Gordonsville, Va./Aug. 8 /PRNewswire -- Nutritional supplementation of omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), may prevent eye disease, report researchers from Harvard Medical School and the National Eye Institute.

The new study, published in the biomedical research journal Nature Medicine, has found that dietary intake of omega-3 DHA and EPA increases the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. This ratio is significant because increased omega-6 consumption is linked with an increased risk of retinopathy, a sight-threatening disease that affects 4 million premature infants and diabetics in the United States.

Retinopathy of prematurity and diabetic retinopathy feature abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye. The team of researchers studied the influence of omega-3s on vessel loss and regrowth after injury in the mouse retina. They determined increasing the omega-3 acids by dietary intake limited pathological blood vessel growth by reducing the production of inflammatory mediators in the eye.

This study also confirms that Western diets are often deficient in omega-3. Statistics verify that Americans have the lowest intake of omega-3 of any developed country. DHA, the omega-3 present in every cell membrane of the human body, is also highly concentrated in the brain, retina, and heart. It is vital to good health.

Studies published in peer-reviewed journals have determined that patients with a variety of diseases are often deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, and other B vitamins such as vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.

From the August 13, 2007, Prepared Foods e-Flash