How Astaxanthin Can Help Support Your Eye Health

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    Astaxanthin has become a popular choice for those looking to support their eye health. This powerful antioxidant has an array of benefits for the eyes.

    The eyes are a beautiful part of the body that allows us to explore the world around us. But did you know there is a powerful antioxidant that can help support their health? Astaxanthin has been gaining in popularity as a way to protect our eyes and vision. Research shows that astaxanthin can provide a range of benefits, from reducing eye fatigue to protecting against age-related macular degeneration. In this article, we'll explain the advantages of astaxanthin for the eyes and other areas of the human body.

    What is astaxanthin?

    Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring carotenoid that is responsible for the vibrant pink color found in salmon, lobster, and other seafood. It is also known for its powerful antioxidant properties, which have been shown to support brain, heart, skin, and eye health. As an antioxidant, astaxanthin helps to combat oxidative stress caused by free radicals and contribute to aging.

    What is the relationship between astaxanthin and eye health?

    Astaxanthin has been gaining traction in the health and wellness industry for its ability to promote eye health. This study shows that astaxanthin can help with maintaining a healthy aqueous humor, the clear liquid in the front part of the eye responsible for keeping the eye nourished and healthy. It plays an important role in maintaining intraocular pressure and supplying nutrients to the tissues of the cornea and lens. Disruptions in the aqueous humor can contribute to various eye issues.

    Additionally, astaxanthin can also help manage VEGF(vascular endothelial growth factor) levels, which can also contribute to age-related eye issues when excess levels are present.

    Astaxanthin and oxidative stress

    Astaxanthin is a natural carotenoid with potent antioxidant properties. It has been shown to scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reduce oxidative stress in the body. ROS are highly reactive molecules that can damage cells and contribute to various health issues.

    Studies have demonstrated astaxanthin's ability to protect against oxidative stress in various tissues, including the brain, liver, and skin. It has also been shown to promote immune function and enhance physical performance. Astaxanthin's ROS-scavenging activity is believed to be a result of its unique chemical structure, allowing it to neutralize many types of free radicals.

    Astaxanthin and age related eye issues

    With age there are several common eye conditions that can affect millions of people worldwide.

    This study shows the potential for astaxanthin to manage oxidative stress and promote eye health. This is particularly relevant because the retina contains high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are vulnerable to oxidation. Though promising in what it suggests, before we can draw any conclusions about astaxanthin’s role in long–term eye health, we need more research.

    Although there are several risk factors for eye issues, such as smoking and genetics, proper nutrition is key to promoting optimal eye health. What you eat has a major impact on the health of your eyes. It appears that a diet regularly rich in fruits and vegetables, with sufficient fish, can help support good retinal health.

    One commonality among these foods is that they all contain key nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and lutein. These nutrients are essential for maintaining healthy vision and promoting eye health. However, even if you strive to eat a healthy diet full of these eye-friendly foods, there may still be gaps in your nutrition.

    That's where supplementation comes in. Taking an astaxanthin supplement can help fill those gaps and provide additional protection for your eyes.

    Astaxanthin and screen exposure

    Astaxanthin has been gaining attention for its potential benefits in reducing the negative effects of screen exposure. With the increased use of computers, smartphones, and other digital devices, people are spending more time staring at screens than ever before! This prolonged exposure to blue light emitted by screens can cause eye strain, fatigue, and impact the retina. When you stare at a screen for too long, it can decrease your blinking and impact the normal function of the eye, which contributes to eye strain.

    In one placebo-controlled study, 46% of participants who supplementing with astaxanthin over 4 weeks reported an improvement in eye strain. Another study showed the protective effects of astaxanthin on photoreceptor cells that have been exposed to blue light.

    While it is important to limit screen time whenever possible, incorporating astaxanthin into your diet can provide added protection against the negative effects of digital screens.

    Is taking astaxanthin safe for your eyes?

    Fortunately, astaxanthin has a good safety profile and no adverse effects have been reported in any clinical studies to date. This means that it is generally safe for most people to take as a dietary supplement or as part of their regular diet. When adding a new supplement to your routine, be sure to always consult with your doctor.

