A Baby’s Eyes

You don’t have to be very old to know that your eyes don’t work as well as they used to.

Your eyes are the best at seeing some things when you’re just a baby. When you’re just six months old, the lens starts to harden and your focal point shifts.

By the time you’re two years old your vision has totally changed. And from then on, you have to start holding things farther and farther away to see them.

It’s this progression of changes in vision that taught me that aging is an internal program. I began to theorize that our bodies are controlled by some mechanism, and that it’s a process, not wear and tear.

For example, as aging progresses, it’s difficult to maintain healthy circulation in your eyes. When that happens, less oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your retina. That means more oxidation and free radical attacks on the cells in your eyes.

It gets more difficult to focus, things aren’t as sharp or clear, and you can even get fatigue and headaches.

If you’re like most people, you chalk up that dull irritation, pain or dim vision to lack of sleep or plain old wear and tear.

Most doctors don’t know this, and even the vast majority of doctors in anti-aging don’t recognize this, but that’s not what eyestrain is about.

The solution is to help your eyes maintain proper antioxidant levels and circulation so you can keep your vision clear and healthy.

One of the best ways of doing this is by taking in plenty of a special nutrient in the carotenoid family called astaxanthin. Studies show astaxanthin increases antioxidant protection throughout the eye.1

It also helps relieve dry eyes and blurring. Astaxanthin even helps with double vision. In fact, people who take astaxanthin report being able to see clearer and sharper.

Also, astaxanthin increases blood flow to all parts of your eyes.2 So at the same time it’s destroying free radicals, astaxanthin helps you maintain the flow of nutrients and oxygen to your inner eye, keeping your vision sharp and clear.

Astaxanthin, possibly the world’s strongest antioxidant, has the power to cross the blood brain barrier. That means it can and soothe and protect the deepest parts of your eye, including the central retina.3,4

Astaxanthin also keeps the outer layers of your eye, which are exposed to the elements, healthy as well. The Laboratory of Ocular Cell Biology and Visual Science at Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan proved this. Animals’ eyes given astaxanthin maintained healthy normal function5 even when exposed to a harsh light source. This light had the same effect as prolonged sunlight, or even working at a computer all day.

So how can you get more astaxanthin and help maintain clear eyesight and avoid dull vision?

I always recommend food as your first source of any nutrient. Sockeye salmon has the most astaxanthin of any food, and red trout, red seabream, lobster, shrimp, crawfish, crabs, lobster and salmon roe all have astaxanthin, too.

One thing to remember is that although salmon is the best food source of astaxanthin, you want to eat wild-caught salmon. They get their astaxanthin by feeding on microalgae, the natural source from the open ocean.

Farmed salmon on the other hand gets its pink coloring from Phaffia,6 which is yeast that’s not natural to a salmon’s diet. And the astaxanthin from this yeast is bound in a sugar instead of a fat, which makes it less bioavailable to you when you eat the salmon.

In the plant world, carrots, red peppers, and other red-pigmented vegetables and fruits contain a bit of astaxanthin, but not much.

1 Hashimoto H, Arai K, Hayashi S, Okamoto H, Takahashi J, Chikuda M, Obara Y. “Effects of astaxanthin on antioxidation in human aqueous humor.” J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2013;53(1):1-7.
2 Tsukahara H, Ishida S, Ohno S. “Astaxanthin increases choroidal blood flow velocity.” Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2012;250(2):239-45.
3 Cort A, et. Al. “Suppressive effect of astaxanthin on retinal injury induced by elevated intraocular pressure.” Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2010;58(1):121-30.
4 Li Z, Dong X, Liu H, Chen X, Shi H, Fan Y, Hou D, Zhang X. “Astaxanthin protects ARPE-19 cells from oxidative stress via upregulation of Nrf2-regulated phase II enzymes through activation of PI3K/Akt.” Mol Vis. 2013;19:1656-66.
5 Lennikov A, et. Al. “Amelioration of ultraviolet-induced photokeratitis in mice treated with astaxanthin eye drops.” Mol Vis. 2012;18:455-64.
6 FDA Approval Phaffia Yeast as Color Additive in Salmonid Fish Feed. Federal Register: July 6, 2000;Volume 65, Number 130.