AREDS Supplements May Not Work For Your Macular Degeneration.

According to the peer-reviewed published results of the clinical study known as NIH Age-Related Eye Disease study (AREDS study), we know that:

  • Patients categorized as high risk for developing the advanced form of AMD (i.e., patients in category 3 and 4 as explained below) could reduce their risk of disease progression with AREDS formula by about 25%.
  • AREDS formula cannot prevent or delay the development of AMD. It means that high risk and disease-free individuals do not benefit from the AREDS supplements for preventing development of AMD.
  • AREDS eye supplements have no benefits on early AMD (the early stage of the disease). If you are diagnosed with early stage dry AMD, the AREDS formula wouldn’t help you. AREDS vitamin supplement does not affect the progression of AMD in its early stage.
  • AREDS supplements have no effect on development or prevention of cataracts.

Researchers at the NIH National Eye Institute conducted the Age-Related Eye Disease Studies 1 and 2 (AREDS1 and AREDS2; also known as AREDS I and AREDS II) in order to find out whether taking a nutritional supplement made with high levels of vitamins and minerals for eyes could protect against AMD and cataracts.
AREDS clinical studies designed to test the effect of high doses of micronutrients on the incidence (development of new cases) and also progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). They also evaluated whether AREDS supplement was helpful against cataracts. The micronutrients that were used in the AREDS clinical study are vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene and zinc with copper, and in a later study (known as AREDS 2 study) lutein was also included in one arm of the study. Participants were followed for about 6 years, and were categorized by the presence of drusen and diagnosis of AMD into one of four categories described below:
1. Category 1 (no AMD): a few small drucens or no drusen.
2. Category 2 (early AMD): pigment abnormalities, extensive small drusen or at least 1 intermediate size druse. If your eye care professional has recently examined your eye and discovered that you might have AMD, it is very likely that you have early AMD (category 2). Your visual performance may not be affected now, but you are at high risk of vision impairment.
3. Category 3 (intermediate AMD): geographic atrophy not involving the center of the macula, extensive intermediate drusen, or at least 1 large drusen.
4. Category 4 (advanced AMD in one eye): visual acuity less than 20/32 due to advanced AMD in one eye.

Summary of results from the NIH AREDS studies:
 Patients categorized as high risk for developing the advanced form of AMD (i.e., patients in category 3 and 4 as explained above) could reduce their risk of disease progression with AREDS formula by about 25%. It means that if have intermediate AMD, there is a high risk that it will progress to the advanced form even if you take AREDS vitamin supplements.
2- AREDS formula have no benefit for preventing development of new cases of AMD. If you are at increased risk of developing AMD, for example because of your family history or poor diet choices, AREDS formula will not help you to prevent or delay developing AMD.
3- AREDS supplements are not effective in treating early AMD (patients with category 1 or category 2 AMD as explained above). If your AMD is recently diagnosed after an eye examination by your doctor it is very likely that you have early AMD. In this case that you have early stage of dry AMD, the AREDS formula will not help you and it is very likely that your AMD will progress and cause vision impairment.
4- Only in the intermediate stage of AMD the AREDS eye vitamin supplements can help you reduce the risk of disease progression, and that is by about 25% reduction of the risk.
5- AREDS formula are not beneficial for patients that have the advanced form of AMD.
It is devastating to be diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration, and unfortunately the treatment options for patients with AMD are very limited.
It is evident that there is a significant unmet medical need to help patients with AMD. We hear from customers with early AMD that were told by their health care professional about lack of treatment options for early AMD. The patient was told they should wait until the disease has progressed to the intermediate stage in order to recommend taking AREDS products! This is unfortunate as there are many recent research that have shown the beneficial effects of natural products such as saffron and resveratrol in management of AMD, especially in its early stage.

Important note: The nutritional supplements that have been tested in AREDS 1 and AREDS 2 studies, have only been proven effective in people with specific stages of AMD.  Based on AREDS studies, there was no proven evidence in using “eye vitamin” supplements for the primary prevention of eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Role of beta-carotene and concern for risk of lung cancer
Did you know that beta-carotene is present in some eye supplements made based on AREDS studies? And that you may not wish to take these products as beta-carotene is shown to be associated with increased risk of developing lung cancer among smokers.

Saffron and resveratrol for macular degeneration:
Saffron 2020 is a patented eye supplement, approved by Health Canada, which has been developed based on advanced research findings to tackle AMD regardless of disease stage. This unique product is developed to help maintain eyesight and improve a sufferer’s quality of life.  This nutritional supplement, which is also suitable for smokers, is based on earlier research in 2010 that suggested saffron may help protect against failing eyesight in age-related macular degeneration (AMD); the most common cause of blindness in old people.

There is no other similar product on the market made with synergistic combination of saffron and resveratrol for helping to maintain eyesight in macular degeneration. To learn more about saffron products click here….

McBee WL, Lindblad AS, Ferris FL 3rd. Who should receive oral supplement treatment for age-related macular degeneration? Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2003 Jun;14(3):159-62.

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