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Nature’s Most Powerful Antioxidant You Never Heard Of

Nature's Most Powerful Antioxidant You Never Heard Of

Astaxanthin (pronounced “asta-ZAN-thin”) is a naturally-occurring carotenoid found in algae, shrimp, lobster, crab and salmon. Beta carotene, for example, is orange. Astaxanthin, dubbed the “king of the carotenoids” is red, and is responsible for turning salmon, crab, lobster and shrimp flesh pink.

In the animal kingdom, astaxanthin is found in the highest concentration in the muscles of salmon. Scientists theorize astaxanthin helps provide the endurance these remarkable animals need to swim upstream.

For humans, astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant with broad health implications and unlike other antioxidants, such as beta carotene, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, C, D and selenium, astaxanthin never becomes pro-oxidant in the body. [23, 24, 25, 26]

Astaxanthin has been discussed by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Joe Mercola and recommended by many health experts. Krill supplements contain trace amounts of astaxanthin, not nearly what you need to achieve the therapeutic benefits discussed today. Here are five reasons to take astaxanthin supplements every day:

1. Astaxanthin Can Help Relieve Pain and Inflammation

Astaxanthin is a potent anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, blocking different chemicals in your body that make you feel pain. More than that, astaxanthin reduces the inflammatory compounds that drive many chronic diseases.

Even though it’s 100 percent natural, astaxanthin works like some prescription pain medications, but without the risk of addiction, GI bleeds or heartburn.

More specifically, astaxanthin blocks COX 2 enzymes just like the prescription medication Celebrex, the blockbuster drug prescribed for osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, acute pain, and monthly painful menstruation. [1]

Natural astaxanthin not only affects the COX 2 pathway that blocks pain, it also suppresses serum levels of nitric oxide, interleukin 1B, prostaglandin E2, C Reactive Protein (CRP) and TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha), all signs of pain and inflammation. [1]

Natural astaxanthin was shown to reduce CRP by more than 20 percent in only eight weeks; there is not a prescription drug that does that. [21] Even the American Heart Association claims CRP is a key indicator of heart disease. [22]

2. Astaxanthin Helps Fight Fatigue

Astaxanthin provides excellent recovery from exercise. [17] Just like salmon making the heroic upstream swim, astaxanthin can help athletes do their best. Pure natural astaxanthin is indicated for recovery of muscles, better endurance, enhanced strength and improved energy levels. [18, 19, 20]

3. Astaxanthin Supports Eye Health

Remember the famous song, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone…” Well, you could now associate that song with astaxanthin. It 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, eyestrain and fatigue and seeing in fine detail. There are well-designed positive human clinical trials supporting eye health. [4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

4. Astaxanthin Cleans Up the Cells

Astaxanthin unique molecular lipophilic and hydrophilic properties allow it to enter and span the entire cell, with one end of the astaxanthin molecule protecting the fat-soluble part of the cell and the other end protecting the water-soluble part of the cell.

Natural astaxanthin is exceptionally powerful in singlet-oxygen quenching, a technical term meaning in this case, that it is an active species (antioxidant) in photodynamic therapy (against free radical damage).

A 2007 study analyzed several popular antioxidants and their antioxidant power. This study found astaxanthin was 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, 800 times stronger than CoQ10, 550 times stronger than green tea catechins, and 75 times stronger than alpha lipoic acid. [10]

5. Gorgeous Skin and Sunscreen Protection

Astaxanthin has been shown to protect the body’s largest organ — our skin. The studies are clear and consistent and show excellent results for helping with skin moisture levels, smoothness, elasticity, fine wrinkles, and spots or freckles. [12]

Astaxanthin reduces damage caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. In fact, if you get a sunburn, which causes inflammation, astaxanthin penetrates the skin cells and reduces UVA damage. Think of it as an internal sunscreen.

Best Astaxanthin Sources

Wild Pacific salmon, especially sockeye salmon, have one of the highest astaxanthin content. However you’d have to eat about 6 ounces (165 grams) daily to get just 3.6 milligrams, which isn’t enough to get a therapeutic dose.

