Astaxanthin Benefits for Eyes, Skin, Inflammation and More!
Astaxanthin benefits are vast and real. It is considered to be the king of carotenoid family of antioxidants. It's the good stuff that turns the flesh of salmon bright red and gives them phenomenal endurance while swimming upstream. It’s also attributed to the bright colors of pink flamingos!
Recent studies suggest that astaxanthin is better at trapping and eliminating free radicals than beta-carotene. For that reason, it is said to be one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory nutrients in the world.
Astaxanthin is abundantly rich in the marine algae Haematococcus pulvialis, found and cultivated in the clear, warm waters of Hawaii. Haematococcus is a green algae that accumulates astaxanthin. When under stress, the dark green algae turns to a deep red color.
Astaxanthin protects the algae and enables it to live for decades in the sun without any food! Some amounts of astaxanthin are found in brightly colored salmon and shellfish (i.e. lobster, crawfish, shrimp) and in pure krill oil.
By now, you should know that free radicals have a toxic effect on your body at a cellular level. Astaxanthin helps protect all parts of the cell, which reduces free radical invasion. The fewer free radical's you have, the healthier you're bound to be!
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What is Astaxanthin?
Sea animals with a red or pinkish color, such as salmon, lobster, shrimp and crab get this color from consuming krill and other small organisms that have a diet dependent on astaxanthin-rich algae and plankton. Flamingos also get their bright pink color from a similar diet, rich in astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin (pronounced asta-ZAN-thin) is one type (in a group), of natural pigments known as xanthophylls (pronounced ZAN-tho-fils), a subcategory in the carotenoid family.
Carotenoids are plant chemical compounds that act as part of a survival mechanism. Plants (and some animals) ingest carotenoids to protect themselves from the harsh rays of the sun.
The Health Benefits of Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin, (ASTA), is a fat-soluble antioxidant with neuro-protective benefits. It has been studied in clinical trials, and so far, the data looks good. The FDA approved the following statements about astaxanthin under existing regulations, which include:
May help reduce inflammation in joints and tissues.
Helps decrease muscle recovery time.
Helps increase physical stamina.
May help protect the body from cellular damage associated with processed foods.
May help protect the brain from abnormal neurological function.
May help reduce the proliferation of breast cancer tumor cells.
May help prevent UV damage to eyes.
Helps the skin resist UV penetration from excessive sunlight exposure.
Astaxanthin as An Antioxidant
Astaxanthin is believed to be one of the strongest natural antioxidants known today. Astaxanthin benefits most people more than vitamin E, vitamin C, or even beta-carotene. It:
may be able to reach into every part of the cell, very similar to alpha lipoic acid.
may cross the blood-brain barrier to protect the brain and nervous system.
may cross the blood-retinal barrier to protect your eyes.
works in all tissue and all organs.
Astaxanthin Benefits for Beautiful Skin
One of the most frequently reported astaxanthin benefits is an improvement in the overall look and feel of the skin. Astaxanthin not only prevents UV sun damage from occurring, but may actually help to reverse some of the external visible signs of aging, which has been demonstrated in clinical trials.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone, (a world expert in antiaging), is a strong proponent for astaxanthin. He suggests taking astaxanthin to boost skin moisture, promote smoothness, and elasticity, reduce wrinkles and age spots, and to give your complexion and skin a natural, healthy glow.
People who take astaxanthin supplements regularly notice that they are able to spend significantly more time out in the sun without getting sunburned than they were able to before, without protection. This is because of the powerful anti-inflammatory properties found in astaxanthin. This is also how I found out about it.
Astaxanthin Benefits for Eye Health
Recent studies reveal that astaxanthin benefits your eyes, which is not surprising since cartenoids have long been known to improve eye health. It has been praised as the ultimate supplement for eye health and the prevention of blindness. A primary reason is because it's one of the few antioxidants that may be able to penetrate the retinal barrier. Supplementing with astaxanthin has been found to have protective benefits against a number of vision-related problems, including:
cystoid macular edema
Anti-Inflammatory Astaxanthin Health Benefits
Inflammation is a biological response by vascular tissues to remove harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. While occasional inflammation is considered to be a normal healthy process, chronic inflammation can lead to serious medical problems. This is also called systemic or silent inflammation, and may accompany many underlying conditions and diseases.
