Vitamins may protect against cataracts

November 28, 2000 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Vitamins may protect against cataracts

The risk of cataracts, in which of the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and impairs vision, may be reduced by taking a daily multivitamin pill for 10 years or more, recent study findings suggest.

According to the study authors, there is evidence that certain dietary components, such as vitamins and minerals involved in protection against oxidative stress, may have a role in slowing cataract development.

However, the specific nutrients that may be responsible for the protective effect are uncertain. Also, it is not clear if lifestyle factors are responsible. For example, it is possible that vitamin users could lead healthier lives in general, which may lower their risk of cataracts.

In the new study, the researchers examined data from more than 3,000 people aged 43 to 86 years. Individuals who took a multivitamin or a supplement that contained vitamin C or E for more than 10 years had a 60% lower risk of developing a cataract regardless of other risk factors. For example, the relationship between long-term supplement use and lower cataract risk remained regardless of smoking, alcohol use, diabetes, age, weight and physical activity.

Taking multivitamins or supplements for less than 10 years did not appear to lower the risk of developing a cataract.

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