According to a study done at the National Eye Institute, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is not caused by intaking a calcium-rich diet and neither by using calcium supplements. The study reveals that AMD is one of the major causes of vision loss and blindness in people aged 65 or older in the U.S. These findings contradict the results concluded by a previous study that associated calcium with AMD.
The study leader, Ms. Emily Chew said, “Although the findings suggest that high calcium intake may be protective, the jury is still out on whether people should alter their calcium intake to prevent the onset or progression of AMD.”
She further added, “These latest findings provide no evidence that there is a need to change the management of calcium intake for individuals who are already taking calcium for other medical indications.”
Ms. Chew and her colleagues examined the link between intake of calcium whether in diet or supplements and the onset of AMD or its progression. Self-reports related to calcium intake containing a questionnaire was distributed among people and information was gathered on the amount of calcium the people consumed, the form of consumption and the regularity of it in the past year. Initially, the participants had no sign of AMD. However as they aged, the connection between AMD risk reduction and calcium intake rose. Surprisingly, those who consumed more calcium had a much lower risk of developing AMD of the last stage as compared to those who did not.
Chew believed that this could be due to many other confounding factors such as the fact that those who were more cautious of maximizing calcium would also be mindful of eating a healthy diet, exercising more regularly and taking the prescribed medications, all the things that would lower the risk of AMD.