Whether you’re hiking, biking, or hitting the pool, your outdoor lifestyle is likely causing dangerous damage to your retinas. A good pair of sunglasses can only go so far, so it’s time to provide the delicate tissues of your eyes the protection they deserve with USANA’s antioxidant supplement designed to support long-term eye health.*
- An antioxidant formula designed to help protect the delicate tissues of the eye from photo-oxidation*
- Protects the retina with lutein, zeaxanthin, and bilberry extract*
- Contains vitamin C and other nutrients to help maintain the structure and integrity of the lens*
You think about the health of your heart, brain, and bones, but what about your eyes? After our brains, our eyes are the most complex organ in our body. Unfortunately, as we age, a natural decline in visual acuity is likely to occur. One of the most important reasons for this loss of visual acuity over time is damage from environmental factors. Additionally, except during sleep, eyes are constantly exposed to environmental factors like sunlight, dryness, and air pollution. Over the past couple decades, there have been significant advances in research related to nutrition and eye health. Ophthalmologists recommend a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and adding an advanced eye health supplement to your daily routine to help maintain long-term eye health.*
Visionex keeps your eyes strong and focused by providing nutrients essential for eye health and antioxidants that help fight off damaging free radicals.
- The central nervous system is composed of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and other structures that help us perceive the world around us, including our eyes.
- The human eye, together with our brain and nervous system, allows us to process images of our external world.
- The eye is particularly prone to photo- and oxidative-damage from light, exposure to environmental factors, and its high metabolic rate.
- To help protect it from damage, the eye has the ability to selectively concentrate nutrients.
- Nutrients that support eye health include vitamin C, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and certain phytonutrients.
- Our bodies cannot make these nutrients and so we must obtain them from the diet or a nutritional supplement.
- USANA’s Visionex is formulated with lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, zinc, and bilberry extract to specifically support eye health.
- Emerging research indicates that many of these nutrients—especially lutein and zeaxanthin—have additional health benefits for brain and skin health.
The Central Nervous System and Blood Brain Barrier
The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and other structures that coordinate and influence the activity of all parts of our body. Our eyes are considered part of the CNS because many parts of the eye actually begin as brain tissue during early embryonic development. Additionally, it takes many nerves and our brain to be able to perceive the light our eyes are taking in as physical objects. The fact that the eyes are part of the CNS is important because all structures of the CNS are protected by something known as the blood-brain-barrier or BBB.
The BBB consists of a highly selective, semi-permeable membrane that separates the circulating blood from the fluids and structures of the CNS. The BBB is formed by especially tight connections between the cells that line blood vessels in and around the CNS. The BBB functions to protect these very delicate structures. To do so, it selectively allows only a few select molecules, nutrients, and chemicals to pass, either by passive diffusion or selective transport. Water is an example of a molecule that can passively cross the BBB and larger molecules like glucose, amino acids, fats, and other nutrients that are essential to brain, neuronal, and eye function are selectively and actively transported. Therefore, not all nutrients make it to the CNS. Thus, to get nutrients into the brain, neurons, and the eye, we must selectively target nutritional interventions to compounds known to cross the BBB.
The Benefits of Visionex
One important reason for the loss of visual acuity over time is the damage to our eyes caused by environmental factors. Except when we are asleep, our eyes are constantly exposed to environmental elements such as air pollution, dryness, and oxidative damage from the sunlight. The ingredients found in Visionex work together to help support healthy vision. The formula is designed to protect the delicate tissues of the eye from photo-oxidation.*
Supplementation with the lutein and zeaxanthin in Visionex can also help preserve visual function. Use of these important carotenoids sustains tolerance to and recovery from exposure to bright light, supports visual acuity in low-light or hazy conditions, and can maintain healthy vision by making edges appear clearer.*
Other Health Benefits of Visionex
New and recent research has shown that many of the ingredients in USANA’s Visionex formula have additional health benefits outside of the eyes. As mentioned above, Flavonoids and vitamin C help promote healthy blood vessels. Vitamin C and zinc work together to provide antioxidant protection. Zinc additionally helps to transport vitamin A into the eye. The central portion of the macula—the portion of the retina where most light is focused—contains a dense yellow pigment called macular pigment. Macular pigment helps protect the sensitive receptors in the macula from the potentially harmful effects of high-intensity, shorter-wavelengths of light (also referred to as blue light). Obviously, these nutrients will have similar health benefits throughout the body but some of the most exciting research centers around lutein and zeaxanthin.
