Vitamin B1 Intake Inversely Associated with Late Age-Related Macular Degeneration

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Higher vitamin B1 intake levels were associated with lower prevalence of late AMD in an analysis of NHANES data from 2005 to 2008.

Vitamin V1 intake levels were inversely associated with the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) among a population of adults aged 40 years or older in the United States, according to new research.1

The cross-sectional analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2005 to 2008 revealed a higher intake of vitamin B1 was associated with a lower prevalence of late AMD, while no effect was seen on early AMD.

“By using 2 cycles from the NHANES (2005 - 2006 and 2007 - 2008), we found that people who consumed more vitamin B1 had lower odds of being diagnosed with late AMD in people aged 40 and older in the USA, when taking into account a number of potential confounding variables,” wrote the investigative team, led by Chaoyang Hong, from the center for rehabilitation medicine, department of ophthalmology, Zhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital.

Given the worldwide aging population, the incidence of AMD is anticipated to grow at a rapid and consistent rate, with nearly 288 million people expected to have retinal disease by 2040.2 In 2020, it was estimated that approximately 1.8 million people aged ≥50 years went blind due to AMD, accounting for 5.4% of global blindness.

Prior studies have investigated common factors influencing AMD development, ranging from age and sex to smoking and alcohol consumption to genetic and environmental factors. In recent years, there has been increased focus on the dietary elements involved in the prevention of AMD or delay into later stages.3 The connection between Vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, and AMD has been thoroughly studied, but the findings remain inconclusive.

As Vitamin B1 has strong oxidant properties, and oxidative stress plays a critical role in AMD development, Hong and colleagues suggested the possibility that vitamin B1 could decrease the risk of AMD.1 Their cross-sectional analysis examined the association between vitamin B1 consumption and prevalence of late AMD using NHANES data from 2005 to 2008, as AMD examinations and vitamin B1 intake were publicly accessible from these cycles.

Patients aged ≥40 years are considered the target demographic for AMD-related screenings – thus, those who had complete information about AMD and vitamin B1 intake were included for analysis. The amount of vitamin B1 consumption was used as the study’s independent variable and evaluated by two 24-hour food recalls. The presence of AMD as determined by NHANES via fundus photographs served as the analysis’ primary outcome.

A total of 20,497 people participated in NHANES from 2005 to 2008. After eliminating those without data on AMD, 5485 individuals were analyzed: 5054 participants were diagnosed with no AMD, while 378 and 53 participants were diagnosed with early and late AMD, respectively.

Overall, 5107 people were included for further data analysis by investigators. Those without AMD had an average age of 55.81 years, compared to an average age of 77.10 years for those diagnosed with late AMD. Compared with no AMD, individuals were likely to have a lower intake of vitamin B1 (1.17 vs. 1.62; P <.0001).

Using logistic regression models, investigators found higher vitamin B1 consumption was statistically associated with lower rates of late AMD, suggesting intake of vitamin B1 was lower in those with late AMD. In the unadjusted model, data showed a negative association between vitamin B1 consumption levels and late AMD (odds ratio [OR], 0.40; 95% CI, 0.26 - 0.62).

After adjusting for age, sex, race, marriage status, education, and total energy intake, investigators found vitamin B1 consumption levels and late AMD were inversely associated (OR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.29 - 0.94). The negative correlation continued after all adjustments were made (OR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.36 - 0.99). For early AMD, investigators noted there was no identified statistical association between vitamin B1 intake and early AMD.

“In order to have a better understanding of the longitudinal and causal relationship between vitamin B1 intake and late AMD, further randomized clinical trials among multiple centers are still required,” investigators wrote.


  1. Zheng Q, Shen T, Xu M, Tan L, Shen Z, Hong C. Association between dietary consumption of vitamin B1 and advanced age-related macular degeneration: a cross-sectional observational study in NHANES 2005-2008. Ophthalmic Res. Published online November 3, 2023. doi:10.1159/000534819
  2. Wong WL, Su X, Li X, Cheung CM, Klein R, Cheng CY. Global prevalence of age-related macular degeneration and disease burden projection for 2020 and 2040: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Glob Health. 2014;2(2):e106–16.
  3. Pameijer EM, Heus P, Damen JAA, Spijker R, Hooft L, Ringens PJ. What did we learn in 35 years of research on nutrition and supplements for age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review. Acta Ophthalmol. 2022;100(8):e1541–52.