Oxidative damage caused by free radicals has been implicated in the development of age-related macular degeneration [ARMD). Recent studies suggest that antioxidant vitamins and minerals can be useful in the management or prevention of this condition. To assess the normal dietary intake of the antioxidant s, 28 healthy subjects 55 years of age and over completed a diet survey. Of the 28 subjects, 26 were found to have deficient intakes; zinc and selenium were the most commonly deficient nutrients. Two over-the-counter (OTC) nutritional supplements that make claims about the antioxidant nutrients they contain (ICAPS-Pius® and Ocuvite®) were evaluated with respect to their ability to raise blood levels of two important antioxidant nutrients: zinc and beta-carotene. In a masked, cross-over study, ICAPS-Pius® and Ocuvite® significantly raiser mean serum zinc levels 24.7% and 1 8%; respectively; I CAPS-Plus® significantly raised mean beta-carotene levels by 21 .4 %, but Ocuvite® did not change the mean level significantly. Based on the probable relationship between antioxidant levels and diseases such as ARMD, these results suggest that OTC supplements might be useful for selected patients.
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