March 29 2014
Of the many carotenoids circulating in human bloodstream, only lutein and zeaxanthin
are accumulated in significant quantities throughout the tissues of the retina of the eye. Lutein
is a carotenoid which has become popular
as a dietary supplement either by itself, or combined with zeaxanthin and other carotenoids and vitamins for the prevention of
visual disorders such as macular
degeneration or to improve eyesight. Dietary zeaxanthin is considered a critical
nutrient in the eye and in the fight against macular degeneration. It
accumulates in the human macula lutea and protects retinal cells from blue light
There is a debate in the scientific community regarding the ideal dosage of this nutrient to have in the diet or taken as a supplement. Until more details are available, it would be best to err on the side of taking less, not more.
Eyesight improvement, is astaxanthin good for eyes?
Zeaxanthin in combination with Lutein is helpful in maintaining healthy eyesight and in many cases improving eyesight and day and night vision within days. The retina is unique in the human body in containing three xanthophyll carotenoids; 3R,3'R-zeaxanthin, meso-zeaxanthin and lutein. Xanthophyll pigments occur widely in vegetables and fruits but meso-zeaxanthin is found in only a few foods such as the shrimp carapace and fish skin. In spite of the amounts of the different xanthophylls in the diet, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin occur in approximately equal amounts in the eye, and their combined concentration can exceed that of lutein.
Astaxanthin has not been studied as well for vision improvement.
Eyesight Rx with Zeaxanthin and Astaxanthin
Developed by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Those who take Eyesight Rx notice better daytime and nighttime vision, along with the ability to see distant objects clearer and to read easier.
Eyesight Rx, see a full list of the ingredients in this vision
Astaxanthin benefit for
Inhibition of choroidal neovascularization with an anti-inflammatory carotenoid astaxanthin.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008.
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of Astaxanthin on the development of experimental choroidal neovascularization (CNV). Mice were pretreated with intraperitoneal injections daily for 3 days before photocoagulation, and treatments were continued daily until the end of the study. Astaxanthin treatment, together with inflammatory processes including NF-kappaB activation, subsequent upregulation of inflammatory molecules, and macrophage infiltration, led to significant suppression of CNV development. The present study suggests the possibility of Astaxanthin supplementation as a therapeutic strategy to suppress CNV associated with age related macular degeneration.
Zeaxanthin in foods,
Egg yolks are a good source. Corn is also a good source.
Zeaxanthin in marigold herb
There are several herbs that have lutein and zeaxanthin. A common source of these carotenoids is the herb marigold.
Benefit for cataract
Dietary carotenoids, vitamins C and E, and risk of cataract in women: a prospective study.
Arch Ophthalmol. 2008.
To examine in prospective data the relation between dietary intake of carotenoids and vitamins C and E and the risk of cataract in women. In these prospective observational data from a large cohort of female health professionals, higher dietary intakes of lutein / zeaxanthin and vitamin E from food and supplements were associated with significantly decreased risks of cataract.
Macular degeneration prevention or treatment
Age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly, is a degenerative condition of the macula due to by death or dysfunction of the photoreceptors. Lutein and zeaxanthin are macular pigments that may play a role in reducing the development and progression of age-related macular degeneration. Evidence is accumulating on their consumption (in whole food or supplemental form), resulting in higher concentrations in serum, and tissue distribution throughout the body, particularly in the retina. Intake increases serum concentrations which in turn increases macular pigment density. There have been conflicting studies regarding the role of these nutriens in macular degeneration.