Common inflammatory medications include NSAIDS, aspirin, acetaminophen, and prescription medications such as Celebrex. Most of these medications have at least some negative side effects, which contribute to around 16,500 yearly deaths in the United States alone. Complications from the use of these medications represent 43 percent of all drug related emergency visits.
People are discovering astaxanthin benefits for many conditions related to chronic inflammation. It's a natural alternative that is highly effective for a large percentage of people. Astaxanthin benefits also appear to be long term but more studies are needed.
Astaxanthin Benefits for Muscle and Joint Health
Astaxanthin can help reduce pain and inflammation in muscles, joints, and tendons.
Astaxanthin reduces joint pain associated with tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and joint soreness following exercise.
A small health survey taken by the Nutrex-Hawaii company showed that over 80 percent of people who noted back pain (and symptoms from rheumatoid and osteoarthritis arthritis), reported a substantial improvement when supplementing with astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin Benefits for Stamina and Endurance
increases strength and stamina
reduces recovery time
prevents joint and muscle soreness after exercise
Perhaps the best way to understand how powerful astaxanthin is for endurance is to think about the habits of salmon. Salmon ingest a diet high in astaxanthin. To spawn, salmon are many times forced to go without food for days or weeks, drawing stamina only upon their own reserves. Salmon can make amazingly long and arduous journeys, sometimes moving hundreds of miles upstream against strong currents and rapids to reproduce. Chinook and sockeye salmon (from central Idaho), can travel over 900 miles (1,400 km) and climb nearly 7,000 feet (2,100 m) from the Pacific ocean when they make a return trip (back to Idaho) to spawn. This should be a testament to how potent astaxanthin really is!
Astaxanthin's ability to increase your endurance is because of its beneficial effect on mitochondria, the part of your cells that generate up to 95 percent of the energy in your body. Many mitochondrial cells are found in muscle tissue, exactly where your body has the greatest need for them. When mitochondria can't produce enough energy to meet demands you place on it, your strength and endurance fail.
However, this amount of mitochondrial activity also generates highly reactive free radicals that can damage cell membranes. The more strenuous the activity, the more free radicals your body produces. Cellular damage can result in excessive inflammation, which results in muscle soreness and muscle failure.
When you're running a marathon, your body consumes oxygen a lot faster, generating 12 times as many free radicals as when you’re relaxed or resting. A large number of studies have shown astaxanthin's ability to eliminate free radicals is why it gives your muscles more strength and endurance.
Astaxanthin has been found to be even more effective in reducing lactic acid buildup in muscles. Lactic acid produces the burning feeling you get when you’re overexerting your muscles and limits physical stamina. Lactic acid is also responsible for muscle soreness, tender points, and trigger points.
Many athletes have become enthusiasts about astaxanthin supplements for all of these reasons.
Astaxanthin Food Sources
You can get ample amounts of astaxanthin from shrimp, crayfish, salmon, and lobster and is bio-available in krill oil. Since fish and shellfish can be expensive to buy, supplements are truly the best source.
Because astaxanthin is a fat soluble vitamin, you should take it as directed according to product labels. It should be noted that astaxanthin benefits are more numerous when you take it with a fish oil supplement. The combination is extremely powerful from a nutritional and scientific point of view.
Growing evidence from tissue cultures and clinical studies are encouraging, but more extensive trials are needed.
For those who are interested in supplementation with astaxanthin, caution would be advised since there’s still fairly limited data regarding the dosage and safety in humans. The current recommended dosage is between 2-6 mg/day.
Other Possible Astaxanthin Benefits
Astaxanthin benefits cover virtually the entire spectrum available from antioxidants. Aside from those previously mentioned, here are some other possible astaxanthin benefits:
prevent heart attack
prevent the initiation of cancer cells
prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
normalize blood pressure
relieve prostate problems
provide better resistance to colds
prevent gum disease
enhance reproductive health
protect all cells from oxidative damage
Possible Side Effects of Astaxanthin
So far, natural Astaxanthin has no known side effects nor medical contraindications.
The only possible consequence of taking astaxanthin in large doses (6-12 mg daily) may be a slight yellowing of the palms and soles. Sometimes this happens because the pigments are deposited in the skin cells, which could work to your advantage if you spend many hours out in the sun. It merely means that astaxanthin is working hard to protect your skin from the rays of the sun!
As you have read, there are so many astaxanthin benefits! With the huge number of toxins you're exposed to everyday, vitamin supplements are one of the easiest ways to safeguard your health.
Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.
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