Omega-3 Fatty Acids Slow Eye Disease Progression
June 25, 2007
By Will Boggs, MD
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Dietary supplements of omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), the healthy fatty acid found in certain fish or fish oils, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and other foods, reduces the disease progress in the eye.
The essential omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA), given as diet supplements, may help prevent retinal disease (retinopathy) and also has beneficial effects on the heart, Dr. Lois E. H. Smith, from Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital in Boston, told Reuters Health. "It is a win/win situation to prescribe this low-cost over-the-counter supplement."
The retina is composed of nerve tissue that converts light images into impulses transmitted through the optic nerve to the brain. Retinal angiogenesis is the growth of destructive blood vessels in areas they do not belong, in this case in the retina where is eventually causes blindness.
In the current study, published in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Medicine, the investigators conducted a series of experiments in mice with retinal angiogenesis to evaluate the effects of omega-3-PUFA and omega-6-PUFA (which has the opposite effect of omega-3-PUFA.)
Raising tissue levels of omega-3-PUFA with dietary supplementation, or through genetic manipulation, led to more than a 50 percent decrease in the ratio of omega-6- to omega-3-PUFA, the researchers report, and this was associated with a protective of the eye from the pathological process.
Increasing omega-3-PUFA levels also decreased blood vessel growth around the retina. Treatment with bioactive products derived from DHA and EPA conferred significant protection from the angiogenic effects, indicating that the protective effect of omega-3-PUFA against retinal damage is mediated in part through DHA and EPA.
Additional experiments suggested that a subset of retinal white blood cells (immune cells that fight off invaders and infection) were involved in retinal disease process, setting off a sequence of activities that similarly increased omega-3-PUFA levels.
"Omega-3 fatty acids are also deficient in most Western diets," Smith said. Therefore, eating more foods that are rich in omega-3 oils may help prevent eye disease in adults.
A study sponsored by the National Institutes of Science will examine the impact of omega-3 supplements on the development of age-related macular degeneration, "the most common cause of blindness in the elderly," Smith said. "We also hope to extend these studies to examine the effect of supplementation on patients with diabetes at risk for diabetic retinopathy."
"Some supplements contain omega-6 fatty acids which have the opposite effect," Smith added. "It is important to make this clear to patients."
SOURCE: Nature Medicine, June 24, 2007.
For more information on Wellness check out the Health and Wellness section of the Library!
Omega-3's and omega-6's belong to a family of fats known as essential fatty acids. The right balance of these two types of fatty acids is important for the healthy functioning of many parts of the body, including brain development. Unfortunately, because the human body cannot manufacture these essential fatty acids, they must be provided through diet. These omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are found in fish, and seafood, some nuts and seeds and green leafy vegetables.
In a well-balanced diet, both omega-3's and omega-6's should be present. In modern diets, however, saturated fats and vegetable oils – all loaded with omega-6's – have become predominant. At the same time, the intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fish have declined while modern farming and commercial food production have further stripped foods of omega-3 content in an effort to prolong shelf life. The ideal omega-6 to omega-3 relationship is quoted at 4 to 1, but in persons who do not eat fish twice a week, experts believe that ratio is closer to 20 to 1, and is responsible for many of the health problems that plague us.
Given the heavy metals and other toxins found in fish, people are undertandably concerned about consuming significant amounts of seafood. And yet, by not consuming fish, we all miss the opportunity to obtain important omega-3 fats in the diet. Supplementation with a high-quality omega-3 product may be the answer.
WINOmeg3complex™ is a pharmaceutical grade omega-3 ethyl ester concentrate which is obtained from purified fish oil. The basic material is crude deep-sea fish oil.
WINOmeg3complex ™ contains 88% omega-3 ethyl esters with a 60% concentration of EPA for maximum anti-inflammatory benefit, making it approximately three times more potent than most omega-3 supplements currently available. This high concentration and optimal EPA to DHA blend is enhanced with natural lemon oil in the soft gel capsule for great lemon taste. One WINOmeg3complex™ soft gel capsule supplies 540mg of EPA and 160mg of DHA. The ratio of EPA to DHA is 3.3 to 1; a balance many experts believe is optimal for good health.
** This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Wellness International Network's (WIN) complete nutritional line is listed in the 2008 edition of the PDR® for Nonprescription Drugs, Dietary Supplements and Herbs, a trusted source of information about over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements. The PDR for Nonprescription Drugs, Dietary Supplements and Herbs is distributed to more than 300,000 physicians and healthcare professionals across the United States giving them an overview on WIN’s nutritional products.
WIN does not sell or market its products with the intent to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any specific disease or class of disease. Crossroads Initiative is an independent distributor of WIN.
Click here to see how WINOmega3 compares to other brands on the market!