Have you ever heard of astaxanthin and its incredible benefits? If you haven’t – sit tight! I’m about to explain everything you need to know about this miracle of nature.
Astaxanthin is the most powerful natural antioxidant known today that we can provide the body with.
This substance is a key discovery in the field of strengthening immunity. People who used it emphasize its many properties, like reducing arthritic pain, faster recovery, increased energy, less frequent flu, and colds, and even the ability to stay in the sun for a longer time without sunburn.
So, let’s dive straight into what is astaxanthin and how it can improve your life!
What is astaxanthin
Astaxanthin has only recently become more popular on the anti-aging market but it’s still very little known among most people. Independent research on its properties is still ongoing and shows more and more powerful benefits this dark-red pigment has to offer.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid that comes from the sea and has some impressive anti-aging benefits. In fact, it’s one of the strongest antioxidants from the carotenoids group, which are precursors of vitamin A and the main dietary source of this vitamin in humans.
It’s produced by marine algae under stressful conditions and acts as a natural sunscreen for marine plants. Substances that contain astaxanthin are the main source of food for many marine organisms. which is precisely the reason why these organisms have a slightly pink or red color.
If you’re more into specifics, here’s where astaxanthin comes from:
- Argobacterium auranticum
- Mycobacterium laticola
- Brevibacterium spp.
- Phaffia rhodozyma yeast
- Haematococcus pluvialis algae
- Chlorella zofingensis
You can also find significant amount of astaxanthin in shrimp, krill, and salmon meat, so adding them to your diet will surely be beneficial.
What makes astaxanthin so unique?
Astaxanthin is unlike any other carotenoid out there. That’s because of its ability to cross the blood-brain and blood-retina barrier (unlike beta-carotene and lycopene), which provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection of the eyes, brain, and central nervous system, This barrier-crossing ability also reduces the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, blindness, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Astaxanthin is more powerful than beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein, which belong to the same group of compounds. It shows very strong properties of scavenging free radicals and protects cells, organs, and tissues against oxygen damage. As you may know, antioxidants are extremely beneficial to your health. The antioxidant properties of astaxanthin are the main source of its reputation in the medical world, and they provide the greatest benefits.
Studies show that astaxanthin has 65 times more antioxidant activity than vitamin C and 50 times more than vitamin E. It also has stronger properties in capturing free radicals than coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, green tea catechins, or beta-carotene.
Benefits of astaxanthin
Astaxanthin differs from many other substances in that it works against a wide variety of diseases without causing negative side effects. Almost every cell in the body, including vital eye, brain, heart, and kidney cells, can benefit from the positive properties of astaxanthin. So, let’s discover what exactly does this powerful carotenoid has to offer.
1. Strengthens the immune system
The immune system protects the body against infections, but when it is overactive it can cause allergic reactions. These reactions may include asthma and autoimmune diseases. Luckily, research shows that astaxanthin helps balance the immune system by stimulating it to fight infection and cancer cells but also suppressing the immune response in situations that create unnecessary inflammation.
Laboratory tests have shown that astaxanthin increases the number and activity of lymphocytes (white blood cells), which are necessary for the body to cope with the neutralization of pathogenic microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, and fungi, especially Candida albicans).
In the world of natural medicine, it’s also believed that astaxanthin can provide some great benefits to patients with asthma and allergies, and reduces allergic reaction when you combine it with antihistamines.
2. Reduces the consequences of diabetes in obese people
The symptoms of diabetes and obesity are closely related, and diabetes in obese people is the main cause of metabolic syndrome. As it turns out, astaxanthin increases insulin sensitivity and reduces oxidative stress in people with diabetes by protecting the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
Astaxanthin also reduces the toxicity of glucose. This prevents non-enzymatic glycosylation, which is the binding of glucose with proteins and the formation of AGE (advanced glycation end-products), and the degeneration of mitochondrial membranes. It also reduces the formation of sorbitol, which appears in the presence of a significant concentration of glucose and free radicals. Additionally, it prevents complications in diabetes caused by AGE, related to glycosylation of myelin in nerve cells, the deposition of atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels, and AGE deposits in the glomeruli.
