Astaxanthin and Eye Health, Diabetes Support, and Additional Benefits

Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature, and it possesses superior qualities for eye support. You can find it in foods and plants, and now it’s available in supplement form. Read this to learn how astaxanthin can benefit your overall health.

13 minute read

Last Updated September 20, 2021

Astaxanthin and Eye Health, Diabetes Support, and Additional Benefits

Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature. It never converts to become a pro-oxidant, which means it can never cause damaging oxidation to the body in the way some weaker antioxidants can. 

Your body cannot produce this antioxidant, so you must get it through diet or supplement. Antioxidants are important for overall health, and astaxanthin is the most effective antioxidant you can get today. 

What Is Astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is a red-pink pigment found in certain seafood and is similar in structure to beta carotene. As a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent, astaxanthin can provide the body with many health benefits. 

Astaxanthin is approximately 1,000 times more effective than vitamin E, a popular antioxidant, and a 550 times richer source of antioxidants than green tea. It also is almost 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, with regards to boosting the immune system.

Astaxanthin is also believed to possess stronger antioxidant capabilities than vitamin A, which makes it an ideal supplement for eye health. Although similar to the pro-vitamin A (beta-carotene), astaxanthin is considered safer due to chemical differences. Vitamin A has long been known to benefit eye health and plays a vital role in protecting the eye. 

The process of aging slows the body’s natural antioxidant defense system. Antioxidants, such as vitamin A and other carotenoids, have been proven to support the eyes and prevent age-related diseases such as macular degeneration. More powerful options like astaxanthin have proven to be superior for your eyes and other systems of the body.

Astaxanthin and Eye Health

Carotenoids have been praised for a long time with regards to the benefits they have for eye health. While this is true, there are more powerful antioxidants out there to support eye health. 

Astaxanthin possesses superior antioxidant qualities when it comes to protecting eyes from damage and preventing eye disease. The eye is subject to higher levels of oxidation, more so than ever today, which is contributing to increased diagnosis of eye diseases.

Excessive sunlight exposure or prolonged exposure to blue light (screens and artificial light) causes free radicals to collect in the eye. This creates a blockage that prevents the eye from getting the nutrients it needs. 

The retina, along with other parts of the eye, becomes damaged as a result. Once the retina is damaged, it cannot be replaced, so protecting the eye is essential. Antioxidants like astaxanthin can reach the eye by crossing the blood-retinal barrier, avoiding any blockages.

Macular degeneration is a condition that commonly occurs with aging. Damage to the central part of the retina, known as the macula, causes this condition. Individuals experience blurred vision, changes in color perception, and central vision loss. There is no cure, so it is important to prevent this condition or slow the progression to prevent complete vision loss. 

Astaxanthin reaches the eye directly through the blood-brain barrier and blood-retinal barrier to deliver important protective properties. Astaxanthin has been shown to protect the eye from several forms of damage, including:

Neuronal damage: This occurs when inflammation damages the optic nerve, which can lead to glaucoma and blindness.

Ganglion cell damage: These cells receive information from photoreceptors and can be damaged once glaucoma develops.

Photoreceptor cell damage: As macular degeneration progresses, the photoreceptors can become damaged, causing blindness.

Light damage: Damage caused to the retina and macula as a result of prolonged exposure to harmful rays of light

Beyond preventing vision loss through macular degeneration and other eye diseases, this antioxidant can support eye health and promote healthier vision. 

Better Focus

Astaxanthin has the ability to promote proper blood flow to the retina and to relax the ciliary muscles, allowing for optimal focus. Studies found that taking astaxanthin caused higher eye accommodation, which is the ability to change optical power to be able to focus more clearly. 

Better depth perception and improved visual acuity (ability to see fine detail) were also found when astaxanthin was taken regularly. With the constant exposure to harmful lights (the sun and blue light), preventing eye disease is becoming a necessity. Astaxanthin is a proven way to promote eye health, which reduces your risk of any eye disease or damage. 

Reduced Eye Fatigue

Eye fatigue is a serious problem for many people today, as a result of occupational dependence on computers. Working at computer terminals all day contributes to eye strain, eye fatigue, and diplopia (also known as double vision). 

Numerous studies have proven that taking astaxanthin reduces the occurrence of strain fatigue, redness, and dryness of the eyes. By reaching the retina directly through the blood-retinal barrier, astaxanthin can provide better protection to the parts of the eye exposed to the most damage. Reducing any inflammation also reduces strain and fatigue the eye can develop when staring at a screen all day. 

There are two characteristics of astaxanthin that set it apart from other powerful antioxidants. 

♦ Carotenoids, such as beta-carotene and lycopene, are beneficial, but they are unable to cross these barriers. The ability to get through both the blood-brain barrier and blood-retinal barrier is what makes astaxanthin superior. These barriers are designed to protect the most vital organs from inflammation and oxidative damage, but they end up keeping the helpful compounds out too. Astaxanthin is the exception and the most valuable asset to eye health and overall health. 

♦ Astaxanthin never becomes a pro-oxidant. In certain conditions, some antioxidants can turn into oxidants and start causing damage to cells. This is especially common in smokers as smoking has been shown to deplete the vitamins that antioxidants like lycopene need to remain stable. When these molecules do not have supporting antioxidants to pass the free radicals, they become oxidants instead. Astaxanthin has been proven to never reach the pro-oxidant state. 

