Dietary Habits, Fatty Acids and Carotenoid Levels Are Associated with Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Chinese

Nutrients. 2019 Jul 25;11(8):1720. doi: 10.3390/nu11081720.


The role of diet and circulatory carotenoids and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are implicated in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) but not well studied in Chinese. However, other fatty acids were not comprehensively evaluated if it had additional consequence on AMD. This study investigated the relationship among dietary habits, fatty acids levels, carotenoids and AMD in Hong Kong Chinese adults. In this cross-sectional case-controlled study, plasma fatty acids including, saturated fatty acids (SFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and carotenoids levels were quantified between patients with neovascular AMD (n = 99) and age-gender-matched controls (n = 198). A food frequency questionnaire was also conducted. Low blood carotenoid levels and omega-3 PUFAs namely DHA, EPA and -linolenic acid increased the odds ratio of developing neovascular AMD. High blood omega-6 PUFAs specifically arachidonic acid and eicosadienoic acid, oleic acid (a MUFA) and SFA levels increased the odds ratio of having neovascular AMD. Neovascular AMD group had significantly less omega-3 PUFA rich food (vegetables, nuts, seafood) intake and higher SFA (meat) intake than controls. In short, neovascular AMD was associated with lower circulatory levels of carotenoids and omega-3 PUFAs, and higher level of omega-6 PUFAs, oleic acid and SFAs in the Hong Kong Chinese population. These findings enhance the understandings of dietary impacts on neovascular AMD and provide a context for future nutritional intervention studies.

Keywords: carotenoids; macular degeneration; polyunsaturated fatty acid; saturated fatty acid.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage
  • Carotenoids / blood*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids / blood*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / diagnosis
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology*
  • Macular Degeneration / pathology
  • Macular Degeneration / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic*
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids
  • Carotenoids