Zinc and AMD

Some people have a unique genetic profile that causes a negative response to zinc. They should not take these supplements.

Questions and Answers About Zinc and AMD

Why is zinc important for AMD?

A key immune gene (CFH) has variations associated with age-related macular degeneration. The forms that are associated with AMD are particularly sensitive to zinc, which may make the condition worse. However, people with AMD without this genetic variable are not negatively affected. It is the interaction of these variants with these higher concentrations of zinc that can result in accelerated eye damage in some people.

Research References:

Zinc-induced self-association of complement C3b and Factor H: implications for inflammation and age-related macular degeneration. Read More.

CFH and LOC387715/ARMS2 genotypes and treatment with antioxidant and zinc of age-related macular degeneration. Read More.

CFH and ARMS2 genetic polymorphisms predict response to antioxidants and zinc in age-related macular degeneration. Read More.

CFH and ARMS2 genetic risk determines progression to neovascular age-related macular degeneration after antioxidant and zinc supplementation. Read More.

If the test reveals that I have the gene variation do I have to avoid all intake of zinc?

No. The National Institutes of Health’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc is 11 mg/day for men and 8 mg/day for women. Zinc is an essential mineral required for many normal processes in the body.

Approximately two-thirds of the participants in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) took a daily multivitamin that contained 8-11 mg/day zinc. At this dose of zinc, no adverse effects were observed in any patients with any grouping of genetic variables. The zinc dose studied in AREDS/AREDS 2 was greater than 25 mg/day and the benefits and risks appear to be specific to the higher dose of zinc above and beyond the RDA present in most simple multivitamin tablets. The Macula Risk test identifies individuals who should avoid long-term zinc in doses of 25mg/day and higher

Recent research (2019) confirms that patients who took zinc dosages of 25 mg/day had similar responses to patients who took 80 mg/day. For zinc sensitive patients, low zinc (i.e. 25 mg/day) is not a safe alternative to no-zinc supplements.

It is important to achieve the recommended daily allowance for zinc from a combined intake of both diet and potential multivitamin intake for all individuals. AMD patients with any genetic group can continue taking multivitamins with the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of zinc.

Research References:

Lutein + zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids for age-related macular degeneration: the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) randomized clinical trial. Read More.

No CFH/ARMS2 interaction with omega-3 fatty acids, low vs high zinc, or beta- carotene vs. lutein/zeaxanthin on progression of age- related macular degeneration in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Age- Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Report No. 18. Read More.

“In my practice, I educate all my patients with macular degeneration that the standard AREDS 2 formulation with zinc and copper does more harm than good for 15% of people. So it is imperative that they undergo ArcticDx’s Macula Risk or Vita Risk DNA testing before I institute therapy. I always recommend VisiVite.”

Dr. Paul Krawitz M.D.

Ophthalmologist (Huntington Station, New York)