However, the chances of having traces of mercury in most store bought salmon that isn’t wild caught, you run the risk of unknowingly eating heavy metals, particularly mercury, with every bite. [11]

Since salmon can also be quite expensive, there is another form of astaxanthin that is a much better source — marine algae, which is a potent form of astaxanthin when exposed to light. But not just any kind of algae, or if you will, pond scum, in essence. The kind of marine algae one should consume should come from either an outside pristine source, or an indoor cultivator.

Dosage requirements for a therapeutic value

Studies show that doses of 8-12 milligrams provide anti-inflammatory therapeutic benefits. Make sure that your particular brand has undertaken all the special precautions to harvest it properly, purify it, encapsulate it and protect its potency right up to the expiration date on the bottle.

You can find this astaxanthin supplement which is GMP certified, so you know you’re getting the purest quality found anywhere on the market.

References (Click to open/close)

References (Click to open/close)

1. Lee SJ, Bai SK, Lee KS, Namkoong S, Na HJ, Ha KS, Han JA, Yim SV, Chang K, Kwon YG, Lee SK, Kim YM. Astaxanthin inhibits nitric oxide production and inflammatory gene expression by suppressing I(kappa)B kinase-dependent NF-kappaB activation. Mol Cells. 2003 Aug 31;16(1):97-105. PubMed PMID: 14503852.

2. Kearney PM, Baigent C, Godwin J, Halls H, Emberson JR, Patrono C. Do selective cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors and traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increase the risk of atherothrombosis? Meta-analysis of randomised trials. BMJ. 2006 Jun 3;332(7553):1302-8. PubMed PMID: 16740558; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1473048.

3. Belknap SM. NSAIDs were associated with increased risk for mortality, regardless of time since first MI. Ann Intern Med. 2013 Jan 15;158(2):JC10. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-158-2-201301150-02010. PubMed PMID: 23318332.

4. Iwasaki Tsuneto, Tahara Akihiko. Effects of Astaxanthin on Eyestrain Induced by Accommodative Dysfunction. Journal of the Eye VOL.23;NO.6;829-834(2006).

5. Nagaki Y., Hayasaka S., Yamada T., Hayasaka Y., Sanada M., Uonomi T. Effects of Astaxanthin on accommodation, critical flicker fusion, and pattern visual evoked potential in visual display terminal workers. Journal of Traditional Medicines 2002: 19 (5), 170 – 173.

6. Nagaki Yasunori et al. The Effect of Astaxanthin on Retinal Capillary Blood Flow in Normal Volunteers. Journal of Clinical Therapeutics & Medicines Vol.21;No.5;537-542(2005).

7. Sun Z, Liu J, Zeng X, Huangfu J, Jiang Y, Wang M, Chen F. Protective actions of microalgae against endogenous and exogenous advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) in human retinal pigment epithelial cells. Food Funct. 2011 May;2(5):251-8. doi: 10.1039/c1fo10021a. Epub 2011 Apr 21. PubMed PMID: 21779563.

8. Ishida S. Lifestyle-related diseases and anti-aging ophthalmology: suppression of retinal and choroidal pathologies by inhibiting renin-angiotensin system and inflammation. Article in Japanese: Nihon Ganka Gakkai Zasshi. 2009 Mar;113(3):403-22; discussion 423. Review. Japanese. PubMed PMID: 19348185.

9. Liao JH, Chen CS, Maher TJ, Liu CY, Lin MH, Wu TH, Wu SH. Astaxanthin interacts with selenite and attenuates selenite-induced cataractogenesis. Chem Res Toxicol. 2009 Mar 16;22(3):518-25. doi: 10.1021/tx800378z. PubMed PMID: 19193053.

10. Nishida Y. et. al, Quenching Activities of Common Hydrophilic and Lipophilic Antioxidants against Singlet Oxygen Using Chemiluminescence Detection System. Carotenoid Science 11:16-20 (2007).

