AREDS 2 Study Results

The National Eye Institute’s AREDS 2 study was a 5 year nationwide follow up to the original AREDS study. The AREDS 2 study results were announced on May 5, 2013 at ARVO and published online by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The primary goal of the AREDS 2 study was to reduce the risk for progression to advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Completed in 2013, the AREDS 2 study encompassed 4203 participants and 82 clinics throughout the United states.* The new AREDS 2 recommendations is based on the original AREDS formula without beta-carotene plus 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin. Viteyes® AREDS 2 supplements contain the clinically effective formula tested by the National Eye Institute (“NEI”) in its 2013 AREDS2 study. Viteyes® AREDS 2 and Viteyes® AREDS 2 Advanced formulas are found in only 2 easy-to-swallow capsules daily. Viteyes® AREDS 2 Plus Omega-3 is the same formula as the Viteyes® AREDS 2 formula plus it includes 1000 mg of omega-3 in 3 daily softgels.

Study highlights:

Due to the increased risk of lung cancer for smokers and former smokers, the AREDS 2 formula study analyzed the original AREDS formula with and without beta-carotene. Taking beta-carotene out of the formula had no overall effect on the outcome of this study. The addition of lutein and zeaxanthin also had no overall effect. However, NEI’s Emily Chew, M.D. noted “Because carotenoids can compete with each other for absorption in the body, beta-carotene may have masked the effect of the lutein and zeaxanthin in the overall analysis.”

When looking at a subset of AREDS 2 participants that took AREDS with lutein and zeaxanthin and no beta-carotene, their risk of developing advanced stages of AMD over 5 years was reduced by 18 percent, versus those in AREDS 2 who took AREDS with no beta-carotene, lutein or zeaxanthin. In addition, those AREDS 2 participants who began the study with a low intake of lutein and zeaxanthin in their diet and were supplemented with lutein and zeaxanthin during the study were “25 percent less likely to develop advanced AMD compared with participants with similar dietary intake who did not take lutein and zeaxanthin,” according to Dr. Chew.

The AREDS 2 study also tested lowering the dose of zinc. “In the original AREDS study, the dose for zinc was set high (80 mg) because a previous small trial had found that high-dose zinc was beneficial for AMD. However, some nutritionists were concerned the dose was too high.”** The AREDS 2 study tested zinc at 80 mg and 25 mg. The results showed that when lowering zinc there was “no statistically significant effect on progression to advanced AMD.”*

The AREDS 2 study is the most anticipated study since the AREDS study commenced in 2001.  The AREDS 2 study has changed the outlook on preventing AMD. Taking the recommended dosage of AREDS 2 can reduce the risk of developing late stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

*AREDS2 Research Group. “Lutein/Zeaxanthin and Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Age-Related Macular Degeneration. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA, published online May 5, 2013.
Link to NIH AREDS 2 Study Results
**NEI website 2013. AREDS 2 Media Q&A

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