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AREDS 2 Study

In 2006 the NEI launched AREDS2, a five-year study designed to test whether the original AREDS formulation could be improved by adding omega-3 fatty acids; adding lutein and zeaxanthin; removing beta-carotene; or reducing zinc.

Results from the AREDS 2 study showed that participants taking an AREDS formulation with lutein and zeaxanthin but no beta-carotene reduced their risk of developing advanced AMD by about 18 percent, compared with participants who took an AREDS formulation with beta-carotene but no lutein or zeaxanthin.

Further analysis showed that participants with low dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin at the start of the study, but who took an AREDS formulation with lutein and zeaxanthin during the study, were about 25 percent less likely to develop advanced AMD compared with participants with similar dietary intake who did not take lutein and zeaxanthin.

The study also confirmed that removing beta-carotene (Vitamin A) from the AREDS formulation did not curb the formulation’s protective effect against developing advanced AMD, an important finding because several studies have linked taking high doses of beta-carotene with a higher risk of lung cancer in smokers. Adding omega-3 fatty acids or lowering zinc to the AREDS formulation also had no effect on AMD progression.

The study was launched in 2006 and results were published in May 2013

To learn more about the study, click here .

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