Bel Marra Health Weighs in on Study Showing Starving Eye Cells May Be Linked to AMD

Bel Marra Health comments on a study linking starving eye cells to AMD.

Bel Marra Health (, a company that offers specially formulated vitamins and nutritional products, is weighing in on a study showing oxygen-deprived blood vessels covering the retina may be linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels develop in the retina, causing the macula to deteriorate.

A study, conducted by the University of Montreal and published in the journal Nature Medicine, provides new insight into the causes of age-related macular degeneration. Researchers observed murine models that were unable to use fat properly and discovered abnormal blood vessels in the retina that were similar to those found in AMD. They also discovered that their test subjects developed more lesions on the retina when raised in darkness, which is known to raise the energy consumption of the retina. (Source: University of Montreal, “Starving eye cells contribute to blindness in elders,” March 14, 2016;

“This demonstrates that energy deficiency plays a role in causing AMD,” says Dr. Victor Marchione, spokesperson for Bel Marra Health. “If photoreceptors—the nerve cells that capture light and generate vision—are unable to produce energy, abnormal blood vessels may invade the retina.”

The study also suggested the cells not only use glucose as its source of energy for growth, which is what scientists had previously believed, but can use fatty acids instead. Researchers also found that glucose entry into the retina may be controlled by lipid sensors. These findings contradict the scientific belief surrounding the cause of abnormal blood vessels leading to blindness.

“Scientists had previously thought that the proliferation of abnormal blood cells was due to those cells overcompensating for the lack of oxygen, but based on the results of this study, this may not be the case,” Dr. Marchione says. “This is great news for researchers and can help them find new treatments for retinal diseases.”

Approximately 20% of the population in developed countries between the ages of 50 and 75 are affected by AMD, and it is known to be a leading cause of visual impairment among that population.

“Studies like these are very important,” Dr. Marchione concludes. “By further informing of the cause of a condition, we can better treat it.”

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