A combination of nutrients improves vision and reverses pathological changes in adults with early macular degeneration, according to a recent study conducted by Italian researchers.
Macular degeneration is the major cause of vision loss in adults over 55 years of age. While epidemiological studies have shown that an antioxidant-rich diet may help prevent macular degeneration, this new study demonstrates an effective nutritional treatment for the adverse effects of early macular degeneration.
This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolled 106 patients with bilateral macular degeneration. The subjects received either a nutrient combination or placebo for 12 months. The nutrient combination included 200 mg acetyl L-carnitine, 780 mg omega-3 fatty acids, and 20 mg coenzyme Q10 daily. Patients underwent visual testing every three months.
Treatment improved visual field defects in both eyes. Only one of 102 eyes treated with the nutrient triad deteriorated during the 12-month study, compared to 14 of 110 placebo-treated eyes. Moreover, the area of the eye's fundus covered by drusen (degenerated retinal pigment cells that are a precursor to macular degeneration) in the treated group decreased by 15% to 23%, while increasing by more than 10% in the placebo group.
The nutrients were selected based on their biological activities. Specifically, acetyl-L-carnitine facilitates fatty acid oxidation, omega-3 fatty acids regulate neural and sensory development in the retina, and coenzyme Q10 is critical to the generation of energy in the mitochondria. The results suggest that supporting mitochondrial health may be useful in preventing and managing macular degeneration.
It is interesting to note that Dr. Stephen Sinatra, M.D. recommends a similar protocol, however in higher doses for mitochondrial support for heart health in his book The Sinatra Solution. The mitochondrial optimizer protocol was designed to support metabolic energy in all organs.
Feher J, Kovacs B, Kovacs I, Schvoller M, Papale A, Balacco Gabrieli C. Improvement of visual functions and fundus alterations in early age-related macular degeneration treated with a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine, n-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10. Ophthalmologica. 2005 May-Jun;219(3):154-66.