Additional Benefits of Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a superior ingredient when it comes to eye health. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of this compound also allow it to benefit other aspects of your health. 

Reduced Inflammation

Inflammation that is controlled is part of the immune system response and helps to fight infections. Silent inflammation in the body is usually uncontrolled and can cause damage to cells and tissues. It also increases the risk of serious disease. 

Silent inflammation is associated with excessive amounts of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. Studies have found that astaxanthin reduces the levels of CRP in the blood, along with reducing DNA damage. 

Heart Health

As cardiovascular disease continues to be the number one cause of death in America, it becomes more important than ever to take care of the heart. Astaxanthin can protect your heart by reducing cholesterol in the blood. 

High levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol are not water-soluble, so it accumulates as deposits along the artery walls. This causes plaques to form, which interfere with blood flow. This increases blood pressure and causes damage to blood vessels. As a result, the risk of heart attack and stroke increases. 

Astaxanthin reduces LDL cholesterol and oxidative stress, which can slow the damage done to blood vessels. Studies have also found that astaxanthin improves blood circulation, the elasticity, and the health of artery walls. Stronger arterial walls reduce the risk of heart failure caused by high blood pressure. 

Brain Health

Oxidative damage contributes to the degeneration of nerve cells in the brain. This is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. 

There is no cure for these neurodegenerative diseases, but astaxanthin can help slow their progression. 

Studies found that astaxanthin treatment reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s in the early onset type of the disease. By slowing the progression of the disease, individuals can maintain important functions and quality of life for a longer period of time. Like Alzheimer’s, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but astaxanthin therapy can slow progression and reduce the severity of symptoms. 

Cancer Treatment

The antioxidant properties of astaxanthin have been shown to help treat cancer. There is not a definitive cure for cancer, but astaxanthin therapy reduces the growth of certain cancer cells

A study of prostate cancer patients found that when given astaxanthin, there was a reduction in the growth of tumors. Inflammation is also known to play a key role in cancer, and astaxanthin is proven to reduce inflammation through the body.  

Astaxanthin works by interfering with the activities of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Another study found that astaxanthin improved the ability of healthy cells to communicate, which helps stop the growth of cancer cells. 

The most beneficial results regarding cancer have involved purified astaxanthin, but this can be expensive to develop. 

Joint Health

Just like the eyes, joints weaken with age. Joints become stiff, and movement becomes more difficult. As joint weaken, the bones begin to rub, causing friction, pain, and a condition known as arthritis. Different types of arthritis can affect different joints in the body. The component that is associated with each type is inflammation. 

Free radicals also attack the joints, which causes joint degeneration to happen quickly. Astaxanthin, as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent, can protect your joints from arthritis and degeneration. Studies have shown that astaxanthin therapy can slow the progression of arthritis and allow time for the joint to heal and regenerate. 

Skin Health

When used topically or taken orally, astaxanthin can smooth wrinkles, reduce the size of age spots, and improve skin moisture. 

The skin is exposed to the harshest environmental factors that can accelerate aging. Weather, excessive exposure to sunlight, and chemicals in the environment, all cause free radicals and oxidative damage to the skin. With a daily regimen of astaxanthin, you can delay the signs of aging, protect your skin from damage, and maintain a youthful glow. 

Astaxanthin can protect the skin when taken orally as a supplement or when applied topically as part of a cream or ointment.

Diabetes Support

More than one-third of the adults in the United States are pre-diabetic due to poor diets and unhealthy lifestyle choices. The number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes in the last twenty years has tripled, and diabetes is now one of the leading causes of death. 

Diabetes develops when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, which regulates how sugar is used in the body. When excess sugar stays in the blood, oxidative stress occurs. Astaxanthin, as a powerful antioxidant, can reduce glucose toxicity and improve sugar metabolism in those with diabetes. 

Dosage Information

Astaxanthin is considered safe when consumed in the amounts you would find naturally in food. By itself, doses of 4 to 40 milligrams a day for 12 weeks will be safe and beneficial. 

The dose of astaxanthin you should take will depend on variables such as your age, your health, and conditions you may have. Although it is a natural product, it will be affected by these factors, so your doctor can provide the most accurate dosing information, based on your health. 

Potential Side Effects

There have been limited side effects reported with consuming astaxanthin. Side effects can include stomach pain, increased bowel movements, and red stool color, and higher doses have been associated with severe stomach pain. Speak with your doctor about the dose you are taking should this occur. 

Astaxanthin is a natural product, but it can still interact with other supplements and prescribed medications. Consult with your doctor before starting an astaxanthin supplement. It is also recommended to avoid astaxanthin when pregnant or breastfeeding.

The Bottom Line

Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful antioxidants you can find in nature. Antioxidants are important to overall health. Without them, free radical damage would destroy cells, tissues, and systems to the point of death. 

The eyes are targets for more oxidative damage than other parts of the body, so this would be a great reason you start taking astaxanthin. You will find that your overall health benefits, as astaxanthin protects every cell to keep you in the best condition of your life.