Astaxanthin is part of the carotenoid family, an organic pigment found in algae (Haematococcus Pluvialis), bacteria and plants.
Carotenoids are what gives flowers, fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors. Carotenoids act as a natural antioxidant for
the body and of the 700 antioxidants discovered so far, astaxanthin has proven to be the most powerful.
When fighting free radicals, astaxanthin is designed perfectly to protect all parts of the cell. When it acts as an antioxidant, it positions itself across the entire cell membrane, attaching itself to both the exterior, interior and lipid layer, offering entire protection for each cell. This translates to protection on the outside of the cell from free radicals, the inside of the cell where the free radicals are being generated, and also the lipid layer prone to oxidation.
Astaxanthin separates itself from most other antioxidants to be the best as it controls multiple free radicals at a time compared to other antioxidants like Vitamin C or Vitamin E that just control just one. Astaxanthin forms an electron cloud around the molecule so when free radicals come by to steal electrons they are absorbed into the cloud and neutralized.
Another unique quality of Astaxanthin is its ability to handle multiple types of free radicals. Certain antioxidants can only handle
one type of free radical whether it be an oxygen free radical, a nitric oxide free radical or a peroxyl free radical. However,
Astaxanthin has no problem dealing with them all.
Not only does it work against multiple free radicals but unlike most other antioxidants Astaxanthin does not become a harmful pro-oxidant when exhausted. When some antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E are exhausted, they become harmful pro-oxidants and cause oxidation in the body.
Free radicals are molecules that have
lost an electron, becoming positively charged, explosive, and chemically reactive. If not controlled these free radicals
will cause damage to cell membranes by oxidative stress. Free radicals form when weak bonds between molecules split leaving
a molecule with an unpaired electron. This weak bond could be a result of an unhealthy diet, pollution, inflammation, smoking
or even exercising. When these molecules become unstable after losing an electron, they look to steal a new electron from
nearby stable molecules creating a chain reaction of free radicals. This chain effect of oxidative stress is much like
rusting or an apple turning brown once cut open. Normally the body should be able to neutralise free radicals, however
in our modern environment we are exposed to an abundance of toxin causing free radicals. This exposure often creates an
imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, resulting in oxidative stress.
Antioxidants stop the oxidization or degrading
of molecules in the body by cleaning up free radicals in your body. They do this by donating one of their electrons to
the unstable molecule, neutralising it. In most cases, these antioxidants do not become free radicals by donating an electron
because they are stable in either form. However, our bodies can only make a certain amount of antioxidants which is often
not enough. For this reason, we should be consuming antioxidants through fruits, vegetables and supplements. Antioxidants
can also help prevent some forms of cancer and heart disease and act to enhance your immune response to infections.
Pro-oxidants are chemicals that induce oxidative stress. Many antioxidants under certain conditions in the body can become harmful pro-oxidants and cause additional oxidation in the body. This can occur when antioxidants become exhausted after containing single free radicals. In multiple studies, astaxanthin has shown never to become a pro-oxidant unlike common anti-oxidants such as vitamin C and E.
Inflammation is necessary and an important
biological process that allows us to survive. It’s our body’s response to fighting infection and repairing damaged
tissue. However, persistent inflammation can be extremely harmful. Most people experience low levels of inflammation without
realizing it, originating from anything such as smoking, high dietary sugar, trans fats, stress, or lack of exercise. Compared
to some anti-inflammatory drugs, astaxanthin targets inflammation throughout the body without the potential harmful side effects
of many drugs. Whether you have mild overuse soreness or a major inflammatory illness astaxanthin's anti-inflammatory properties
will benefit anyone.
Five signs of inflammation are:
In most cases, when there is inflammation, there is oxidative stress. By decreasing inflammation, astaxanthin can help prevent, and treat, a number of problems that result directly from inflammation.
Anti inflammatory drugs have earned a bad reputation as drugs with a long list of harmful side effects. In some severe cases, they are necessary but in order to battle chronic inflammation, natural anti-inflammatories like Astaxanthin are a much safer long term solution. While some drugs will target single inflammation mediators, astaxanthin will affect a wide range in a gentler, less concentrated manner, without the negative side effects. An antioxidant with this kind of power can have a positive impact on human health; more studies are regularly being published about this incredible nutrient. Here are just some of the ways astaxanthin can positively impact your health, according to the latest research:
As we age many of us experience pains in our joints. Often this pain is a result of inflammation in the joint. Astaxanthin
has been shown to help with a range of common joint and tendon pains with its ability to reduce inflammation, resulting
in less pain and better mobility. In one study, more than 80 percent of arthritis suffers improved with astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin can help with:
A study by the Health Research and Studies Center involved giving tennis elbow sufferers an eight-week course of astaxanthin. The treatment group showed a 93 percent improvement in grip strength, as well as decreased pain. The same study also found the severity of pain and the duration of Carpal tunnel syndrome with the supplementation of Astaxanthin reduced significantly. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition published a study that found after eight weeks, rheumatoid arthritis sufferers experienced a 35% improvement in pain levels along with a 40% improvement in their ability to perform daily tasks. One astaxanthin trial by The Human Performance Laboratories at the University of Memphis that looked at post exercise knee soreness in young healthy males. They found the placebo group had knee soreness lasting up to 48 hours after the workouts compared to the group on Astaxanthin experiencing no increase in knee soreness after workouts.
