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HomeminewsDairy Could Protect against Late AMD

Dairy Could Protect against Late AMD

Regular consumption of dairy foods may prevent late macular degeneration, a study by the Centre for Vision Research suggests.

The research findings have been released ahead of Macular Degeneration Awareness Week, which runs from 25 – 31 May with the message, “Don’t be in the dark about Macular Degeneration”.

Using data from the 15 year Blue Mountains Eye Study, the CVisR has investigated the relationship between consumption of milk, cheese and yogurt and age-related macula degeneration (AMD).

“We found that over a 15 year period, people who consumed less than one serve of dairy a day had a higher risk of developing late AMD compared to people who consumed more than two-and-three-quarter serves of dairy a day,” lead CVisR researcher Bamini Gopinath said.

The Blue Mountains Eye Study, which monitored the eye health and nutrition of more than 3,500 Australians, established eye health with baseline data and re-examinations at two five-year intervals using retinal photographs of the macula.

These have been graded for the presence of early and late AMD. Early AMD is defined as the presence of either large indistinct soft or reticular drusen or both large distinct soft drusen and retinal pigmentary abnormalities. Late AMD is defined as the appearance of neovascular AMD or geographic atrophy.

Dr. Gopinath said it was unclear which of the 10 essential nutrients found in dairy was responsible for the protection against late AMD.

“Many of the nutrients found in dairy products could underlie the observed beneficial effect, including calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, dairy protein and a broad range of fatty acids,” she said.

“In particular Vitamin D and Vitamin B have properties that could protect against the development of the disease.”

There is accumulating evidence that regular consumption of dairy foods could counteract the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

“Given that systemic risk factors such as obesity and cardiovascular risk factors have also been linked with AMD there is a potential for regular consumption of dairy products to modify the risk of AMD in older adults,” Dr. Gopinath said.