Omega-3 Rich Oils Help Fight Macular Degeneration in 55+ Seniors

Macular degeneration, the gradual loss of central vision, is one of the leading causes of blindness among 55+ seniors. Macular degeneration occurs in two forms. These are dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. There is no cure for dry macular degeneration and it occurs gradually. Wet macular degeneration occurs quickly and treatment is necessary upon the appearance of symptoms as this is more serious than dry macular degeneration. High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity, smoking and light exposure can increase your risk of macular degeneration. However, there is good news for those at high risk of macular degeneration. Scientists have found Omega-3 rich oils may help prevent the dysfunction in retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) responsible for macular degeneration and retinopathy.

The Study

According to a study, the incubation of retinal cells with vegetable oil, especially Omega-3, induced biochemical and biophysical changes in the cell membranes. This may have a beneficial impact on preventing or slowing macular degeneration and retinopathy. Membrane fluidity indicates cell function. A decrease in the fluidity can affect rotation and diffusion of proteins and other bio-molecules within the membrane. Increase in membrane fluidity increases membrane flexibility and enables the transmission of light through the eyes. The study found Omega-3 fatty acids increase plasma membrane fluidity. So, if you wish to avoid macular degeneration and retinopathy, ensure your diet is low in trans-unsaturated fats and high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

What is Omega-3?

Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely vital nutrients important for our bodies to function normally. As essential fatty acids are not produced by the body, we need to ensure we get these fatty acids via foods. Omega-3 has a number of health benefits. These fatty acids reduce inflammation throughout the body, lower triglyceride levels, and blood pressure and help with depression, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia and many more health conditions. There are several varieties of Omega-3 fatty acids. However, the most crucial ones are EPA and DHA. These are found in fish. The top five sources of fish, highest in Omega-3 fatty acids, are

  • Sardines – 1,950mg of Omega-3 fatty acids per 3-oz serving
  • Salmon – 1,060mg of Omega-3 fatty acids per 3-oz serving
  • Tuna (canned) – 900mg of Omega-3 fatty acids per 3-oz serving
  • Mussels – 700mg of Omega-3 fatty acids per 3-oz serving
  • Rainbow Trout – 630mg of Omega-3 fatty acids per 3-oz serving

Apart from these fish, there are other foods that contain high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. These include flaxseed oil, fish roe, ready-to-eat cereals, nuts, cauliflower, avocado, eggs etc.

If you wish to avoid macular degeneration, retinopathy and a host of other diseases, you should consider a diet high in Omega-3. You can also take Omega-3 supplements. An average Omega-3 supplement capsule may contain approximately 1,000 mg of omega-3s. This is an ideal amount especially if you are an active adult careful with your diet, and exercise on a regular basis. However, it is advisable to consider medical opinion before taking any supplement.

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