Prospective study of lutein/zeaxanthin intake and risk of age-related macular
Am J Clin Nutr. 2008. Department of Medicine, Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
The association between lutein / zeaxanthin intake and age-related macular degeneration risk may differ by smoking status, vitamin C and E intakes, and body fatness. The objective was to evaluate the association between their intake and AMD risk by smoking status, intake of antioxidant vitamins, and body fatness. We conducted a prospective follow-up study of 71 494 women and 41 564 men aged >or=50 y and had no diagnosis of AMD or cancer. During up to 18 y of follow-up, we documented 673 incident cases of early AMD and 442 incident cases of neovascular AMD with a visual loss of 20/30 or worse due primarily to AMD. Lutein / zeaxanthin intake was not associated with the risk of self-reported early AMD. There was a statistically nonsignificant and nonlinear inverse association between lutein / zeaxanthin intake and neovascular AMD risk. For early AMD, the association with intake did not vary by smoking status, intakes of vitamins C and E, or body mass index. For neovascular AMD, a nonlinear inverse association was found among never smokers.
Zeaxanthin eye benefit
in diabetes in animal study
Beneficial effect of zeaxanthin on retinal metabolic abnormalities in diabetic rats.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008. Department of Ophthalmology, Kresge Eye Institute, Detroit, Michigan.
Recent studies have shown that two dietary carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, that are specifically concentrated within ocular tissues, may play important roles in maintaining their integrity. This study is to evaluate the potential protective effects of zeaxanthin against retinal oxidative damage and growth factors in diabetes. A group of rats received normal powdered diet or powdered diet supplemented with 0.02% or 0.1% zeaxanthin soon after induction of diabetes. Zeaxanthin supplementation prevented diabetes-induced increase in retinal damage Zeaxanthin significantly inhibits diabetes-induced retinal oxidative damage and elevation in vascular endothelial cell growth factor and adhesion molecule, all abnormalities that are associated with the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy. The results suggest that zeaxanthin supplementation has the potential to inhibit the development of retinopathy in diabetic patients.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are yellow pigments located at the macula. Macular pigments decrease and filter the amount of blue light that reach photoreceptors, protect the outer retina from oxidative stress and may improve the vision quality.
Promotional email received
We wanted to let you know about a new eye product, Lutemax 2020 combines the two most widely researched and recognized eye health ingredients, lutein and zeaxanthin isomers, into a single source ingredient. With enhanced levels, Lutemax 2020 contains a healthier ratio of lutein to zeaxanthin, improving nutrient availability to the human eye.*Visit Us at both Vitafoods and IFT. Lutemax 2020 provides:* The two most widely researched eye health ingredients, lutein and zeaxanthin in a single ingredient source* Enhanced levels of zeaxanthin isomers for optimum nutrition and ingredient efficacy.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid made by plants and algae, and found in marine seafood such as salmon. It is also available as a food supplement either by itself or combined with other carotenoids. Because of its unique structure, it provides a wide range of antioxidant benefits. It may play a key role in the protection of cell membranes against free radical attacks. Astaxanthin is a natural concentrate of marine algae Haematococcus pulvialis, which is cultivated in the warm waters of Hawaii. Recent studies have indicated that it is more powerful than its carotenoid cousin beta-carotene at trapping singlet oxygen free radicals.
Astaxanthin is likely to be beneficial in conditions where antioxidants and other carotenoids are helpful. Astaxanthin may inhibit 5-alpha reductase and thus could be useful in prostate health.
Astaxanthin, the main carotenoid pigment in aquatic animals, has greater antioxidant activity in vitro (protecting against lipid peroxidation) and a more polar configuration than other carotenoids. Intestinal absorption delivered as capsules is adequate, and well tolerated. Supplementation with astaxanthin may decrease in vivo oxidation of fatty acids.
Administration of natural astaxanthin increases serum HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin in subjects with mild hyperlipidemia.
Atherosclerosis. 2009. Internal Medicine of Metabolism and Nutrition, Graduate School of Medicine, Jikei University, Tokyo, Japan.
