A humble micro-algae produces a powerful antioxidant: astaxanthin. It does so to protect itself from ultraviolet radiation. Research shows that astaxanthin protects the human eyes and brain from serious diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, as well as conditions like computer eye strain and eye fatigue (asthenopia)1. Astaxanthin supplements are easy to take with no side effects. They are especially helpful as people age and begin to develop serious chronic conditions.
The Antioxidant Astaxanthin is Special
The eye contains high levels of nutrients. Carotenoids and antioxidants like astaxanthin are especially important in preventing many age-related eye diseases. Astaxanthin is special because it crosses the barrier between the blood and the brain. It is absorbed easily by the eye, penetrating even the macula in the center of the eye.
Astaxanthin and Macular Degeneration
One study2 gave AMD patients astaxanthin alone or with other nutrients. After one year, all patients’ central retinas had improved. Read more research about astaxanthin’s effect on macular degeneration.
Astaxanthin and Dementia
Phospholipid hydroperoxide (PLOOH) is an enzyme that accumulates in the red blood cells of dementia patients. Research shows that astaxanthin lowers PLOOH levels by 40%.3 This nutrient has antioxidant properties superior to Vitamin E and many other antioxidants. Lean more about astaxanthin research and dementia.
Supplementation is necessary to get significant amounts of astaxanthin. The typical supplementation dose is 4 mg of astaxanthin per day. Tiny krill, which feast on the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis, naturally contain this nutrient. Krill supplements are a popular natural source. Astaxanthin supplements made from the microalgae itself are another natural source. Astaxanthin can also be manufactured synthetically.
Next: Learn more about how to support the macula and risk factors for AMD.
- http://www.naturaleyecare.com/study.asp?s_num=248 ↩
- Parisi V, et al. Carotenoids and antioxidants in age-related maculopathy Italian study: multifocal electroretinogram modifications after 1 year. Ophthalmology 2008;115(2):324-33. ↩
- Antioxidant effect of astaxanthin on phospholipid peroxidation in human erythrocytes, Br J Nutr. 2011 Jun;105(11):1563-71 ↩