Vitamin supplements lower diabetic retinopathy risk
May 17, 2004
Source: Life Extension
In research published in the may 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ( http://www.ajcn.org/ ), the use of vitamin C and E supplements was found to be associated with a lower risk of diabetic retinopathy, yet vitamin C and E from food alone or food and supplements combined was not found to be preventive.
The study examined participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, which enrolled 15,792 men and women in 1987 and which sought to investigate the etiology of atherosclerosis. The current study examined data from 1,353 subjects with type 2 diabetes diagnosed from 1993 to 1995 or earlier. Food frequency questionnaires administered from 1987 to 1989 and 1993 to 1995 provided information on nutrient intake, including supplement use. Fundus photographs taken between 1993 and 1995 revealed the development of diabetic retinopathy in 224 individuals.
Analysis of the data revealed no association of retinopathy with vitamins C and E from food alone or from food and supplements, but a decreased risk was found among those who reported long term vitamin C or E or multinutrient supplement use. Compared to those who did not report supplement use, long term supplement users experienced a two fold reduction in the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
The authors comment that the large body of evidence from in vitro investigations, animals studies, and short term trials of supplementation suggest that vitamin C and E may help prevent retinopathy, but epidemiologic data have not found a protective effect of dietary micronutrient intake against the condition. They note the protective effect associated with vitamin C and vitamin E in supplement form that emerged in this study, which warrants further investigation.