Placebo-controlled astaxanthin administration at doses of 0, 6, 12, 18mg/day for 12 weeks was randomly allocated to 61 non-obese subjects with fasting serum triglyceride of 120-200mg/dl and without diabetes and hypertension, aged 25-60 years. In before and after tests, body mass index (BMI) and LDL-cholesterol were unaffected at all doses, however, triglyceride decreased, while HDL-cholesterol increased significantly. Multiple comparison tests showed that 12 and 18mg/day doses significantly reduced triglyceride, and 6 and 12mg doses significantly increased HDL-cholesterol. Serum adiponectin was increased by astaxanthin (12 and 18mg/day), and changes of adiponectin correlated positively with HDL-cholesterol changes independent of age and BMI. This first-ever randomized, placebo-controlled human study suggests that astaxanthin consumption ameliorates triglyceride and HDL-cholesterol in correlation with increased adiponectin in humans.
Review and summary
There's little human research available regarding the exact health benefits of astaxanthin supplements. The ideal dosage of astaxanthin supplements is not known. However some of the astaxanthin research listed below is promising.
Astaxanthin for brain health
Astaxanthin reduces ischemic brain injury in adult rats.
FASEB J. 2009. Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Astaxanthin is a dietary carotenoid of crustaceans and fish that contributes to their coloration. Dietary astaxanthin is important for development and survival of salmonids and crustaceans and has been shown to reduce cardiac ischemic injury in rodents. The purpose of this study was to examine whether astaxanthin can protect against ischemic injury in the mammalian brain. Our data suggest that astaxanthin can reduce ischemia-related injury in brain tissue through the inhibition of oxidative stress, reduction of glutamate release, and antiapoptosis.
Can you tell me if the clinical trials mention the P450 pathways or if there have been trials that list interactions of astaxanthin with others drugs?
We are not aware of studies that have evaluated astaxanthin supplement use in combination with prescription medications or drugs.
Astaxanthin and dyspepsia
Efficacy of the natural antioxidant astaxanthin in the treatment of functional dyspepsia in patients with or without Helicobacter pylori infection: A prospective, randomized, double blind, and placebo-controlled study.
Phytomedicine. 2008. Kaunas University of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the natural antioxidant astaxanthin in functional dyspepsia in different doses and compared with placebo. Patients with functional dyspepsia, divided into three groups with 44 individuals in each group (placebo, 16mg, or 40mg astaxanthin, respectively). At the end of therapy no difference between the three treatment groups was observed regarding mean Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS) scores of abdominal pain, indigestion and reflux syndromes. In general, no curative effect of astaxanthin was found in functional dyspepsia patients. Significantly greater reduction of reflux symptoms were detected in patients treated with the highest dose of the natural antioxidant astaxanthin. The response was more pronounced in H. pylori-infected patients.
Comments: Astaxanthin may perhaps reduce gastric inflammation.
Lipids oxidation decrease
Effects of astaxanthin supplementation on lipid peroxidation.
Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2007.
We investigated the effect of three-month astaxanthin supplementation on lipid peroxidation in healthy non-smoking Finnish men, aged 19-33 years by using a randomized double-blind study design. Also absorption of astaxanthin from capsules into bloodstream and its safety were evaluated. The intervention group received two 4-mg astaxanthin (Astaxin) capsules daily, and the control group two identical-looking placebo capsules. Astaxanthin supplementation elevated plasma astaxanthin levels. We observed that levels of plasma 12- and 15-hydroxy fatty acids were reduced statistically significantly in the astaxanthin group during supplementation, but not in the placebo group and the change of 15-hydroxy fatty acid was almost significantly greater in the astaxanthin group, as compared with the placebo group. The present study suggests that intestinal absorption of astaxanthin delivered as capsules is adequate, and well tolerated. Supplementation with astaxanthin may decrease in vivo oxidation of fatty acids in healthy men.
A preliminary investigation of the enzymatic inhibition of 5alpha-reduction and growth of prostatic carcinoma cell line LNCap-FGC by natural astaxanthin and Saw Palmetto lipid extract in vitro.
