PUFAs & Age-Related Macular Degeneration
What do you get when you mix ultraviolet light, oxygen, and polyunsaturated fatty acids?
Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
D. Virgil Alfaro III, et al (Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Comprehensive Textbook, 2006) wrote …
“Age is the strongest risk factor for AMD [age-related macular degeneration] and correlates with RPE [retinal pigment epithelium] lipofuscin content. For example, at the age of 90, approximately 19% of the RPE cells are occupied by lipofuscin, compared with only 1% in the first 10 years of life. Lipofuscin is a brownish, autofluorescent pigment that accumulates from the breakdown of POS [photoreceptor outer segments] in the lysosomes of the RPE. Lipofuscin is present in many other cell types, including brain, heart muscle, and liver. It is also referred to as the ‘aging’ pigment. Lipofuscin accumulation in the RPE is a hallmark of AMD, and much greater amounts of lipofuscin are seen in atrophic AMD than in normal eyes.
“Photoreceptor loss was found to directly correlate with adjacent RPE lipofuscin accumulation. This finding suggests that the increased phagocytic and metabolic load on the RPE causes an accumulation of lipofuscin in the RPE, resulting in photoceptor death. The photoreceptors likely undergo some oxidation due to the high proportion of the easily oxidized PUFAs and therefore yield changed products that are not easily digested by RPE cells.”
Ray Peat (“Aging Eyes, Infant Eyes, and Excitable Tissues,” RayPeat dot com, 2006-2015) wrote …
“The popular supplements melatonin, tryptophan, fish oils, St. John’s wort, and the various omega-3 oils, all increase the risk of retinal light damage and macular degeneration. Serotonin uptake inhibiting antidepressants are suspected to be able to cause it.”