Eye health is a critical part of wellness, but it seems like common knowledge about nutrients that support eye health is limited. There are many different eye health supplements on the market, and it is, therefore, very difficult to decide which one is right for you. In this article, we will compare astaxanthin and spirulina, two popular eye health supplements. We will look at the benefits of each nutrient and discuss how they might help improve eye health.
What is Astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to provide a wide range of health benefits. It is most commonly found in fish, but it can also be derived from other sources such as algae and krill. It is this pigment that gives salmon its pink colour (1). As an antioxidant, astaxanthin helps to protect cells from damage caused by inflammation and free radicals. Additionally, it has been shown to support the immune system and promote healthy skin and eyesight. Astaxanthin is a potent nutrient that offers numerous health benefits. (2)
Clinical Trials Studying Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin clinical studies have shown this substance to have a variety of medicinal benefits. For example, it has been shown to improve heart health, cognitive function, and joint pain. In addition, clinical findings have demonstrated that astaxanthin can help to protect against certain types of unwanted growths (4). As a result, clinical trials are ongoing in order to determine the most effective ways to use this substance for the treatment of various medical conditions. However, more research is needed in order to fully understand the potential of astaxanthin. (5)
Radiation from the sun can damage the eyes and skin, causing a range of problems from sunburn to cataracts. Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that can help to protect against this damage (6). Studies have shown that astaxanthin can reduce UV-induced oxidative stress in the eye and skin. It has also been shown to increase the skin's resistance to sunburn. Studies have shown that astaxanthin is more effective than other common antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E (7). In addition, astaxanthin can help to protect the eyes from photo-oxidative damage. These effects make astaxanthin an important tool for protecting against the harmful effects of radiation from the sun. (8)
Astaxanthin for Eye Health
Occular health is the health of the eye. The Occular System includes the eyeball, muscles, eyelids, tear glands, optic nerve and other surrounding tissues. All these structures must work together properly to provide clear vision. The cornea and lens of the eye are instruments to focus the light on the retina, which converts the light into electrical signals that are sent to the brain via the optic nerve. (9)
The retina is a thin layer of tissue forming the back layer of the eye. That layer contains cells that are sensitive to light (photoreceptors).
Types of Phtoreceptors in the eye:
Rods allow us to see the big picture, they are responsible for vision in dim light (scotopic vision), Cones are responsible for fine details including colour vision (photopic vision). (9)
Recent studies have shown that astaxanthin may also be beneficial for eye health. One study found that astaxanthin was able to improve visual acuity and night vision in healthy adult subjects. Another study found that astaxanthin supplementation was able to significantly improve subjective symptoms of eye fatigue in office workers. (10)
How Does Astaxanthin Work?
In several tirals, participants who took astaxanthinhad significant improvements in visual acuity and visual contrast sensitivity. The study also found that astaxanthin improved night vision, with participants reporting fewer halos and glares around lights. A number of studies hypothesize that astaxanthin likely works by protecting the eyes from oxidative stress, which can damage the retina and lead to vision problems. In addition, astaxanthin has been shown to promote the production of enzymes that protect the retina from light-induced damage. Thus, astaxanthin is usually included as an ingredient in many eye health support formulas. (2, 11)
Sources of Astaxanthin
Top 5 Other Health Benefits of Astaxanthin
Powerful Antioxidant: Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that can help to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause cell damage and lead to various diseases. Astaxanthin is thought to be one of the most powerful antioxidants, and it has been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation and protecting cells from damage. (15)
May Boost Brain Health: Astaxanthin has also been shown to boost brain activity and health. A study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience found that astaxanthin was able to improve memory performance and cognitive function in rats. The study’s authors suggest that astaxanthin may be beneficial for preventing age-related cognitive decline. (16)
May Improve Heart Health: Astaxanthin may also improve cardiovascular health. A study published in the journal of Plant Foods for Human Nutrition found that astaxanthin may reduce cholesterol levels and inflammation in humans. The study’s authors suggest that astaxanthin may be beneficial for improving human lipid profiles and reducing oxidative stress and thus, preventing heart disease. (17)
May Enhance Exercise Performance: Astaxanthin has also been shown to enhance exercise performance. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that astaxanthin was able to improve endurance and reduce muscle soreness in cyclists. The study’s authors suggest that astaxanthin may be beneficial for athletes or anyone looking to improve their physical performance. (18)
- May Protect Against UV Damage: Astaxanthin has also been shown to protect against UV damage. A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that astaxanthin was able to protect human skin cells from damage caused by UV radiation. The study’s authors suggest that astaxanthin may be an effective sunscreen ingredient or supplement for people who are exposed to sunlight regularly. Other studies also find evidence that astaxanthin may improve skin elasticity and reduce the visible signs of ageing. (19)
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is rich in nutrients. It is often taken as a supplement for its many health benefits. Some of these benefits include improved eye health, better gut health, and support in immunity.
Spirulina is high in protein (including some essential amino acids), vitamins (including vitamin K), minerals, and antioxidants. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Spirulina can help to boost the immune system, improve digestion, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Some research suggests that spirulina may also be effective in treating allergies, anemia, and fatigue. (20)
Preliminary studies suggest that spirulina may bind to heavy metals in the gut, preventing their absorption. It may also help to promote the excretion of these toxins. (21)
Clinical Trials Studying Spirulina
In a study done on rats, it was found that spirulina prevented retinal damage caused by diabetes. The rats were given spirulina for 12 weeks and researchers found that there was a significant decrease in markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in the rats’ eyes. (22)
In another study, spirulina may improve symptoms of xerophthalmia (an eye condition caused by vitamin A deficiency). After 10 weeks, it was found that the children had increased levels of carotene in their blood. Carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body and is important for eye health. (21, 23)
Spirulina for Eye Health
Spirulina contains high levels of beta carotene; human consumption of beta carotene leads to its conversion into vitamin A without the risk of toxicity Vitamin A is important for eye health because it helps to prevent night blindness and dry eyes. It also has an overall positive effect on eye health as it helps to protect the surface of the eye from infection. (23, 24)
How Does Spirulina Work?
Top 5 Other Health Benefits of Spirulina
Boosts Energy Levels: Spirulina is a nutrient-rich algae that has been shown to boost energy levels. A study published in the Evidance-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that spirulina was effective in reducing fatigue and improving physical performance in athletes. (27)
Enhances Brain Function: Spirulina has also been shown to enhance brain function. A study published in the Global Journal of Medicine and Health found that spirulina supplies tryptophan which may support various types of mental illness. Additionally, several studies suggest that spirulina may support cognitive health and memory. (28, 29)
Lowers Blood Pressure: Spirulina has been shown to lower blood pressure. A study published in the journal Hypertension found that spirulina was effective at protecting the body from cardiovascular disease by reducing blood pressure in people with hypertension. Additionally, a study published in the journal Nutrients found that spirulina lowered blood pressure. (30)
Reduces Inflammation: Spirulina has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to reduce inflammation. A study published in the journal Archives of Toxicology found that spirulina was effective in reducing inflammation markers (31). Additionally, a study published in the journal PLoS One found that spirulina reduced inflammation in rats with arthritis. (32)
- Lowers Cholesterol Levels: Spirulina has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that spirulina was effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels in people with high cholesterol. Additionally, a study published in the journal of Clinical Nutrition found that spirulina reduced cholesterol absorption and increased cholesterol excretion. (34)
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