The Formulator's View of the Qualia Vision Ingredients

The Formulator's View of the Qualia Vision Ingredients

QUALIA Vision combines 9 ingredients that have been carefully selected to support eye performance and counter visual stress. It was formulated especially for people who want support for the symptoms of eye strain and are concerned about protecting their eyes from blue light and other visual stress produced from digital lifestyles and devices with screens (e.g., computers, tablets, smartphones, televisions). Qualia Vision combines eye-healthy plant pigments, super fruit extracts, colorful spices, antioxidants, taurine, and vitamin B12. In this blog post, we’ll share some of the reasons why we included each ingredient in Qualia Vision.

A Few Notable Studies

These are a few publications from scientific journals highlighting some of the Qualia Vision ingredients.

Lutemax® 2020—a source of lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin—enhanced visual performance, countered eye strain and fatigue, and supported sleep quality (Pubmed 28661438).*

MirtoSelect® Bilberry Fruit Extract supported eye comfort, tear quality, and antioxidant status (Pubmed 28617532).*

Astaxanthin has supported visual acuity and the ability of eye muscles to focus the lens in several Japanese studies (Pubmed 22214255).*

Carotenoids like lutein and astaxanthin support macular health during aging (Pubmed 17716735).*

Saffron supplementation supports healthy macular function (Pubmed 22852021).*

Taurine helps alleviate visual fatigue in persons working on computer screens (Pubmed 14752617).*

Methylcobalamin supports eye functions involved with sustaining eye focus during prolonged screen time (Pubmed 3303247).

Qualia Vision Ingredients

Lutemax® 2020

Lutemax® 2020 is an award winning marigold flower extract containing a mixture of the three macular carotenoids—lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin. They are called macular carotenoids (or macular pigments), because they get into the eye—beta carotene, as an example, can’t—and concentrate in the central area of the retina, called the macula. This is the area that’s responsible for sharp, clear central vision, which is part of the reason that macular pigments support visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and photostress recovery. Lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin play a vital role in filtering blue light, acting as the retina’s blue blocker nutrients. They are also extremely important eye antioxidants.* These two functions are always important for eye health; they become even more critical when eyes spend a lot of time looking at sources of blue light, like digital screens.

We chose Lutemax 2020 as the source of macular carotenoids for several reasons. One is research. It has been clinically studied for enhancing visual performance, countering visual fatigue and stress, and supporting sleep quality in persons with high amounts of screen time. It has also countered psychological stress and supported neuroplasticity—resilience to stress and brain performance are important pluses for neurohackers. Another reason is that, in addition to containing lutein and zeaxanthin, it also has meso-zeaxanthin: all three macular carotenoids were important to us. Meso-zeaxanthin is an important blue light filter; it’s also routinely left out of products that are not using Lutemax 2020 as the source of macular carotenoids. The last reason is that Lutemax 2020 research has emphasized visual performance in young eyes, which was important to us, because we developed Qualia Vision to support young and old eyes (not just old eyes). We chose a dose so that two capsules of Qualia Vision provides the same dose of Lutemax 2020 used in the B.L.U.E study (this is the study that studied visual performance, eye stress, and sleep quality), while one capsule provides an amount of macular carotenoids that has been commonly used in studies for supporting macular health and countering eye fatigue and strain.*

Lutemax® 2020TM is a trademark of OmniActive Health Technologies Ltd.

MirtoSelect® Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) Fruit Extract

Bilberry can be thought of as blueberry’s European cousin. They are superficially similar in appearance to blueberries from the outside, but, on the inside, a bilberry has a deep red-purple color (blueberries have a more white or translucent flesh). The darker color inside makes bilberries one of the richest sources of plant pigments called anthocyanins. It’s these pigments that play a central role in bilberries being eye healthy (as well as brain and heart healthy). In human studies, alone or combined with some of the other eye health ingredients found in in Qualia Vision, bilberry extracts help counter eye strain and fatigue, support the ciliary eye muscle that gets overworked when eyes have to focus on screens, and provide comfort for the eye surface (which can get irritated from high amounts of screen time).*

Unlike blueberries, bilberries are very difficult to grow, so most are picked from wild plants (i.e., the demand exceeds the supply). This has resulted in bilberry being one of the most adulterated ingredients in dietary supplements. Because of this, we felt it was essential to use MirtoSelect® bilberry—a standardized bilberry extract containing 36% anthocyanins. MirtoSelect is made by Indena, the pioneer and worldwide leader in standardized bilberry extracts. This extract has been used in 60+ studies and more than 30 controlled or double-blind studies. We chose our dose to be consistent with studies when bilberry standardized extracts have been combined with macular carotenoids and used for support of eye stress. The result is the 80 mg dosage you'll find in one capsule of Qualia Vision. 

Mirtoselect® is a trademark of Indena S.p.A.

