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New form of omega-3 protects against blindness

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A form of omega-3 can protect against the most common causes of blindness.

Commercially-available DHA omega-3 fish oils are great for almost every part of the body—except the eyes.  They can’t travel from the bloodstream into the retina.

Scientists at the University of Illinois have developed a new form of omega-3, which they call lysophospholipid DHA (LPC-DHA), that delivers DHA (docosahexaenoic) to the eyes, and protects them from blindness caused by health conditions such as AMD (age-related macular degeneration), diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

DHA is concentrated in the retina, where it helps maintain photoreceptors, the cells that convert light into signals that are sent to the brain.  But diseases such as AMD reduce DHA levels to such an extent that it can result in blindness.

The LPC-DHA supplements bypass the intestinal barrier and reach the retina, as the researchers discovered when they tested the formula on laboratory mice.  After six months, the mice fed the new formula had a 96 percent improvement in retinal DHA compared to those given the standard DHA supplements.

The mice were given doses equivalent to 250 mg to 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids every day.

Human trials are expected to start soon.

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References
Proceedings of the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, March 28, 2023
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