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Twin Study: Diet Rich in Vitamin C May Reduce Cataract Progression

In the first twin study of cataracts, researchers from King’s College in the UK found that dietary vitamin C had a preventative effect on cataract progression, and that genetic factors explained 35% of the variability in nuclear cataract progression, with 65% of the variability attributed to environmental causes, including diet.

The study, to be published in Ophthalmology, followed cataract progression over ten years in 324 pairs of female twins with an average age of 62.3 years. Digital Scheimpflug images were used to measure cataract progression and intake of vitamin C was determined using food questionnaires.

Seven micronutrients were analyzed for their association with cataract progression: potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, vitamins C and E and folate. Of the seven micronutrients, dietary vitamin C was associated with both better baseline scores and a 33 percent risk reduction of cataract progression.

The researchers cautioned that this association only held for dietary vitamin C. “We did not find a significantly reduced risk in people who took vitamin tablets, so it seems that a healthy diet is better than supplements,” said Kate Yonova-Doing, the study’s first author.

This study was limited to caucasian female twins of UK origin and was unable to determine carotenoid (lutein and zeaxanthin) intake of the study population.

Read the full article here: http://www.aaojournal.org/article/S0161-6420(16)00114-7/abstract

To view more articles about eye health and nutritional supplements, click here.

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