supplements may not help prevent vision loss, contrary to the popular belief
that carrots, rich in the beta-carotene compound, sharpen eyesight.
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital examined the effect of beta-carotene supplementation in the prevention of an eye disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The condition causes vision loss, and it is the leading cause of blindness in Americans who are older than 60 years of age, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
In the randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial, 22,071 allegedly healthy U.S. male physicians, who were 40-84 years old, were randomly assigned to receive 50mg of beta-carotene or placebo every other day.
After 12 years of treatment and follow-up, 162 patients in the beta-carotene group developed AMD, verses 170 cases in the placebo group. The results, published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, were similar for the secondary end points of AMD with or without vision loss (275 verses 274 cases) and advanced AMD (63 verses 66 cases).
The authors concluded that beta-carotene supplementation might have no beneficial or harmful effect on the incidence of AMD. Based on the results of the study, which was funded by the NIH, long-term supplemental use of beta-carotene neither decreases nor increases the risk of AMD.
For more information about integrative therapies for AMD, please visit Natural Standard's Medical Conditions database.