AstaPure® Haematococcus pluvialis Microalgae Extract (3% astaxanthin)

Astaxanthin is a reddish carotenoid. And, similar to the yellow macular carotenoids found in Lutemax® 2020, it can cross both the blood-brain and blood-retinal barriers. This means it can get into both the brain and the eye, where it acts as an antioxidant and light absorber.* The most concentrated source of astaxanthin is a microalgae called Haematococcus pluvialis. In this microalgae, astaxanthin acts as a plant defense compound, in other words, more of it is made when the environment is stressful. One of the biggest sources of stress for H. pluvialis is sunlight. The same is true for our eyes: they are designed to capture light, but this can be stressful for them. Supplementing with astaxanthin, because it is such a powerful antioxidant, supports the eye in capturing light and dealing with sources of eye stress. Most of the vision research on astaxanthin has been for issues related to screen time, where it has helped alleviate eye strain, and enhance the function and recovery of the muscles the lens uses to focus (these muscles get fatigued when we are looking at screens).* These were important benefits we wanted to deliver in Qualia Vision.

We chose AstaPure® as our source of astaxanthin, because it is grown sustainably using green technology including solar energy and advanced water recycling technologies to minimize environmental impact. When it came to selecting our dose, a few things guided our decision. One was that astaxanthin accumulates in cell and mitochondrial membranes, so lower doses, especially when taken over time, get the job done. The other reason had to do with bioavailability. Carotenoids can compete for absorption—taking beta carotene, as an example, can worsen lutein’s bioavailability, which is one reason Qualia Vision does not include beta carotene. We wanted to include enough astaxanthin to support the eyes, but not so much that it might hinder bioavailability of the carotenoids found in Lutemax® 2020. After looking at the research, we felt like adding 1 mg of astaxanthin per capsule was the sweet spot for making sure we were supplying sufficient astaxanthin to support healthy vision, without running the risk of interfering with the bioavailability of lutein and zeaxanthin. And, we wanted to include the combination of the red-pigmented astaxanthin, with the yellow-colored macular carotenoids (e.g., lutein, zeaxanthins), because consuming these different carotenoid colors broadens the range of antioxidant support, light absorption, and protection from light energy.*

AstaPure® is a registered trademark of Algatechnologies Ltd.

Saffron Stigma Extract

Saffron is a spice derived from the flowers of Crocus sativus. It’s been used and traded for at least 4000 years and is considered the world's most costly spice by weight. Saffron, as a spice, refers to the deep red-maroon colored stigmas and styles of the flowers (called threads). Saffron contains a mix of pigments that give it this distinctive color, several of which are in the eye-healthy carotenoid family. One of these is a water-soluble carotenoid called crocin. Saffron also contains some fat-soluble carotenoids including zeaxanthin and lycopene. There’s been a growing interest in the use of saffron for health purposes, including in areas such as mood, cognition, and vision. Ingredients that supported both the eye and the brain were a plus to us when developing Qualia Vision. After all, the eye is an extension of the brain (and the retina is part of the brain). Saffron stigma extract is a fit in Qualia Vision because saffron functions as an eye antioxidant, supports the light-sensitive retina in safely capturing light energy, promotes macular health, and may gradually enhance visual acuity.*

Most carotenoids only dissolve in oil (i.e., are fat-soluble). The crocin found in saffron is water-soluble, which is part of the reason saffron is used to give color to rice dishes and other water-based food recipes. We believe the water-solubility of crocin makes saffron a wonderful complement to the fat-soluble macular carotenoids found in Lutemax® 2020 and the astaxanthin in AstaPure®. We selected our dosage of the saffron stigma extract after reviewing the human studies where saffron extracts have been given alone for eye health, and the studies when it has been combined with some of the other ingredients contained in Qualia Vision. The end result was including a 10 mg dose per capsule of this eye-healthy spice.

Goji (Lycium barbarum) Fruit Juice Extract

Goji is a berry-type fruit from a plant with the botanical name Lycium barbarum. The fruit has been consumed in many regions in Asia. More recently, it has gained a reputation as a superfood in North America and Europe. Goji fruit has a pink-red color and a sweet and tangy taste. One of the compounds that give goji its distinctive color is the macular carotenoid zeaxanthin—goji fruits are considered to be among, if not the best food source of this important eye healthy macular carotenoid. Goji fruits are one of the most commonly used vision ingredients in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), where they are believed to provide nourishment and protection for the eyes (which makes sense knowing they are such a rich source of some eye-healthy nutrients). It’s included in Qualia Vision because of the combination of its use in TCM along with modern scientific studies, which have helped pinpoint some of the ways it supports healthy eye function. In short, it promotes eye antioxidant defenses, retinal cell pro-survival mechanisms, and mitochondrial function, while supporting both the front (lens) and back (retina) of the eye.* 

When we were developing Qualia Mind, we wanted to include several carotenoid sources, a range of pigment colors, and a variety of vision super fruits. Goji fruits satisfied all of these criteria. We selected a goji fruit juice extract that’s been standardized to contain 45% polysaccharides. The polysaccharides, usually referred to in research as Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBP), have, along with zeaxanthin, been the most studied goji fruit compound when it comes to healthy eye function and visual performance. We selected our dose to be complementary with the other ingredients in Qualia Vision. In existing studies, combining goji fruit with some of the other ingredients found in our formula was especially useful when it came to supporting the eyes in adapting to and dealing with light stress.* 

