Vitamin B and folic acid may be useful in lowering the risk of vision loss in older people, according to a new report.
A diet supplemented by a combination of vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid appears to decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in women, researchers from Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston wrote in Archives of Internal Medicine.
The team conducted a clinical trial involving 5,442 women aged 40 and older who already had heart disease or at least three risk factors for AMD.
AMD is related to high blood levels of homocysteine which causes dysfunction of the blood vessel lining. Scientists believe vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid reduce homocysteine levels and may reverse this process.
“The trial findings are the strongest evidence to date in support of a possible beneficial effect of folic acid and B vitamin supplements in AMD prevention,” the authors write.
“From a public health perspective, this is particularly important because persons with early AMD are at increased risk of developing advanced AMD, the leading cause of severe, irreversible vision loss,” they add.
People at risk of AMD who are concerned they may not be getting enough vitamin B through their diet may consider nutritional supplements.