    Not only is it safe, but it has the potential to greatly benefit your eyes. In fact, astaxanthin can help promote capillary flow in the retina, which can lead to better oxygen and nutrient delivery to the eyes. Participants in this study took 6mg of astaxanthin daily over a 4-week period and had significantly higher retinal blood flow in comparison to the placebo group.

    What are other benefits of astaxanthin than eye health?

    Astaxanthin has been found to offer a range of health benefits beyond just eye health, particularly cardiovascular health, skin health, and brain function. Research shows that astaxanthin can promote healthy cholesterol levels for those whose levels are already within the normal range. Moreover, preliminary research shows the potential for astaxanthin to promote healthy blood pressure levels for those whose blood pressure levels fall within the normal range.

    Additionally, astaxanthin has been shown to improve skin health by reducing wrinkles and promoting elasticity. In one study, participants who supplemented with astaxanthin over a period of 6 weeks reported significant improvements in the appearance of fine lines, as well as more hydrated skin overall.

    Lastly, studies have shown that astaxanthin can promote cognitive function and protect the brain against aging effects. As we age, our brains become more vulnerable to oxidative stress, which can leadimpact mental function. Astaxanthin helps promote brain health with neuroprotective antioxidant properties by protecting the brain from free radicals that contribute to oxidative stress. One study looked at the impacts of astaxanthin on cognitive health in healthy middle aged and elderly adults who complained of age-related forgetfulness. Study participants received 6-12mg of astaxanthin daily and had positive changes in cognitive performance and memory. The antioxidant properties of astaxanthin make it an excellent supplement to support cognitive health.

    Can astaxanthin be taken with other eye health supplements?

    Astaxanthin can indeed be taken with other supportive eye health supplements. There are no negative interactions reported with other supplements meant to support eye health. Be sure to always talk to your doctor about any vision changes or concerns to make sure the underlying issues are being addressed.

    Astaxanthin vs other antioxidants

    We already know that astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant with an array of health benefits, but how does it compare to other well-known antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene? Let’s take a closer look.

    Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in the body's immune system. It works by neutralizing free radicals that can contribute to oxidative stress. Vitamin E, on the other hand, is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects cell membranes from oxidative damage. β-carotene is another antioxidant that helps protect against free radicals by converting itself into vitamin A in the body.

    While these antioxidants are important for many aspects of our health, they may not be as effective as astaxanthin when it comes to protecting against oxidative stress. This is because, unlike most antioxidants, which work in the inner (e.g., vitamin E and β-carotene) or in the outer side of the cellular membrane (e.g., vitamin C), astaxanthin stretches through the bilayer membrane, providing protection against oxidative stress by scavenging free radicals in both the inner and outer layer of the membrane.

    What is the best way to increase your astaxanthin intake?

    There are a few ways you can get more astaxanthin into your diet. One option is to consume foods that are naturally rich in astaxanthin. These include salmon, trout, shrimp, lobster, and krill. Eating these foods regularly can help boost your astaxanthin levels over time. However, it's important to note that the amount of astaxanthin in these foods can vary depending on factors, such as how they were raised or caught.

    However, consuming clinically effective doses of astaxanthin through the diet may not be sustainable or realistic. Thus, the best option is to consider taking an astaxanthin supplement. Care/of’s astaxanthin supplement is sustainably harvested from the highest quality ingredients. If you are looking for a way to enhance your eye health, while promoting cardiovascular and cognitive function, consider giving astaxanthin a try!

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Jordana Tobelem, RD
    Freelance Contributor
    Jordana Tobelem is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys helping others become the best versions of themselves through proper nutrition education. Jordana is passionate about promoting lifestyle changes through nutrition, physical activity, and behavior to create a superior quality of life. She uses her experience in the clinical field of dietetics to provide consulting services to an array of healthcare brands and companies. Jordana loves finding the most current research in nutrition to create meaningful content to share with her clients. Jordana has been a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since 2018 and also holds certifications in both Personal Training and Health Coaching.