Krill oil contains two key ingredients for eye health:
+ Omega 3 phospholipids. These fat molecules are highly electrically charged and are essential for transforming the light ray into a neuro-signal to the brain. Insufficient omega 3 in the eye will greatly impair th quality of vision.
+ Krill oil houses a cousin of zeaxanthin called astaxanthin – about 1.5 grams in a high quality krill oil product. WellWise.org has a whole website dedicated to the astaxanthin supplement. Click here to go there.
Astaxanthin is an extremely powerful antioxidant and protects skin and eyes against damaging UV radiation. The eye is especially vulnerable because the eyelens focusses the damaging UV radiation on the cells in the back of the eye.
First, some anatomy information is in order. Within the eyeball sits the retina, which you can picture as the film of the eyeball’s camera. The macula is a yellowish spot on the retina that acts like sunglasses absorbing blue light – its yellow color is derived from the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
In a recent "gold-standard" randomized, placebo-controlled human clinical trial with 27 elderly Italians, those taking a supplement blend including four grams per day of astaxanthin saw significant improvement in their macular thickness after one year. The supplement also included reasonable quantities of vitamin C and E, zinc, copper, lutein and zeaxanthin.1
In animal studies on astaxanthin alone, Japanese researchers concluded that astaxanthin protected against retinal damage through antioxidant mechanisms.2
For the elderly
Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the leading cause of blindness. It happens when the oval disk on the retina in the back of the eye, the macula, begins to deteriorate. Australian researchers reviewed a sample of almost 89,000 people, about 3,200 of whom had ARMD. They found those who ate the most fish and thus had the highest intake of omega-3 fatty acids had 38 percent reduced risk of ARMD compared to those with the lowest fish consumption.3
These results have been repeated. A study published in December 2009 followed 1,837 elderly people at moderate-to-high risk of age-related eye disease for fully 12 years. Those who reported the highest consumption of omega-3s had the lowest incidence of eye disease.4
In March 2011, after a lot of haggling and complaints, the European Paliament finally supported the health claim "DHA intake contributes to the visual development of infants up to 12 months of age." Getting any health claim approved is always a long haul, and usually only happens after the science supporting the claim becomes absurdly clear.
To sum up the research: omega-3s and the carotenoid astaxanthin have been shown to protect vision health. These are compounds found in krill, though there has been as yet no direct research on krill with the health of the eyeball. That sort of direct evidence, ahem, remains to be seen.
Disclaimer:The information provided in this section is a public service of WellWise.org, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended to constitute personal medical advice.