J Herb Pharmacother. 2005. Research and Development, Triarco Industries, Wayne, NJ
Inhibition of 5alpha-reductase has been reported to decrease the symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and possibly inhibit or help treat prostate cancer. Saw Palmetto berry lipid extract is reported to inhibit 5alpha-reductase and decrease the clinical symptoms of BPH. Epidemiologic studies report that carotenoids such as lycopene may inhibit prostate cancer. In this investigation the effect of the carotenoid astaxanthin, and Saw Palmetto berry lipid extract were examined for their effect on 5alpha-reductase inhibition as well as the growth of prostatic carcinoma cells in vitro. The results show astaxanthin demonstrated 98% inhibition of 5alpha-reductase at 300 microg/mL in vitro. Alphastat, the combination of astaxanthin and Saw Palmetto berry lipid extract, showed a 20% greater inhibition of 5alpha-reductase than Saw Palmetto berry lipid extract alone n vitro. Low levels of carotenoid astaxanthin inhibit 5alpha-reductase and decrease the growth of human prostatic cancer cells in vitro. Astaxanthin added to Saw Palmetto berry lipid extract shows greater inhibition of 5alpha-reductase than Saw Palmetto berry lipid extract alone in vitro.
Prevention of diabetic nephropathy by treatment with astaxanthin in
diabetic db/db mice.
Oxidative stress is implicated as an important mechanism by which diabetes causes nephropathy. In this study, we examined whether chronic administration of astaxanthin could prevent the progression of diabetic nephropathy induced by oxidative stress in mice. The mice were divided into three groups as follows: non-diabetic, diabetic, and diabetic treated with astaxanthin. After 12 weeks of treatment, the astaxanthin -treated group showed a lower level of blood glucose compared with the non-treated db/db group. The results suggested that the antioxidative activity of astaxanthin reduced the oxidative stress on the kidneys and prevented renal cell damage.
Eye fatigue help
Most people over the age of 40 begin to experience Presbyopia which is the increased difficulty to focus on nearby objects. Although this age related phenomena is usually assisted by reading glasses, a study performed at the Kajita Clinic in Tokyo, Japan and published in 2009 has shown significant improvement in the ability to focus on nearby objects in older subjects with supplementation of the antioxidant, astaxanthin. The researchers suggest that the underlying reason for the improved accommodation ability in the test subjects may be due to the positively activated functions of three muscles in the eye; the constrictor pupillae muscle and dilator pupillae muscle working in coordination with the ciliary muscle. Astaxanthin has been shown in other studies to improve muscle endurance and recovery. Although the basic measure for presbyopia is to wear glasses, astaxanthin supplementation may slow down the progression of presbyopia and improve asthenopia (eye fatigue). The current study is the tenth human clinical sponsored by Fuji Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. supporting the role of astaxanthin in the reduction of eye fatigue. The studies were performed over the past 7 years at more than 6 different universities and research institutes. Fuji Chemical is a Japanese pharmaceutical company with a 60+ year history and the maker of AstaReal astaxanthin. Fuji is the world's leading producer of natural astaxanthin for human nutritional use with state of the art facilities in Hawaii, Sweden and Japan. Some of the other areas of astaxanthin research that Fuji is actively supporting include cardiovascular, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Fuji Chemical also holds seven patents for astaxanthin in human application as well as numerous pending patents. Fuji's AstaReal brand of astaxanthin is approved for use in nutritional supplementation in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, as well as other markets worldwide. Kajita et al: The Effects of a Dietary Supplement Containing Astaxanthin on the Accommodation Function of the Eye in Middle-aged and Older People. Medical Consultation & New Remedies 2009
I just learned about astaxanthin supplement and in reading on it, I found out it is also in yeast. Since I am a vegan, and this comes from fish, shrimp, etc. I was wondering if I took nutritional yeast, how much would be available?
We really don't know the amount of astaxanthin in yeast, it may depend on the particular product being used. You could consider contacting the manufacturer of the actual yeast product you are using to see if they have done such analysis.
