Lutein and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Lutein is a component of macular pigment. DHA is in the retina.

The objective of this 4-mo study was to determine the effects of lutein (12 mg/d) and DHA (800 mg/d) on their serum concentrations and macular pigment optical density (MPOD).

Forty-nine women (60-80 y) were randomly assigned to placebo, DHA, lutein, or lutein + DHA supplement. Serum was analyzed for lutein and DHA (0, 2, and 4 mo). MPOD was determined (0 and 4 mo) at 0.4, 1.5, 3, and 5 degrees temporal retinal eccentricities. Serum was analyzed for lipoproteins (4 mo).

There was no interaction between lutein and DHA supplementations for serum lutein and MPOD. The lutein supplementation x DHA supplementation x month interaction was significant for serum DHA response (P < 0.05). In the lutein group, serum lutein increased from baseline at 2 and 4 mo (P < 0.001), and MPOD increased at 3.0 degrees (P < 0.01). In the DHA group, serum DHA increased at 2 and 4 mo (P < 0.0001), and MPOD increased at 0.4 degrees (P < 0.05). In the lutein + DHA group, serum lutein and DHA increased at 2 and 4 mo (P < 0.01), and MPOD increased at 0.4, 1.5, and 3 degrees (P = 0.06, 0.08, and 0.09, respectively). Differences from placebo in lipoprotein subfractions were greatest for the lutein + DHA group (4 mo).

Lutein supplementation increased MPOD eccentrically. DHA resulted in central increases. These results may be due to changes in lipoproteins. Lutein and DHA may aid in prevention of age-related macular degeneration.

PMID: 18469279

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