What is Astaxanthin?

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
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, Antioxidants and Pro-oxidants

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. CBD Oil is one example of an extremely powerful nature antixodant. 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.

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More About Astaxanthin

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 papers

Guerin, Martin, Mark E. Huntley, and Miguel Olaizola. “Haematococcus astaxanthin: applications for human health and nutrition.TRENDS in Biotechnology 21.5 (2003): 210-216.

Katagiri, Mikiyuki, et al. “Effects of astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract on cognitive function: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition 51.2 (2012): 102

Nakagawa, Kiyotaka, et al. “Antioxidant effect of astaxanthin on phospholipid peroxidation in human erythrocytes.”British Journal of Nutrition 105.11 (2011): 1563-1571.

Liu, Xuebo, and Toshihiko Osawa. “Astaxanthin protects neuronal cells against oxidative damage and is a potent candidate for brain food.” (2009): 129-135. (2009): 129-135.

Kidd, Parris. “Astaxanthin, cell membrane nutrient with diverse clinical benefits and anti-aging potential.” Altern Med Rev 16.4 (2011): 355-64..

Parisi, Vincenzo, et al. “Carotenoids and antioxidants in age-related maculopathy italian study: multifocal electroretinogram modifications after 1 year.” Ophthalmology 115.2 (2008): 324-333.

Martin, H. D., et al. “Chemistry of carotenoid oxidation and free radical reactions.” Pure and applied chemistry 71.12 (1999): 2253-2262.

Tominaga, Kumi, et al. “Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on humans subjects.” Acta Biochimica Polonica 59.1 (2012): 43.

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