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Nutr Rev. 2005 Jan;63(1):9-15.

Obesity, lutein metabolism, and age-related macular degeneration: a web of connections.

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Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, 711 Washington St., Boston, MA 02111, USA.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of visual impairment in the United States. Currently there is no effective cure for this disease. Risk factors include decreased lutein and zeaxanthin status and obesity. Obesity is also an increasing public health concern. The alarming increase in the prevalence of obesity further exacerbates the public health concern of AMD. The mechanism by which obesity increases the risk of AMD may be related to the physiologic changes that occur with this condition. These include increased oxidative stress, changes in the lipoprotein profile, and increased inflammation. These changes would also result in an increased destruction and a decreased circulatory delivery of lutein and zeaxanthin to the macula of the eye. Therefore, the mechanism by which obesity is related to AMD risk may be through indirect effects on changes in lutein and zeaxanthin status and metabolism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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