The United States National Eye Institute performed two prospective evaluations of thousands of people with macular degeneration, called the Age-Related Eye Disease Studies, or "AREDS."
The initial AREDS research in 2001 showed that five ingredients were more effective than placebo in slowing the progression of macular degeneration. These ingredients included beta-carotene, Vitamin C and E, and the minerals zinc and copper.
The subsequent AREDS 2 research showed some improvement over the original AREDS. Its findings are summarized below:
- A modified AREDS Formula with both Lutein and Zeaxanthin, but without beta-carotene, was 18% more effective than AREDS1.
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin absorption was improved when beta-carotene was removed from the formula.
- Beta carotene was again proven to increase lung cancer in former smokers.
- No significant decrease in benefit was found with 25 mg daily Zinc versus 80 mg.
- Omega 3s were NOT found to be beneficial in Grade 3 and 4 macular degeneration patients.