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Shedding Light on the Effect of Fish Oil Supplementation on Dark Adaptation Capabilities

McMurchie B, King R, Lindley M, Reynolds J, Torrens G, Kelly P (2019) Pre-print posted 10/12/19  

Web URL: Read the pre-print on chemrxiv.org

Abstract:

Docosahexanoic acid (DHA) is a polyunsaturated fatty acid found in fish oils which is known to be present in high concentrations in the retina. Dark adaptation is the process the eyes go through when moving between environments with differing light levels. While the correlation between levels of DHA and the dark adaptation ability of dyslexic individuals has previously been investigated, a link between DHA and dark adaptation in the general population has not thus far been established.

In this study, 19 individuals took fish oil supplements for four weeks, then abstained for the following six weeks. DHA levels were monitored via GC-MS analysis of fingertip prick blood samples and showed the expected increase and subsequent decrease during the two phases. Dark adaptation ability was monitored using the Crime-lite Eye™ hand-held system; after the supplementation phase, dark adaptation ability was shown to improve in the majority of participants. Immediately following the wash-out period, dark adaptation ability effectively reverted back to its original level.

These data suggest that blood DHA levels can affect the ability of an individual to dark adapt, and confirms that any changes in  dark adaptation ability caused by the fatty acid are rapidly reversible when DHA levels are returned to normal

Docosahexanoic ac
id (
DHA) i
s a polyunsat
urated fatty acid
found in fis
h oils
which
is
know
n to be
present in high concentrations
in the retina.
Dark adaptati
on is the
process the
eyes
go through when
moving betwee
n environments
with differi
ng light levels. While the correlation between levels
of
DHA
and the
dark adaptation ability of
dys
lexic
individuals
has
previously been investigated,
a link between
DHA
and dark adaptati
on in the
general
population has
not
thus far
been established. In
this
study, 19
individuals
took fish oil
supplements
for
four
weeks, then abstained for
the
following six weeks. DHA
levels were m
onitored v
ia GC
-MS
analysis
of
fingerti
p pric
k blood samples
and showe
d the
expected
increase and subsequent
decrease
dur
ing the
two phases
. Dark adaptatio
n ability was
monitored using
the
Crime
-lite Eye™ h
and
-held
system;
after
the
supplementation
pha
se,
dark adaptation ability was
shown to im
prove in
the
ma
jority
of participants. Immediately following
the w
ash
-out
period, dark
adaptation ability effectivel
y reverte
d back to its origina
l level. These data
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