What Is Astaxanthin - Worlds Strongest Antioxidant?
What Exactly Is Astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin (pronounced asta-zan-thin) is carotenoid that is renowned for its anti-oxidant activity. It is what makes Salmon and Krill red, obtained through their diet.
There are more than 600 naturally occurring pigments synthesized by plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. The color of plants are the product of these pigments.
Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful and most studied carotenoids for this reason. When Haematococcus pluvialis algae dries, Astaxanthin is born. The algae produces this red carotenoid to protect itself from the effects of losing its nutrient supply and to stay alive.
Natural sources include this algae and animals that consume it including krill and salmon. It is found in very high amounts in the muscles of salmon (it is the carotenoid that gives salmon its bright red color). The higher astaxanthin content that gives wild caught salmon a brighter red color than farmed salmon.
Astaxanthin cannot turn pro-oxidant (harmful to the body) in the digestive process. This adds to the anti - oxidative stress benefits. This is not true for other antioxidants.
Astaxanthin Decreases Inflammation
Research suggests natural Astaxanthin is 6,000 times as potent as vitamin C, making Astaxanthin incredibly strong. Like any antioxidant, it has the ability to help reduce inflammation, but it has several unique properties that make it especially beneficial:
- Because it is 6000 times more powerful than vitamin C, making it incredibly good at reducing free radicals.
- It is able to cross the blood/brain barrier and the blood/retina barrier so that it can benefit the brain and eyes. Other antioxidants can't do this.
Astaxanthin Increases Endurance
Astaxanthin is found in the highest amounts in the muscles of salmon. This bright red antioxidant is linked to the extreme endurance of salmon as they swim upstream.
The same properties it has that make it beneficial to salmon swimming upstream are beneficial to humans looking to accomplish feats of endurance.
Life in general creates many free radicals, even more so when exercise is involved. A good way to combat this is using astaxanthin's antioxidant properties. It is beneficial for athletes because it:
- May reduce free radicals to speed recovery time
- Reduces production and storage of lactic acid: this reduces muscle soreness and recovery time
- Supports mitochondria function: when muscles are used for exercise (especially intense exercise) the mitochondria produce more energy but this has the side effect of producing free radicals. It helps reduce the free radicals and supports more efficient mitochondria function
Astaxanthin Offers Some UV Protection
Astaxanthin’s ability that allows it to protect against the sun is found in the way it is created. The algae Haematococcus pluvialis creates astaxanthin as a protection from the heat and sun to save itself when it loses its water supply. The pigment works as a sunscreen of sorts that protects the algae from the sun. In this way, astaxanthin works as an internal sunscreen for humans and gives skin a natural (very subtle) red/brown pigment.
Astaxanthin can work as an internal sunscreen since it reduces inflammation and helps reduce UVA damage to skin cells. This will allow for a better tan.
A sunburn is a type of inflammation, the more inflammation in your body, the more likely a sunburn. Studies show taking this regularly can add to a low-inflammatory diet. This will lead to lower levels of inflammation in general with little to no side effects.
Incorporate In Your Diet
Today it is easy to get the right amount of Astaxanthin in your diet. Dietary supplements offer a simple one capsule per day formula. 12 mg a day is recommended for affective build up in your cells. It takes about 2 weeks for Astaxanthin to build up in your cells. Take one 12 mg capsule each day with a meal or drink that contains fat for absorption.
Healthy diet is the true key to success. So Astaxanthin supplementation should only be used on top of a healthy diet when certain nutrients are harder to obtain through food. That being said, it would be very difficult to get large amounts from food. Eating enough fish or krill to obtain 12 mg might be dangerous and difficult. This is where supplementation comes in.
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