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Vitamin E-- Vitamin B Complex B1 and B2 Slow Cataract Progression

Taking vitamin E supplements, as well as increased intake of B complex vitamins including B1 (thiamine) and B2 (riboflavin) could slow cataract progression, suggest U.S. researchers. Age-related cataract, the world's leading cause of blindness, affects more than 20 million Americans over the age of 40. Surgical procedures are currently the only known correction, but researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University are now investigating how specific vitamin intake and dietary improvements can help prevent cataracts. In a study published in the April issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology (123, pp 517-526), the scientists found that women who reported supplementing their diets with vitamin E for 10 years or more had significantly less progression of cataract development after five years of follow-up.

A similar significant decrease in cataract progression was seen in women who reported higher intakes of two of the B complex vitamins, (riboflavin and thiamin) when compared to women with lower intakes. "Our results suggest that vitamin supplementation, particularly long-term use of vitamin E, may slow down cataract development, said lead scientist Paul Jacques. These results build upon some of Jacques' earlier work. In 2001, while examining the same group of Nurses' Health Study members, Jacques and his colleagues found support for a similar role of vitamin C in the prevention of cataracts.

Writing in the May issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, Jacques and colleagues observed that higher overall dietary fat intake increased the risk of cataract development or progression, however Omega-3 Fatty Acids, in particular the types found in EPA-DHA rich fish oils appears to contribute to the prevention of cataracts also.