Our days can get hectic, with many stressors in life demanding our attention. Our internal systems require a lot from us, from using our eyes to navigate the world, using our joints to remain mobile, and keeping our stamina and endurance up to face the day. Often, we wake up the next morning still feeling the repercussions of yesterday’s demands. By introducing astaxanthin in our lives, our recovery can be minimized, preparing ourselves for a better tomorrow.
What Is Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, the pigment responsible for the pinkish hue found in fish, crustaceans, and certain algaes. Mostly aquatic in nature, astaxanthin is most well-known in wild salmon, accountable for its strikingly reddish hue.
A carotenoid acts as a type of antioxidant for humans and is an active compound that provides protection for the immune system. Carotenoids are also believed to have anti-inflammatory effects, enabling them to prevent or slow the progression of certain afflictions by reducing the oxidative and inflammatory stress placed on cells. Some types of carotenoids include lutein and beta-carotene (the orange found in carrots), but astaxanthin is known as the “King of the Carotenoids” because of its high potency. 10 times more potent than beta-carotene and 500 times more potent than vitamin E, astaxanthin is the clear champion of carotenoids.
Astaxanthin and Eye Health
Maintaining health visual function is important as we age. Many things can affect eye health, including too much screen time, lack of proper eye protection in the sun, overuse of eyedrops, smoking, drinking, and aging. Astaxanthin can help protect our eyes from further strain, deterioration, and age-related diseases, allowing us to live a longer, healthier life.
UV Light Protection
Astaxanthin has been found to protect eyes from UV radiation and exposure. Because of the antioxidants found in astaxanthin, it has been noted that astaxanthin may have the capability to repair damage done to the eyes due to excessive light such as UV light, blue light, or bright lights in general.
Improving Capillary Circulation with Astaxanthin
In a randomized, double-blind placebo controlled study, 20 healthy volunteers ingested 12 milligrams of astaxanthin over a 4 week period. The results found a significant increase in improving blood capillary circulation of the eyes with no adverse effects. Improving blood capillary circulation enables our bodies to deliver nutrients to the eye and cycle out waste material, which may allow for better support of our overall eye health.
Astaxanthin and Macular Degeneration
Astaxanthin has also been found to improve eye conditions and play a protective role for the eyes in afflictions particularly related to macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is characterized as progressive damage to the macula (the central part of the retina) which can result in blurring and vision loss.
In a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled parallel group comparison study, 48 subjects aged 45 to 64 years who complained of eye strain took a multiple dietary supplement containing astaxanthin, lutein, and cyanidin-3- glucoside for four consecutive weeks. At the end of the four weeks, they found that their Near-point accommodation (NPA) was significantly higher than the placebo group and they also felt significant improvement of stiff shoulders and neck and blurred vision. These results suggest that the multiple dietary supplement including astaxanthin should improve both accommodative ability and also symptoms related to eye fatigue.
In another study, 27 older patients who had macular degeneration were provided a supplement containing astaxanthin for 12 months and it was found that they experienced significant improvements in the function of their central retina at both the half-year mark and full-year mark. This showcases continued improvements as the supplements were continuously taken throughout the year.
Other Benefits of Astaxanthin for Ocular Diseases
Astaxanthin can have many health benefits and has been linked to protecting cellular damage in the brain and vascular system. But, a growing number of studies suggest that astaxanthin can be extremely beneficial for ocular diseases. Some aspects of ocular disease astaxanthin can help with include:
- Astaxanthin has been shown to significantly reduce retinal ganglion cells apoptosis, or the death of retinal ganglion cells, that are responsible for the progression of retinal damage in retinal disorders, such as glaucoma, and other optic neuropathies. Through the neuroprotective effects of astaxanthin, it has been suggested that astaxanthin’s antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and antiapoptotic properties can help aid in the management of further damage cause by glaucoma as well as potentially stopping the progression of the disease.
- Cataracts are one of the main causes of blindness worldwide, especially in regards to age-related macular degeneration. It has been found that oxidative stress plays a key role in the development of cataracts, since oxidative stress in eyes causes protein modifications, lipid peroxidation, and DNA fragmentation — all processes that are believed to contribute to cataract formation. Due to the strong antioxidative power of astaxanthin, studies believe that supplementation of astaxanthin can efficiently recover glutathione levels and prevent lens opacification, which is a cloudy layer of scar tissue that may form due to complications from cataract surgery.
- Dry eye disease, a form of an impaired ocular surface, is characterized by a significant increase of oxidative stress markers. Results from a study where participants took a supplement containing astaxanthin over a period of 8 weeks showed that their tear production and stability were significantly improved while inflammation and oxidative stress reduced, allowing participants to return to a more comfortable state of living.
- Eye fatigue, also known as asthenopia, is a common condition that many experience, with symptoms including discomfort, lacrimation, blurry vision, light sensitivity and in more severe cases, pain. In a study with workers who experience eye strain due to prolonged monitor use, it was found that the workers who took the astaxanthin supplement experienced significant relief from eye strain in comparison to the placebo group. Due to astaxanthin’s ability to relax the ciliary muscle, the increased blood flow in retinal capillaries allowed the eye muscle to relax and repair quicker.
As we age, the need to protect our immune systems becomes more and more necessary. From athletes to older communities, the need for faster muscle recovery and deeper immune protection is essential. With Kona Sea Salt's all Natural Astaxanthin Supplement, we can start our day off right. Our natural astaxanthin capsules are made from Haematococcus pluvialis — a freshwater algae containing one of the richest sources of astaxanthin found in nature. The recommended daily dosage is 12 milligrams a day, or 2 of our softgel capsules. Although astaxanthin may be able to support our eye health, it’s always important to consult your physician first before taking any supplement.