The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a new report analyzing a decade of data related to AREDS2, a vitamin and mineral supplement with lutein, vitamin C, zeaxanthin, zinc and vitamin E.
AREDS2, whose name refers to the second formulation of a supplement used in Age-Related Eye Disease Studies, can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration.
The AREDS2 formulation replaces the beta-carotene in the original formulation with the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
NIH decided to move away from beta-carotene after observing an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers in earlier NIH-backed research. “Our goal with AREDS2 was to create an equally effective supplement formula that could be used by anyone, whether or not they smoke,” said Dr. Emily Chew, director of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Application at the National Eye Institute (NEI). “This 10-year data confirms that not only is the new formula safer, it’s actually better at slowing AMD progression,” Chew said in a news release.
The AREDS study began in 1996 and concluded that supplementation with vitamin C, vitamin E, copper, zing and beta-carotene could slow the progression of AMD.
In 2006, NIH researchers began testing the AREDS2 formulation, which omitted beta-carotene and replaced it with lutein and zeaxanthin.
After five years, the scientists found that the revised formulation slowed AMD progression by about one-quarter.
At ten years, the group found that recipients who received AREDS2 had an additional 20% lower risk of progression to late AMD than those who received the original AREDS version with beta-carotene.
Bausch + Lomb (NYSE:BHC) is a prominent manufacturer of the AREDS2 supplement.