Purpose: To determine if short-term Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) antioxidant and zinc supplementation affects biomarkers of oxidative stress, possibly serving as a predictor of their efficacy. Design: Prospective interventional case series. Methods: Nineteen subjects, 12 with intermediate or advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (AREDS categories 3 or 4) and 7 non-AMD controls, were admitted to the Vanderbilt General Clinical Research Center and placed on a controlled diet for 7 days. Antioxidant and zinc supplements were stopped 2 weeks prior to study enrollment. Dietary supplementation with 500 mg vitamin C, 400 IU vitamin E, 15 mg β-carotene, 80 mg zinc oxide, and 2 mg cupric oxide per day was instituted on study day 2. Blood was drawn on study days 2 and 7, and plasma concentrations of cysteine (Cys), cystine (CySS), glutathione (GSH), isoprostane (IsoP), and isofuran (IsoF) were determined. Results: Short-term AREDS supplementation significantly lowered mean plasma levels of CySS in participants on a regulated diet (P =.034). No significant differences were observed for Cys, GSH, IsoP, or IsoF. There were no significant differences between AMD patients and controls. Conclusions: This pilot interventional study shows that a 5-day course of antioxidant and zinc supplements can modify plasma levels of CySS, suggesting that this oxidative stress biomarker could help predict how likely an individual is to benefit from AREDS supplementation. Further, CySS may be useful for the evaluation of new AMD therapies, particularly those hypothesized to affect redox status.
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