Astaxanthin is a nutritional supplement that acts as a supernutrient and a powerful antioxidant. It is a free radical scavenger that can relieve pain, reduce inflammation and help anti-aging through preventing cellular breakdown, optimizing cellular function and reducing DNA damage.
• the immune system
• healthy skin, eyes, joints, muscles, and tendons
• cardiovascular function
• cognitive function
• the nervous system
• male fertility and
• the body in recovery from exercise.
It helps reduce fatigue and improve levels of energy. It combats oxidative damage produced by UV radiation, acting as an internal sunscreen. It stabilizes blood sugar.
According to WebMD, it is used for treating dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, high cholesterol, and an eye condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Astaxanthin is recommended by Dr. Mercola for virtually everyone as one of the most profoundly beneficial supplements. It is the focus of a large number of peer-reviewed scientific studies.
Astaxanthin is a naturally-occurring carotenoid found in microalgae and causes the pink or red colour in salmon, trout, shrimp, lobster, crab and other seafood. Carotenoids are pigment colors that occur in nature and support good health.
Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant with broad health benefits. It is a carotenoid and a free radical scavenger, which filters into every cell of the body. It is FAR more potent than beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, lycopene and lutein, other members of its carotenoid family.
A 2007 Japanese study found astaxanthin exhibited the most potent singlet oxygen quenching activity among the antioxidant compounds tested. It was:
• 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C (as ascorbic acid)
• 800 times stronger than CoQ10 (as ubiquinone)
• 550 times stronger than green tea catechins
• 110 times stronger than vitamin E (alpha tocopherol)
• 75 times stronger than alpha lipoic acid
• 5 times more powerful than beta-carotene.
Most other antioxidants such as beta carotene, vitamin C and E, selenium, zeaxanthin, can typically only handle one free radical at a time, whereas astaxanthin can handle multiple free radicals simultaneously. It does this by forming an electron cloud around the molecule. When free radicals try to steal electrons from the astaxanthin molecule, they are absorbed into and neutralized by this electron cloud instead.
In this way, astaxanthin protects your cells, organs and body tissues from oxidative damage. It is soluble in lipids, so it incorporates into cell membranes.
It helps with skin moisture levels, smoothness, elasticity, fine wrinkles, and spots or freckles. A 2012 study showed that combining topical and oral doses of astaxanthin can help to smooth wrinkles, make age spots smaller, and help maintain skin moisture.
It protects your skin against damage. UV radiation produces free radicals. The astaxanthin, as a potent antioxidant, can neutralize or quench those free radicals and stop them from causing damage, which otherwise would lead to sunburn or to inflammation of the skin. It works like an internal sunscreen. Astaxanthin does not block UV rays, so it doesn’t prevent UVB from converting into vitamin D in your skin.
Current research suggests, if you take at least 2 mg of astaxanthin daily for a month, you will be less likely to be sunburned. It takes two to four weeks for the pigment to build up enough in your tissues to offer protection from sunburn.
Astaxanthin has the unique ability to cross through a barrier and reach your retina. Well-designed clinical trials have shown that astaxanthin helps diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, eye strain and fatigue and seeing in fine detail. Astaxanthin can also cross the blood-brain barrier and the blood-retinal barrier, and provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection to the eyes.
It improves cardiovascular function, by improving elastin levels and arterial wall thickness and may lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Natural astaxanthin was shown to reduce C Reactive Protein CRP by more than 20 percent in only eight weeks. CRP is a key indicator of heart disease. It has been linked to improved blood flow, and lowering oxidative stress in smokers and overweight people.
Astaxanthin can also cross the blood-brain barrier and provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection to the brain. Studies on brain health show that astaxanthin protects neurons, and can slow the effects of age-related cognitive decline, as well as decline in psychomotor functions.
It significantly decreased accumulation of phospholipid hydroperoxides, a compound that has been shown to accumulate in people with dementia or age-related forgetfulness.
Pain and inflammation
Astaxanthin is a potent anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. It reduces the inflammatory compounds that drive many chronic diseases. It works like some prescription analgesics by blocking COX 2 enzymes, like drugs prescribed for osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, acute pain and painful periods but without the associated risks. It may be able to reduce inflammation and pain symptoms related to arthritis. Astaxanthin also acts on at least five different inflammation pathways, and maintains balance within the system.
Astaxanthin relieves minor aches and pains from exercise. It is indicated for recovery of muscles, better endurance and enhanced strength. It can boost the body’s use of fatty acids, which helps endurance, and can prevent muscle and skeletal damage.
It allows athletes to recover much quicker from strenuous exercise. It has the ability to enhance athletic performance. There have been positive reports from marathon and triathlon athletes. Students who took 4 mg per day of astaxanthin for six months improved their strength and endurance by 62 percent — and their endurance increased three times as fast as the control group.
It is an effective natural inflammatory to help prevent having tired and sore muscles. A Japanese mouse study showed astaxanthin decreased muscle inflammation by more than 50 percent. In a 2001 health survey, astaxanthin supplementation resulted in 88 percent of participants reporting improvement in muscle and joint soreness.
It reduces fatigue and improves energy levels. It aids in reduction of lactic acid in muscle tissues. A group of 20-year-old men were given 6mg astaxanthin daily for four weeks. After running 1200 meters, these young men averaged 28.6 percent lower serum lactic acid, compared to the placebo group.
A 2005 study showed improvements in sperm parameters, like count and motility.
It is non-toxic and has had no adverse reactions or negative effects, even with very high doses.
People taking astaxanthin may receive benefit from as little as 4 mg per day. Those seeking to improve their heart health, taking it to improve athletic performance athlete or those suffering from chronic inflammation may want to take anywhere from 8 to 12 mg daily.