Trans-Fats Increase Risk of Macular Degeneration

A new study shows that trans-fats increase the risk associated with macular degeneration.  The same study shows that fish and olive oil provide protection against the development of macular degeneration.

Higher trans-fats was associated with an increased development of late macular degeneration.  It was also shown that higher omega-3 fatty acids was inversely associated with early macular degeneration.  The intake of olive oil was shown to be associated witha  decreased prevalence of late macular degeneration.

Trans-fatty acides (TFA) are formed as liquid vegetable fats are hardened through partial hydrogenation.  Trans-fats are typically found in shortenings and processed foods and while originally linked to an increase risk of heart disease, this latest study shows that trans-fats increases the risk associated with late macular degeneration.

Other studies have shown that trans-fats were associated with increased risk of macular degeneration as well.  The first study involved only 261 patients with the eye disease characterized as early macular degeneration.  Trans-fats were shown to be associated with an increased risk of macular degeneration progressing to the late stages of the eye disease in the study.  The second study also sowed that the intake of trans-fats was associated with an increased risk of developing the eye disease macular degeneration.

In this latest study, omega-3 fatty acids were shown to reduce the risk associated with macular degeneration.  Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are found in the rod outer segments of the retina and the deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids have been suggested to cause the onset of macular degeneration.  Omega-3 fatty acids have also been suggested to help as an antioxidant and thought to help decrease the damage caused to the eye by free radicals.

Olive oil is rich in vitamin E, polyphenols and oleocanthal.  Vitamin E and polyphenols are both powerful antioxidants and oleocanthal is known to be an anti-inflammatory compound similar to ibuprofen.  The latest study has shown that olive oil may be associated with a decreased risk of macular degeneration.

With trans-fats increasing the risk of macular degeneration and olive oil / omega-3 fatty acids shown to decrease risk of macular degeneration, investigators have concluded that a diet low in trans-fats and high in the other fats may reduce the risk of macular degeneration.