A study in the July 2007 issue of Nature Medicine reports that increasing the dietary intake of omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids may prevent eye disease.
Many sight-threatening diseases such as retinopathy of prematurity (a disease which affects prematurely born babies) and diabetic retinopathy feature abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye. Lois Smith and colleagues studied the influence of omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids on vessel loss and regrowth after injury in the mouse retina. They found that increasing the acids by dietary or genetic means limited pathological blood vessel growth by reducing the production of inflammatory mediators in the eye.
Western diets are often deficient in omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids, and premature infants lack this molecule, which is transferred from mother to fetus during the third trimester of pregnancy. So, supplementing omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acid intake may help prevent retinopathy.
Lois Smith (Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
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