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HomeminewsDHA Crosses Retina, Wards Off AMD

DHA Crosses Retina, Wards Off AMD

For the first time, researchers have developed a form of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that is capable of crossing into the eye’s retina to ward off visual declines related to Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and other disorders including age-related macular degeneration.

The DHA found in fish oil capsules and other supplements is typically in a form called triacylglycerol (TAG) DHA. Although TAGDHA has benefits in other parts of the body, it does not reach the eyes because it cannot travel from the bloodstream into the retina.

For this study, presented at the annual American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, researchers created a new lysophospholipid form of DHA, or LPC-DHA.

After six months, mice that were fed LPC-DHA daily showed a 96% improvement in retinal DHA content as well as preserved retinal structure and function. In contrast, TAG-DHA supplements had no effect on retinal DHA levels or function.

“Dietary LPC-DHA is enormously superior to TAG-DHA in enriching retinal DHA and could be potentially beneficial for various retinopathies in patients,” said Sugasini Dhavamani, a research assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The results suggest that LPCDHA supplements could help to prevent Alzheimer’s-related declines in visual function.

Researchers say the approach should also be helpful for other disorders in which DHA deficiency and vision impairment are common.