Amla (Emblica officinalis) Fruit Extract

Amla is one of the most important fruits in Ayurveda and in traditional healing systems in other parts of South and Southeast Asia. The fruits are a rich source of vitamin C, tannins, and other antioxidants. The name Amla derives from the Sanskrit word Amalaki, which means the “fruit of heaven”—the fruit was revered in both Hinduism and Buddhism. In Ayurveda, Amla is classified as a rasayana—this is the very exclusive family of elixirs and rejuvenators used for healthy aging. It is a tonic for Alochaka Pitta, which in Ayurveda, is the energy that governs eyesight and is responsible for sight and thinking processes, enabling us to see, perceive and analyse objects. Consuming amla fruit was believed to be an overall tonic for the eyes and to preserve and improve eyesight, while relieving many eye complaints that mirror the eye stress caused by excessive screetime (e.g., burning sensation in eyes, eye fatigue, eyestrain, irritated eyes).*

Our interest in including amla fruit in Qualia Vision arose from its traditional usage within Ayurveda. Some of the growing body of scientific research on amla has supported roles in both eye and brain health. Both it’s reputation and existing studies suggest that amla supports the front (healthy function of the lens) and back of the eyes (healthy function of the retina).* We sourced an extract standardized for tannins and vitamin C from a company that specializes in high quality Ayurvedic extracts. We included a dose of 150 mg per capsule because this is an amount we expect to nourish the eyes and act as a complement to the two other vision superfruits—bilberry and goji—found in Qualia Vision.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Root Extract

Ginger has a long history of use as a food spice and in traditional healing systems including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda. Ginger can be used alone, but is very commonly a part of poly-ingredient herbal combinations. In Ayurveda, as an example, the combination of ginger, black pepper, and long pepper, called Trikatu (“three pungent spices”), is frequently used together. It’s also added to many other herbal mixes. Modern research has identified a scientific reason that may explain this usage in poly-herb mixes: these plants act as bioenhancers, supporting the bioavailability of other plant compounds. While piperine—found in both black pepper and long pepper—gets most of the bioenhancer attention, ginger has similar bioenhancer actions when it comes to carotenes and several other nutrients.*

Because macular carotenoids and astaxanthin are such an important nutrient for eye health and performance, and because Qualia Vision contains several different carotenoid-containing ingredients (e.g., Lutemax® 2020, AstaPure® Astaxanthin, Saffron, Goji Fruit), we decided to include a carotenoid bioenhancer. We chose ginger instead of piperine, because ginger supports the health of the lens and retina.* We sourced an extract standardized to contain not less than 5% gingerols—these are the pungent principles that give ginger its characteristic flavor. We selected the dose of 100 mg per capsule because we believe that this dose is sufficient to act as a bioenhancer and complement the other superfruit and spice ingredients in Qualia Vision. 


Taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the brain and eyes, where it plays functional roles that support brain health, central nervous system function, and vision.* All ocular tissues contain taurine—it is the most abundant amino acid in the retina, vitreous, lens, cornea, iris, and ciliary body. About 50–80% of the taurine pool of the retina is in photoreceptors, with taurine playing important roles in many aspects of retinal and photoreceptor cell function. Photoreceptor cells release taurine in response to light stress—it's thought that taurine protects the photoreceptor—so greater light stress may mean the eyes' need for taurine may also be greater. Taurine plays an important role in vitamin A trafficking within photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelial cells.* We included taurine in Qualia Vision because these retinal and photoreceptor functions are taxed when eyes spend lots of time looking at screens.

The body can make some taurine, but the rest of its requirements must be supplied from what we consume in the diet and supplements. The average dietary intake of taurine in omnivores has been estimated to be in the range of 75-135 mg/d—vegan diets have been reported to be virtually devoid of taurine. We chose the dose of taurine to mimic what would be found in a typical omnivore diet. We believe this dosage is sufficient to provide the dietary taurine support eyes need to stay healthy and respond appropriately to light energy of all colors, including the blue light from screens. 

Vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin)

Methylcobalamin is a member of the B-complex family of vitamins and is the coenzyme or active form of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for supporting the health and function of neurons, like the optic nerve that conveys information from the eyes to the visual parts of the brain. It is essential for the function of the retina, which, like the optic nerve, is part of the brain, so is nerve tissue. Healthy nerve function is also important for the muscles that move the eyeballs, the accommodation reflex that adjusts lens focus, the pupil light reflex that determines how much light enters the eye, and the blink reflex and corneal nerves that keep the surface of the eye healthy and comfortable.* It’s included in Qualia Vision because of this essentiality.

We chose the methylcobalamin form of vitamin B12, as opposed to cyanocobalamin, for a few reasons. One reason is that methylcobalamin has been the form of vitamin B12 used in several studies for supporting eye performance in persons using computers. Another reason is that methylcobalamin has been the preferred form of vitamin 12 used in brain and vision research. We selected a dose of vitamin B12 to be about double the daily value, because our main objective was to ensure that sufficient vitamin B12 was being supplied to guard against inadequacy and the eye health issues that can result when there’s insufficient vitamin B12 in the diet.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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