Astaxanthin (2008, 2013) & Macular Degeneration


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2012 Researchers, noting the large presence of carotenoids in the macula as well as other research which links free radical damage to macular degeneration, studied whether carotenoids in dietary supplements would be helpful.

In the study 145 patients with age related macular degeneration were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The test group was given lutein (10 mg), zeaxanthin (1 mg), astaxanthin (4 mg) in an antioxidant/vitamin nutritional supplement for two years.

The results were measured by gauging changes in visual acuity after one year and again after two years. The researchers also looked at perception of visual contrasts. National Eye Institute visual function questionnaire (NEI VFQ-25) scores were reviewed after 1 and 2 years.

Those people in the group receiving the antioxidant/vitamin supplement showed significant improvement in visual acuity (vision sharpness). In addition, the researchers concluded that people given lutein/zeaxanthin and astaxanthin together with other nutrients were more likely to report significant improvements.

Researchers: Parisi V, et al.
Published: Carotenoids and antioxidants in age-related maculopathy, European Journal Ophthalmology. March, 2012

2013 The researchers investigated whether the carotenoid, astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant, would protect the retina from damage caused by light. Lab animals were exposed to strong white light to stimulate damage to their retinas. Five days later the degree of damage was assessed using standardized methods. In addition a marker which indicates cell death was evaluated. In a separate study using cell tissue, light was again used to cause retinal tissue damage and the results were examined.

In both cases, in vivo and in vitro the supplementation with or application of astaxanthin protected against increases of those signals of cell death and retinal damage.

The researchers concluded that astaxanthin was effective in protecting against damage from light due to its antioxidant effect.

Researchers: T. Otsuka, et al
Published: Protective effects of a dietary carotenoid, astaxanthin, against light-induced retinal damage, Journal of Pharmaceutical Science, October, 2013.