Most brain diseases result from oxidation and inflammation with free radicals damaging the brain over time eventually leading
to Dementia or Alzheimer’s. As a fat-soluble nutrient, Astaxanthin can cross the blood-brain barrier. There is an
abnormal accumulation of hydroperoxides within red blood cells in people with dementia and Alzheimer's, however, when given
astaxanthin, these harmful free radicals have been reduced by up to 50%. With astaxanthin's antioxidant abilities, it can
enhance the brain and nervous system protection from free radicals.
Astaxanthin can help with:
Researchers have found astaxanthin supplementation has led to improvements in cognitive function in older individuals with age-related forgetfulness. Astaxanthin has been shown to accumulate in the red blood cells of people who suffer from dementia, potentially reducing the risk of dementia. According to study in the Alternative Medicine Review, 'Astaxanthins clinical success extends beyond protection against oxidative stress and inflammation to show promise for slowing age-related function decline.'
Our retina is an oxygen and light rich environment demanding a large number of free radical scavengers to prevent oxidative
damage. Astaxanthin easily crosses into the tissues of the eye and mopping up free radicals and reducing inflammation safely
and with more potency than any other carotenoid without any harmful reactions.
Astaxanthin can help with:
Epidemiological studies have shown diets high in carotenoids are associated with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. After studies on many carotenoids and their ability to protect the retina, none have managed to work as well as Astaxanthin does. As a free radical scavenger, with the ability to pass through the blood-retina barrier, astaxanthin has outperformed all other carotenoids as the winner when it comes to protecting your eyes.
Astaxanthin could be beneficial for heart health by preventing oxidation of cholesterol and reducing inflammation. Oxidative
stress and inflammation are involved in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Astaxanthin can help improve blood lipid
profiles by decreasing LDL and triglycerides, and by increasing HDL. Astaxanthin also can lower blood pressure and improve
plaque stability in the arteries.
Astaxanthin can help with:
Astaxanthin helps protect your skin from overexposure due to sun-induced free radicals. It is said to act as an internal sunscreen by reducing damage caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun, the largest environmental risk factor for skin cancer. The same powerful antioxidant properties that protect the algae from the sun’s rays will protect you skin as well. Skin cells that are exposed to ultraviolet light produce free radicals that trigger aging effects and promote cancer. It takes a few weeks of supplementation for this pigment to build up in your skin, however once it has it will be much harder for your skin to burn from sun exposure.
A study looking at the skins resistance to both UVA and UVB light before and after astaxanthin supplementation showed within 3 weeks of supplementing 4mg of astaxanthin a day, subjects showed a significant increase in the time taken for their skin to burn. Another study in Japan found women supplementing astaxanthin saw improvements in as little as four weeks with 2mg a day. This includes better moisture, fewer fine lines, increased skin elasticity, fewer freckles and a smoother surface.
Immune system cells are extremely sensitive to free-radical damage, partly because their cell membranes contain a high percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, a common target of free radicals. Antioxidants offer important protection against free radicals to preserve the immune system defenses. Astaxanthin will aid the immune system by increasing the total number of antibody-producing B-cells and help increase the production of T-cells, also reducing DNA damage.
Astaxanthin has been shown to display anti-cancer properties in animal studies. As astaxanthin is not commonly found in a human
diet, information on the extent of it’s benefits to human health is limited but growing. As a powerful antioxidant,
astaxanthin can inhibit the growth of cancer cells by lowering free radical-induced cellular damage, reducing inflammation
and boosting an immune response. A handful of studies has shown astaxanthin protected mice and rats from cancers by improving
their anti-tumor response and a great inhibitory effect on cancer.
Astaxanthin shows positive effects against cancer by:
As one of the most effective natural anti-inflammatories, astaxanthin can enhance athletic ability. By lowering inflammation,
one could experience a reduction in joint and muscle soreness after exercise, along with an increase in endurance and faster
recovery. Most of our mitochondrial cells are found in muscle tissue for energy production. By producing energy in the
muscles when exercising, we make free radicals resulting in cellular damage, inflammation and sore muscles. The harder
the exercise the more free radicals we products.
Astaxanthin can help with:
When Salmon prepare to lay eggs they swim upstream, often against strong currents and over dams. They embark on such journeys for hundreds of miles often without food. It is believed that Astaxanthin plays a large role in their ability to undertake such a feat as it increases one's endurance abilities.
For more information on Astaxanthin here is a video of Dr Mercola interviewing an expert on Astaxanthin, Dr Rob Corish.
To view the research on Astaxanthin, please view our library of papersGo to Library
For more resources, visit the Astaxanthin Library