Q. I am going to buy astaxanthin supplements and
suggest several friends buy it also. Almost every brand is 4 mg. The
Source Naturals Astaxanthin product has 2 mg. I’m considering BiosAstin,
or NSI or Source Naturals.
A. Many people think that a higher dosage of a supplement is healthier but that is not often the case. The body has a balance of nutrients and sometimes taking much more than the body needs can be counterproductive. There is no human research that says 4 mg is healthier than a lower dosage. There are many good astaxanthin products on the market including Source Naturals, and we have no reason to suspect that BiosAstin and NSI are any better or worse.
Eyebright herb improve
eyesight? What about
Bilberry extract supplements?
I have also read the benefits of
Grape seed extract.
A. The effects of eyebright herb on vision are minimal compared to lutein, zeaxanthin and Eyesight Rx. Bilberry supplements may help some people with improved vision and it is best to use a combination eye formula that has a small amount of several herbs and herbal extracts.
Q. I am a health food store manager and recieved
this email. "Fuji is the world's leading producer of natural astaxanthin
from Haematococcus pluvialis. By establishing subsidiaries in both Hawaii
and Sweden to cultivate and produce astaxanthin via fully enclosed
systems, Fuji had added a level of control and purity to a natural
product. In addition to being a primary producer of astaxanthin, Fuji has
also demonstrated its commitment to the science behind this exceptional
carotenoid by the multitude of research it has sponsored over the years.
Such areas of study include muscle endurance, diabetic nephropathy, eye
health, weight management, and others. AstaReal by Fuji helps reduce body
fat. Is it true that astaxanthin supplements help reduce body fat?
A. We have not seen any good human studies that astaxanthin administration helps with weight loss.
Press release received April
BioAstin Natural Astaxanthin eeduced sarcopenia (muscle loss most often associated with aging) in a study published in the Japanese Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine. BioAstin Natural Astaxanthin has demonstrated effectiveness in clinical research in several areas closely associated with aging. Astaxanthin’s benefits have already been well documented in areas such as skin aging, cardiovascular health, eye and brain health and of course, as an anti-inflammatory for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and joint soreness due to exercise. A recent pre-clinical trial done in Japan with BioAstin in rodents* opens up a new area of interest for BioAstin as an anti-aging supplement. In this study, rats were given BioAstin at a low level of 0.004% of their daily feed for one year. Significant improvements in the treatment group were found including increased muscle weight as well as the muscle weight to body weight ratio. The researchers concluded that long term use of BioAstin may reduce age-related muscle atrophy. These results confirm a pre-clinical trial done in 2005 that demonstrated similar results. The new study is further evidence that Astaxanthin is the ideal ingredient for anyone over 50 years of age. For more information or to discuss formulation ideas, please contact us at email@example.com or call 808.334.9415. Please note that this research, although done with BioAstin, was not sponsored by Cyanotech. Our policy at Cyanotech is that we do not engage in animal research; however, we report animal research done by others as a means to fully understand the potential benefits of BioAstin in human nutrition. Cyanotech Corporation, a world leader in microalgae technology, produces BioAstin Natural Astaxanthin and Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica®—all natural, functional nutrients that enhance human health and nutrition. Cyanotech's spirulina, FDA reviewed and accepted as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for use as a food ingredient, augments energy and immune response. BioAstin's benefits derive from its superior antioxidant activity and from its ability to support and maintain natural inflammatory response, enhancing skin, muscle and joint health. Cyanotech produces these products from microalgae grown at its 90-acre facility in Hawaii using patented and proprietary technology and distributes them to nutritional supplement, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical makers and marketers in more than 40 countries worldwide. Our products are all natural and are pesticide and herbicide free. They are free of genetically modified organisms and are produced in accordance with current Good Manufacturing Processes.
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Zanthoxylum ailanthoides stem and leaves possess antioxidative properties.
Zizyphus jujuba date has long been used in Chinese traditional medicine for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia.