New Australian research has found an association between low serum levels of folate and vitamin B12 and an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as elevated serum homocysteine (tHey) and an increased risk of incident AMD.
Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the research found that participants who reported supplementary vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) intake had a 47% reduced risk of developing incident AMD, and that total intake of vitamin B12 (dietary and supplement) was the modifiable factor most strongly related to reduced incidence of AMD.
Researchers analysed data from 1,390 participants in the Blue Mountains Eye Study in Australians aged 55 and over. Serum tHey, folate and vitamin B12 levels were measured at baseline, and eye examinations were conducted at five and ten years. Intakes of folate and vitamin B12 were assessed using food questionnaires.
One limitation of the study was that serum B12 was measured, rather than methylmalonic acid (MMA) or holotranscobalamin, both regarded as better indicators of reduced B12 function in vivo. In addition, no assessment of genetic subtypes (MTHFR) was undertaken to determine if these phenotypes predisposed subjects to AMD, or if these subgroups accounted for the low function of Vitamin B12 or folate.
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