top 6 ingredients for cognition and eye health

Top 6 ingredients for cognition and eye health

Top 6 ingredients for cognition and eye health

November 22nd, 2023

All of our senses allow us to enjoy the world around us and vision is no exception. Cognition is essential to make something meaningful of all senses. As you can imagine, nutrition is crucial in maintaining healthy vision and cognition, since several nutrients are essential for the visual system. In this blog, we embark on a journey to discover these essential nutrients, and, as a bonus, discuss a few compounds that can actually enhance cognition and eye-health!

top 6 ingredients for cognition and eye health

The connection between cognition and vision

Cognition is a broad term encompassing thinking, learning, memory, and attention; in other words, it refers to all the mental processes that occur in the brain (1). Vision functions as a key information provider to cognition. This relationship between the brain and eyes is crucial since vision can impact performance of cognitive tasks, positively or negatively. Deterioration of eye performance is actually linked to a reduction in cognitive activities like reading and socializing, notably leading to a poor cognitive state (2).

 

Challenges for a healthy vision

In our modern-day society, numerous factors present challenges to the well-being of both our vision and cognition. One essential challenge is the abundance of time spent behind screens. Digital eye strain is a condition that is attributed to prolonged and extended use of digital screens typically related to symptoms like blurry vision, headaches and dry eyes (3).

 

According to the American Optometric Association, workers and regular users of digital screen devices are especially at risk. Screen time of two or more hours without interruption, can already lead to aforementioned symptoms (4). More than 60% of the working population in the US report having symptoms related to too much screen time. Moreover, >70% of children and adolescents exceed the two hour screen time as well (5).

 

Given the extent of the challenges, it becomes imperative to adopt proactive measures to mitigate their effects and safeguard eye health, and cognition by extent. By addressing these factors head-on, we can not only slow down the development of age-related degenerative processes but also actively support the resilience and vitality of our eyes and cognitive functions.

Taking care of our eyes

How should we take care of our eyes? Let’s discuss a couple of easily adoptable measures:

 

Regular eye check-ups. It’s advisable to have a comprehensive eye examination every two years, regardless of wearing glasses or not (6). Optometrists may prescribe glasses with anti-reflective coatings to protect eyes from harmful blue light emitted by electronic devices.

 

Adopting eye-friendly behavior. The 20-20-20 rule is a simple and effective measure to reduce eye strain. It encompasses the idea to look at an object at least 20 feet (6 meters) away for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes (7). In order to make this a habit, you can opt to put a timer every 20 minutes when you are at work.

 

A diet rich in eye-healthy foods. Nutrition is a crucial modifiable factor with the potential for a huge effect on our daily life. There are sources that naturally contain compounds that help in maintaining a healthy vision and cognition. You can think of eggs, fatty fish, certain seeds, nuts and berries.

 

Eye health supplements. If you are limited by inconvenience or geographical access for food choice, it can be tricky to consume nutrients in recommended quantities through a regular diet. Therefore, adding nutritional supplements is a great additional strategy for reaching the required amount of nutrients in a safe and convenient manner.

food for eye health

The 6 best ingredients for cognition and eye health

When choosing to select supplements for supporting cognition and eye health, you consider a couple of relevant ingredients. Let’s check out the six to keep in mind:

 

Vitamin A is essential to protect the outer surface of the eye, known as the cornea. It also maintains the function of the retina, which allows us to differentiate colors and shades. Vitamin A can be obtained from yolks, liver and some vegetables like carrots (8). Supplementation is advised if the recommended daily dose cannot be reached via the diet – 900mcg for men and 700mcg for women.

 

Lutein is a yellow carotenoid pigment, found in the central retina. Its function is to protect against the harmful blue light (9), often emitted by electronic devises. Lutein supplementation may reduce the risk of developing harmful eye conditions. Common sources of lutein include green peas, parsley and kale as well as egg yolks. The daily dose of lutein supplements is between 5-20 mg.

 

Astaxanthin is a well-known anti-oxidant, often referred to as “the king of the caretonoids”, with health benefits in multiple areas, amongst which eye health. It improves ocular blood flow, enhancing oxygen distribution and waste clearance in the eyes (10). Astaxanthin can be obtained by eating salmon, shrimp and lobster. However, for supplementation purposes, there is a great alternative through microalgae sources, which is a natural and animal-friendly alternative. Supplementation daily dose varies between 4-12 mg (11).

 

Omega 3 fatty acids are a great strategy for overall health support, including the eyes. Omega-3s could reduce the risk of dry eyes and high eyes pressure (12). Food sources of omega 3 include salmon, herring and tuna. Additionally, supplements derived from fish, krill or microalgae are widely available. The daily dose for supplementation ranges from 500-600mg.

 

Vitamin E protects the retina from harmful oxidation. It’s crucial for optimal eye health and can be mostly obtained by eating seeds and nuts (13). Daily supplementation dose ranges between 5-12mg (14).

 

Aronia berry extract. Aronia berries are fruits with a high concentration of anthocyanins, specifically cyanidin-3-0-glycosides (15). These compounds are linked to benefits for cognition, focus, and eye health. BioActor’s proprietary Aronia berry extract, Brainberry®, has been demonstrated to improve focus, concentration and hand-eye coordination at a low daily dose of only 65 mg (16, 17).