Food and Behaviour Research

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22 Jun 2015 - Nutraingredients - B vitamins may slow cataract occurrence & development: AREDS data

Stephen Daniells

Increased dietary intakes of B vitamins are associated with reduced incidence and decreased risks of developing different forms of cataracts in older people, says new data from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group.

Vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 and B12 were all associated with a protective effect against nuclear and cortical lens opacities, according to data fro 3115 people aged between 55 and 80, and followed up for an average of 9.6 years.

"The totality of the evidence from our study and other studies suggests that B vitamins may have a role in slowing cataract development", wrote the authors, led by Tanya Glaser, MD, from the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health, in the Journal Opthalmology.

"However, additional evidence would be needed to make definitive clinical recommendations. Identification of micronbutrients that retard cataract progression would serve as a cost-effective way to reduce the disease burden of age-related cataracts."

Commenting on the potential mechanism of action, Dr Glaser and her co-authors note that cataract development may be linked to oxidative stress, and that B vitamins may help to maintaineye health by functioning as co-factors in the enzymatic action of antioxidants.

"It is biologically plausible that their importance may be attributed to their function in the metabolic pathway that eliminates homocysteine, wherein vitamins B6 and B12 act as enzymatic co-factors", they wrote.