Review of nutrient actions on age-related macular degeneration

Stefania Zampatti, Federico Ricci, Andrea Cusumano, Luigi Tonino Marsella, Giuseppe Novelli, Emiliano Giardina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The actions of nutrients and related compounds on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are explained in this review. The findings from 80 studies published since 2003 on the association between diet and supplements in AMD were reviewed. Antioxidants and other nutrients with an effect on AMD susceptibility include carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin, β-carotene), vitamins (vitamin A, E, C, D, B), mineral supplements (zinc, copper, selenium), dietary fatty acids [monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA both omega-3 PUFA and omega-6 PUFA), saturated fatty acids and cholesterol], and dietary carbohydrates. The literature revealed that many of these antioxidants and nutrients exert a protective role by functioning synergistically. Specifically, the use of dietary supplements with targeted actions can provide minimal benefits on the onset or progression of AMD; however, this does not appear to be particularly beneficial in healthy people. Furthermore, some supplements or nutrients have demonstrated discordant effects on AMD in some studies. Since intake of dietary supplements, as well as exposure to damaging environmental factors, is largely dependent on population habits (including dietary practices) and geographical localization, an overall healthy diet appears to be the best strategy in reducing the risk of developing AMD. As of now, the precise mechanism of action of certain nutrients in AMD prevention remains unclear. Thus, future studies are required to examine the effects that nutrients have on AMD and to determine which factors are most strongly correlated with reducing the risk of AMD or preventing its progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-105
Number of pages11
JournalNutrition Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Antioxidants
  • Disease susceptibility
  • Food habits
  • Nutrients
  • Nutrition surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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