11. Iwamoto T, et al. Inhibition of low-density lipoprotein oxidation by astaxanthin. J Atherosc Thromb 2000;7:216-22.

12. Camera E, Mastrofrancesco A, Fabbri C, Daubrawa F, Picardo M, Sies H, Stahl W. Astaxanthin, canthaxanthin and beta-carotene differently affect UVA-induced oxidative damage and expression of oxidative stress- responsive enzymes. Exp Dermatol. 2009 Mar;18(3):222-31. Epub 2008 Sept.

13. Yamashita, E. Beauty From Within: A Synergistic Combination Of Astaxanthin And Tocotrienol For Beauty Supplements (2002) Cosmetic Benefit of Dietary Supplements Containing Astaxanthin and Tocotrienol on Human Skin. Food Style 21 6(6):112-17.

14. A novel micronutrient supplement in skin aging: a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology Volume 4 Page 277 – December 2005.

15. Suganuma K, Nakajima H, Ohtsuki M, Imokawa G. Astaxanthin attenuates the UVA-induced up-regulation of matrix- metalloproteinase-1 and skin fibroblast elastase in human dermal fibroblasts. J Dermatol Sci. 2010 May;58(2):136-42. Epub 2010 Feb 18.

16. Arakane Kumi. Effect of Antioxidant to Inhibit UV-Induced Wrinkles. Journal of Japanese Cosmetic Science Society Vol. 27;No.4; 298-303(2003).

17. Aoi, et al, 2003. Astaxanthin limits exercise-induced skeletal and cardiac muscle damage in mice. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2003 Feb;5(1):139-44.

18. Curt L. Malmsten and Åke Lindell. Dietary Supplementation with Astaxanthin-Rich Algal Meal Improves Strength Endurance. A Double Blind Placebo Controlled Study on Male Students. Carotenoid Science, Vol.13, 2008 ISSN 1880-5671.

19. Aoi W, Naito Y, Takanami Y, Ishii T, Kawai Y, Akagiri S, Kato Y, Osawa T, Yoshikawa T. Astaxanthin improves muscle lipid metabolism in exercise via inhibitory effect of oxidative CPT I modification. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Feb 22;366(4):892-7. Epub 2007 Dec 17.

20. Ikeuchi M, Koyama T, Takahashi J, Yazawa K. Effects of astaxanthin supplementation on exercise-induced fatigue in mice. Biol Pharm Bull. 2006 Oct;29(10):2106-10.

21. Gene A. Spiller, PhD, Antonella Dewell, MS, RD, Sally Chaves, RN, Zaga Rakidzich. Effect of daily use natural astaxanthin on C-reactive protein. Health Research & Studies Center, Los Altos, CA. Study Report, January, 2006.

22. Pearson, Thomas; Mensah, George, et al. Markers of inflammation and cardiovascular disease: application to clinical and public health practice: A statement for healthcare professionals from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association.2003 Jan 28; 107(3) :499-511.

23. Beutner, S., Bloedorn, B., Frixel, S., Hernández Blanco, I., Hoffmann, T., Martin, H.-D., Mayer, B., Noack, P., Ruck, C., Schmidt, M., Schülke, I., Sell, S., Ernst, H., Haremza, S., Seybold, G., Sies, H., Stahl, W. and Walsh, R. (2001), Quantitative assessment of antioxidant properties of natural colorants and phytochemicals: carotenoids, flavonoids, phenols and indigoids. The role of β-carotene in antioxidant functions. J. Sci. Food Agric., 81: 559-568. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.849.

24. Spallholz JE. Free radical generation by selenium compounds and their prooxidant toxicity. Biomed Environ Sci. 1997 Sep;10(2-3):260-70. Review. PubMed PMID: 9315319.

25. Koren R, Hadari-Naor I, Zuck E, Rotem C, Liberman UA, Ravid A. Vitamin D is a prooxidant in breast cancer cells. Cancer Res. 2001 Feb 15;61(4):1439-44. PubMed PMID: 11245448.

26. Pearson P, Lewis SA, Britton J, Young IS, Fogarty A. The pro-oxidant activity of high-dose vitamin E supplements in vivo. BioDrugs. 2006;20(5):271-3. PubMed PMID: 17025373.

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