Diet for Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 22, 2011 at 3:56 PM

I'm afraid a fair bit of background needs to be set out before the question, please bear with me!

My mother-in-law has just been diagnosed with dry AMD at the age of 89. Her sight is very poor and the inability to read for long is making her miserable.

The leaflets I picked up from the hospital refer to epidemiological studies that show an association with consumption of antioxidant foods (particulary lutein and zeaxanthin) and reduced incidence of AMD. The conventional wisdom as set out in the leaflet now seems to be that one can halt or slow the advance of the disease with appropriate foods or supplements.

I understand that eggs are richest food source of lutein and pink shellfish and salmon have good levels of zeaxanthin. I am therefore baffled to see in the leaflet that the recommended dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin are solely vegetable.

The leaflet also refers to epidemiological evidence for an association between AMD and "trans and saturated fats". The dietary advice, however, is simply to stop eating saturated fats.

Even more baffling to hear that the GP has already advised her to stop eating eggs (and, for that matter, bacon) because they are bad for diabetes. Following the doctor's advice on diet, she now eats toast for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch instead of eggs, bacon and so on. Her face lit up when I suggested eating eggs every day, but she is worried about the eggs making her diabetes worse.

**Does anyone have experience of (a) dietary interventions for AMD and/or (b) helping an ageing relative to return to their own (more optimal) traditional food choices after adopting unhelpful medical advice on diet?

Is 89 too late now, to make any difference?**



on December 03, 2011
at 11:25 PM

Thanks very much, I'll look into Gojis.



on November 23, 2011
at 12:30 PM

I didn't realise what a huge difference there was between eggs and kale - I though I had lutein covered by eating eggs. I can see I am going to have to start eating kale. I am not hopeful that MIL will eat kale - I did mention it to her and she said "Isn't that what they feed cats?" I said, well, cattle, and she said "Yes, that's right, well I am an old cow!" and laughed. She also said later (narrowing her eyes) "And don't try and make me eat spinach!" I will ask FIL (he is the cook now) whether they will eat spring greens and brocolli.


on November 22, 2011
at 11:20 PM

Dark green veggies are the richest sources of lutein/zeaxanthin . You'd have to eat an awful lot of eggs to get as you could from one cup of kale( egg=0.2mg cup kale 26.5mg) source http://www.luteininfo.com/whereraw

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3 Answers



on December 29, 2011
at 10:44 PM

I read a while ago about a "study" done at a nursing home where they took the typical crap SAD they were feeding the patients and added 1 egg per day (so they weren't even getting rid of the grains), and very quickly they saw reversal of eye problems. I don't remember all the details, and I don't even remember where I saw the reference to that study, but I think it was in the Doctors' Eades Protein Power Lifeplan.


on December 29, 2011
at 09:13 PM

For a supplement -ICAPS AREDS formula. Here is the reference: http://www.nei.nih.gov/amd/

For Diet:

Dr. Johanna M. Seddon and her associates at Harvard University(3.) found that 6 mg per day of lutein lead to a 43 percent lower risk for macular degeneration. Half a cup of cooked kale contains 10.3 mg of lutein while one-half a cup of cooked spinach provides 6.3 mg.

The Schepens Eye Research Institute 1998 study concluded that vision loss associated with aging maybe preventable - even reversible - through improved nutrition. Although visual sensitivity decreases with age, this process need not be inevitable.

In that study, D. Max Snodderly, Ph.D., head of the laboratory at The Schepens, concluded that dietary factors associated with macular pigment appear to protect the retina from loss of sensitivity. Dark green and orange plants and fruits, like spinach, broccoli, green beans, corn and peaches, are especially effective.




on December 03, 2011
at 09:44 PM

Goji's have the highest concentration of zeaxanthin - it has been clearly associated as a major contributor of macular degeneration ( a deficiency off) there are research links to goji and macular degeneration here http://www.matakanasuperfoods.com/ms/research/msf-research-articles.html

I believe it's best to take it in a concentrated powder form where the drying process concentrates the long chain polysaccharides to 40% - but still natural wholefood powder



on December 03, 2011
at 11:25 PM

Thanks very much, I'll look into Gojis.

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