Folic acid 'may prevent AMD'

Folic acid and vitamin B supplements could cut women's risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a study of over 5,000 women suggests.

US researchers assessed 5,205 women with cardiovascular disease or at least three cardiovascular risk factors.

The women were given either a placebo or combined treatment with folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.

After 7.3 years of follow up there were 55 cases of AMD in the combination group, of which 26 significantly affected visual acuity. This compared with 82 cases in the placebo group, 44 of which were visually significant.

This represents a 34 per cent reduced risk of AMD and a 41 per cent lower risk of visually significant degeneration. The researchers believe this is the first randomised study to assess such supplements in AMD.

Previous studies have shown that homocysteine is linked to AMD risk and suggested that folic acid and vitamin B supplements can lower homocysteine.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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