Astaxanthin, a member of the algae family, is a powerful antioxidant exhibiting unique hydrophilic and lipophilic characteristics. It is highly fat soluble, therefore it can be consumed with oil. It belongs to a family of natural ingredients known as carotenoids. Carotenoids are the chemical compounds present in food that give them nice colors naturally. It can also be produced in the laboratory from petrochemicals. Astaxanthin can be found in animals such as shrimp, lobsters, rainbow trout, salmon, and even in flamingos. All these animals appear pink in color, due to the presence of astaxanthin.
Being an antioxidant, astaxanthin is very useful for protection against oxidative and inflammatory diseases. However, it does not stop at protection from oxidative damages alone; Astaxanthin is also useful for the skin, the immune system, and eye health.
One interesting property of Astaxanthin is that it does not convert into a pro-oxidant, unlike some other antioxidants. Thus it doesn’t cause harm to the body. Studies have also shown that astaxanthin is not converted to vitamin A when consumed by the body. There is no record of toxicity. The only proven fact is that, when consumed in large quantities, it can make the tissues and the skin start turning pink. Fun astaxanthin trivia – flamingos are naturally white, but when they are fed food that is highly rich in astaxanthin, they start turning pink.
Let us look further into the health benefits of Astaxanthin
- What it does to the cells: Astaxanthin helps clean cells due to its antioxidant characteristics. Its unique chemical structure allows it to interact with both the water and fat soluble components of the cells. For this reason, it is capable of protecting both components of the cell.
- What it does to the eyes: Astaxanthin enhances sight and also helps with some eye diseases such as eye strain, diabetic retinopathy, and some other eye related diseases. Astaxanthin has demonstrated the ability to cross the blood retina barrier therefore, it can relate with the retina.
- Cardiovascular diseases and Astaxanthin: Especially in obese people, the level of low density lipoproteins in the body is usually high while the high density lipoprotein is low. Increased intake of Astaxanthin, helps reduce low density lipoproteins in the body. Astaxanthin increases the flow of blood in vessels. It also has the ability to reduce blood clotting.
- Astaxanthin and Fertility: Though studies still need to be carried out to support the claim, there have been many claims that astaxanthin helps increase male fertility by increasing sperm motility, sperm count, and so on.
- How Astaxanthin protects the skin: Wrinkling of the skin can be hastened by ultraviolet exposure making a person’s skin age faster than the person’s chronological age. Astaxanthin helps prevent this by protecting the skin against ultraviolet rays. When applied on the skin, it gives the skin a smooth appearance.
- Astaxanthin and cancer: The cost of getting the purified form of astaxanthin is quite expensive, a limiting factor for conducting further studies. The little research that has been done showed that this antioxidant helps to reduce the cancerous cells found in the breast.
- How Astaxanthin helps with your workout: You need energy and something to boost your endurance when you workout. Astaxanthin has the ability to use the fatty acids in the body, thus giving you more endurance while preventing fatigue.
- Indigestion: With the proper dosage, Astaxanthin helps with indigestion and seems to help in the case of ulcers, too. The powerful oxidative component of astaxanthin makes it very useful and potent for managing various oxidative diseases in your body.
Astaxanthin can also be used to boost and improve brain health. There are various brain diseases that occur as a result of oxidative stress affecting memory and cognitive functions. This oxidative stress damages and often destroys brain cells.
This is a disease of the brain, which progressively damages the brain cells, gradually leads to memory loss and a reduction in cognitive functions. Brain cell damage is sometimes caused by oxidative stress. If a person with Alzheimer’s disease is not immediately attended to and the symptoms worsen, the person will not be able to remember events that occurred very recently. It is said to be the most common type of dementia.
Astaxanthin and Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a result of damage to the brain cells which include the nerve cells. These cells are damaged mainly by oxidative stress. One of the important characteristics of Astaxanthin is that it can cross the blood brain barrier. Studies have shown that when Alzheimer’s is treated with Astaxanthin, it blocks the oxidative stress that leads to the brain cell damage that causes Alzheimer’s disease. This shows that Astaxanthin can be used to manage the condition of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It can also be used in the management of Parkinson’s disease, and it is a good supplement for brain health.
The foods where you can find Astaxanthin
It is quite important to know the food products that contain Astaxanthin if you are interested in maintaining and living a healthy life. These foods include mainly aquatic animals such as shrimp, salmon and some of the pink looking aquatic animals you can easily find.
The dosage of Astaxanthin
Make sure Astaxanthin is being prescribed to you by a physician before using it; only medical professionals can prescribe the correct dosage for you. Likewise, how much you can take depends on the condition for which you are taking it. The dosage for brain health will be different than for the dosage of skin health. Ensure you strictly adhere to the dosage prescribed to you by the specialist.
Astaxanthin can also be useful to boost human health overall, and also manage inflammatory and oxidative diseases.
This post comes from Digital Authority Partners, a healthcare marketing agency.