By now, everyone seems to be familiar with antioxidants and their effects on our health. It’s now become a fairly easy sell when it comes to marketing, however, you don’t generally don’t know how powerful an antioxidant is or if a food product or supplement even has enough to impact the free radicals in your body.
When you choose options that offer high concentrations, you don’t need to consume as much in order to protect yourself from free radicals and the associated damage that they cause. When it comes to overall effectiveness, it’s tough to beat Astaxanthin. It is a super-antioxidant that yields immense health benefits. In fact, University studies have shown that Astaxanthin may be up to 500 times more effective than vitamin E.
Interestingly enough, flamingos are naturally born white. It’s only due to their diet which is high in Astaxanthin, that they turn pink. Astaxanthin belongs to a class of natural pigments known as carotenoids. These are the compounds in your foods that provide rich colors, such as red in beets and yellow in bell peppers. When it comes to Astaxanthin, there are various properties that make this carotenoid unique.
What is Astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring carotenoid that is found in lobster, shrimp, crab, salmon, and algae. Carotenoids are the pigments that offer color to the foods we eat and overall health support. For example, carrots are orange due to their high beta-carotene content. Astaxanthin is the carotenoid that yields colors red and pink.
Within the wild, the highest concentrations are found in the muscles of salmon. It’s believed that Astaxanthin contributes to salmon’s incredible endurance levels when swimming upstream. For humans, Astaxanthin is an antioxidant that protects us from disease.
Health Benefits of Astaxanthin
Many health experts agree that Astaxanthin should be a part of your daily routine. Here are five reasons why this is true:
Relieves Inflammation and Pain
Astaxanthin is a natural and potent anti-inflammatory, as well as a pain reliever. When taking this supplement, it blocks chemicals that make you feel pain. Astaxanthin reduces inflammatory compounds that cause a number of chronic conditions.
Although it’s completely natural, this supplement works like prescription analgesics but does not increase the risk of addiction and other serious side effects, such as heartburn or GI bleeding. More specifically, Astaxanthin is able to block COX2 enzymes like the drug Celebrex.
Normally prescribed for conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, pain, and dysmenorrhea, Celebrex can be taken with Astaxanthin, as long as your doctor approves. Not only are COX 2 pathways affected, but serum levels of nitric oxide, C-Reactive Protein (CRP), and TNF-alpha are also suppressed.
In fact, when taking Astaxanthin for eight weeks, it’s been shown to reduce CRP levels by 20 percent. There isn’t even a prescription drug available that creates that specific effect. Since the American Heart Association deemed CRP a key indicator for heart disease, these are encouraging results.
If you’re an athlete, Astaxanthin has been shown to promote better recovery after exercise. Just like salmon who are able to endure upstream journeys, Astaxanthin can help athletes train and perform to the best of their abilities. Astaxanthin has been linked to enhanced strength, boosted energy levels, high endurance levels, and improved recovery.
Supports Eye Health
Astaxanthin has the unique ability to cross a barrier, reaching your retina. In clinical trials, Astaxanthin has been shown to reduce symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, fatigue, and eye strain. There have also been well-designed trials that studied humans that have supported Astaxanthin’s positive effects on eye health and vision.
Cleans and Protects Cells
Astaxanthin offers incredible antioxidant coverage, as it can filter into just about every cell in the human body. It also has unique properties that allow it to stretch across an entire cell. By spanning across the full cell, Astaxanthin can protect both the fat-soluble portion and the water-soluble portion of a cell.
In a 2007 study, it was found that Astaxanthin was 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, 8,000 times stronger than CoQ10, and 550 times stronger than catechins found in green tea. This means that it offers incredible effects against free radical damage, protecting cells and DNA.
Support Skin Health and Protection
Astaxanthin helps protect your skin as well, being the largest organ on or in the human body. Studies have been consistent, showing that Astaxanthin can help enhance skin moisture levels, improve elasticity, reduce fine wrinkles, and more.
It’s also known to protect against skin damage which makes it perfect for those with fair skin. If you do get a sunburn, this will create inflammation in your body. By taking Astaxanthin, skin cells are penetrated, reducing overall UVA damage.
Overall, Astaxanthin has been linked to brain and nerve support, joint and skeletal support, increased strength and stamina, improved endurance and speed, as well as greater recovery after exercise.
Why Supplementation May Be Your Best Choice
Yes, you can consume Astaxanthin from salmon and seafood, however, supplementation is a great alternative. When buying the purest salmon, it’s extremely expensive and it could contain mercury. You would also need to eat around 4-ounces every day to gain the same benefits of a supplement.
Like always, source your supplements from a trusted source and speak with your doctor if you have any concerns. Based on new research, the daily recommended dose is around 4 to 8 mg per serving size. Look for capsules that offer a minimum of 4 mg per dose.