest that L+Z provide a larger contribution to the overall variation in MPOD than n3 FAs
Our data are consistent with results on non-human primates and with past correlations that have assessed MP and serum carotenoids, in that both xanthophylls and n3 FAs were correlated with independent variation in MP density. Our data support the current plan in AREDS II of supplementing both L+Z and n3 FAs as a means of testing whether these nutrients work synergistically to prevent AMD.
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