Lutein and zeaxanthin accumulate throughout the body. They concentrate in tissues, organs, bones, and become especially concentrated in the skin and specific regions in the brain. And now the links between many outcomes of skin health, brain/cognitive function, a healthy cardiovascular system, and additional measures of eye health have also been identified.
And not only in adults but many of these effects are observed in infants, children, elite athletes, adults, and the elderly.
First is their ability to act as antioxidants, helping protect against damaging oxidative stress in lipid membranes of all tissues they are found in including essential lipid-based particles that float around our blood stream and are responsible for cardiovascular health.
The leading hypotheses for why lutein and zeaxanthin have such wide-ranging effects centers around three key properties of their molecular structures. First is their ability to act as antioxidants, helping protect against damaging oxidative stress in lipid membranes of all tissues they are found in including essential lipid-based particles that float around our blood stream and are responsible for cardiovascular health. Second, the same reason lutein and zeaxathin protect the retina and macula from sunlight also protects other tissues exposed to the sun especially the skin. For example, when the skin becomes rich in carotenoids including lutein and zeaxanthin, they yield the equivalent of an SPF (sun protecting factor) of around six-eight.
Lutein and zeaxanthin also offer benefits for skin appearance by increasing surface lipids (good for hydration and elasticity) and enhancing natural antioxidant photo-protective activity to reduce the visible effects of the sun. The vitamin C in Visionex also supports the synthesis of collagen, which is an important structural protein in the skin.*
Brain and cognitive health
Lastly, in regards to brain health, a couple factors likely come into play. As mentioned above, not only can lutein and zeaxanthin cross the BBB and get deposited in the eye but they also now have been shown to be deposited in other regions of the brain. But what can account for such a broad range of cognitive effects? Two aspects are likely responsible. Both relate to increasing the speed and efficiency of sending signal through neurons.
The first proposed mechanism that may be occurring is an improved speed at which signals are sent down a neuron. This may be the result of their antioxidant properties and helping to “shuttle” electrons or other neural signals down a neuron.
The second hypothesis is that lutein and zeaxanthin are working through cell signaling pathways to turn on specific genes. What has been shown tis that lutein and zeaxanthin activate specific cell signaling pathways that turn on a gene that is responsible for holding—especially neurons—tightly against each other through what are known as tight junctions. Think of these tight junctions as glue that keeps the cells in close connection. The more glue the stronger and tighter the connection. Why would this be important? Neurons need to send messages not only down the length of their cells but also communicate between cells. The better these connections, the more efficient the signal is both sent and received. Increased signaling efficiency equals the faster a message is sent. By also increasing the amount of this cellular glue, may help neurons in the brain better form new connections—something very important for learning and memory.
As a result indices of brain function such as learning, memory, verbal fluency, learned knowledge and experience, reaction time, balance, neural efficiency (processing speed), and many measures of cognitive performance have been shown to improve in individuals with the highest levels of circulating carotenoids and specifically lutein and zeaxanthin.
Dietary intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin
While the roles lutein and zeaxanthin play in the physiology of all of these tissues are not completely known, the links between lutein and overall health are so strong that several national and regional health organizations have recommended the increase of dietary lutein.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of increasing overall carotenoid consumption including lutein and zeaxanthin on overall health. It has been shown that both adult’s and children’s diets are significantly deficient. Thus, the majority of the population could benefit from increasing amounts being consumed either through a healthy diet and/or through nutritional supplementation.
The USANA Difference
Sun exposure and screen time in front of a computer’s glare can take a toll on your vision. Guard your long-term eye health with proper protection, such as sunglasses, and provide your eyes with the dietary carotenoids they need. The links between lutein and zeaxanthin and eye health are so strong that several national and regional health organizations have recommended an increase of dietary lutein. The amounts of lutein, zeaxanthin, and other eye-supporting nutrients working together in Visionex can help protect the future of your eyesight.*
- Protect and Strengthen Your Eyes with Visionex
- Which Nutrients Best Support Healthy Vision?
- Why the Eyes Are Especially Prone to Damage and How to Protect Them ?
- Anatomy and Physiology of the Eye and How We See
- The Central Nervous System and Blood Brain Barrier