Johns Hopkins Researchers Make a Breakthrough
It's time to tell you about the breakthrough by scientists at Johns Hopkins. Much like the Nobel Prize winning discovery of Vitamin A in the retina, this discovery will forever change the world of vision research.
As you may know, there are protective sheaths around the brain and retina that protect them from damage. These are called the blood-brain barrier and the blood-retina barrier.
Among other things, they keep out harmful fungi and bacteria. Unfortunately, they also keep out most antioxidants. Which is why vision problems are so difficult to treat.
Even beta carotene – the most well known carotenoid – cannot penetrate them. Neither can lycopene. Or vitamin E.
But in a landmark study, researchers at Johns Hopkins found astaxanthin can!
Researchers gave 6 doses of astaxanthin to healthy rats for 3 days. After 3 days the rat's retinas were examined for the presence of astaxanthin. Because astaxanthin does not naturally occur in the retina, the researchers didn't expect to find any in the eye. But after examining the rats they were stunned to find heavy doses of astaxanthin long after the last dose!
Unlike other antioxidants, astaxanthin is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and get into the brain. Then, once in the brain, it crosses the blood-retina barrier and reaches deep into the retina and the macula where it does the most good!
For years researchers have searched for a carotenoid antioxidant – among the 600 naturally-occurring carotenoids known to them – that's able to quench excess singlet oxygen and pass the blood-brain and blood-retina barriers.
And now for the first time ever they've found it!
The results of this experiment were so impressive, this same team of scientists decided to do further research.
In another study, they took rats and placed them on a twelve hour cycle of light and darkness for two weeks. Half of the rats were given doses of astaxanthin. The other half were given a placebo. Then all of them were exposed to vision-damaging light non-stop for 24 hours. After a two-day rest period the thickness of the exposed rats' retinas were compared to a normal eye.
And what researchers found shocked them: results using rats showed that astaxanthin provides almost 100% protection against light damage and inflammation.
Where the thickness of the placebo group's retinas withered away by 29%, the astaxanthin group lost hardly any thickness at all. Amazing!
Remember, this is after exposure to direct sunlight for 24 hours straight. Are you starting to understand why astaxanthin is #1 on my list of top vision nutrients?