3. Cardiovascular protection
Astaxanthin has a powerful antioxidant effect that helps prevent cardiovascular disease. It reduces inflammation and the production of certain enzymes that destabilize the plaque and make it prone to rupture and block blood flow. Astaxanthin also lowers blood pressure, improves endothelial function, and delays the onset of high-pressure strokes.
These actions reduce the risk of your main blood vessels narrowing. It’s especially useful in the case of a heart attack because the efficiency of damaged areas of the heart is very low and the work is taken over by undamaged areas which, thanks to greater strength and efficiency, can supply blood to the whole body.
There’s interesting research that shows the potential of astaxanthin to lower the levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase the level of “good” HDL cholesterol. But that’s not all! Astaxanthin increases the level of adiponectin, low levels of which increase the risk of insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease. It can also reduce and delay the clogging of blood vessels, which improves circulation.
4. Effects on eye health
The aging of the population and diabetes-related eye diseases contribute to visual impairment and blindness in millions of people. Interestingly, astaxanthin prevents or slows down three of the most common eye diseases:
- age-related macular degeneration
Studies on patients with age-related macular degeneration show a significant improvement in electrical conductivity in the retina of the eye when astaxanthin is included in the diet.
Glaucoma is a disease that leads to an increase in the pressure of the fluid inside the eye. The consequence of this may be the death of retinal cells due to oxidation and loss of blood flow. Astaxanthin restores the parameters of the retina to normal in the eyes with experimentally induced glaucoma.
This is thanks to astaxanthin’s ability to cross the blood-retinal barrier, which protects the eye against macular degeneration and inflammation. It also has a beneficial effect on the blood flow in the eye, which improves vision and reduces fatigue. According to studies, it protects against the formation of cataracts as well.
5. It improves the condition of the skin
Astaxanthin can be applied topically to improve the condition of the skin. A 2012 study found that combining specific topical and oral doses of astaxanthin can help smooth out wrinkles, reduce the occurrence or reduction of age-related spots, and keep the skin hydrated. The results are favorable in both men and women, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.
Astaxanthin also protects against photoaging, which occurs when wrinkles appear on your skin under the influence of sunbathing, and the skin’s firmness and density decrease.
Obviously, it doesn’t mean you can throw away your sunscreen oil, go to the beach, and lay there like there’s no tomorrow! However, if you take astaxanthin and use sunscreen, you no longer need to hide from the sun like a vampire. You can safely go outside (or on the field) – your young appearance will not suffer from this.
Excess astaxanthin – side effects
Astaxanthin is on the list of safe substances prepared by the United States Code of Federal Regulations. Having said that, like any substance, it can cause side effects despite its many advantages.
There were no symptoms related to poisoning with astaxanthin or its overdose. Some people have noticed low blood pressure and hormonal disorders, but such situations may already be associated with serious health complications. The most common undesirable symptoms are skin pigmentation changes that take a slightly orange color. The known side effects of astaxanthin include:
- reduction of calcium levels in the body
- lowering the level of libido
- pigmentation changes
- lowering blood pressure
Excessive hair growth is also mentioned as a side effect. Preparations with astaxanthin are not recommended for allergy sufferers, especially those with hypersensitivity to seafood. Overall, though, it’s considered safe for most people, so don’t sweat over it. Enjoy the benefits that astaxanthin has to offer – there’s plenty of them!
How to use astaxanthin
Human blood tests for the presence of Astaxanthin prove that it’s best absorbed through the alimentary tract. However, the doses administered to humans in numerous studies varied widely, ranging from 2 mg to 16 mg per day.
The thing is, people, differ in their ability to absorb carotenoids, which makes it very difficult to decide the “one dose fits all”. So, if you are absorbing 90% of the carotenoids, after taking 1 mg of Astaxanthin, you will get the same benefits as your friend, who is only absorbing 5% of the carotenoids, after taking 18 mg. The question arises – where does this difference come from?
The main factor in how your body absorbs Astaxanthin is how you take it: it’s recommended to take it with meals, preferably containing some fat, such as pumpkin seeds oil. This is because Astaxanthin, like other carotenoids, is fat-dissolving. Another option is to take it in gel capsules that contain oil as a base. Some people take supplements between meals, which makes no difference to some, but not Astaxanthin! For it to have a beneficial effect on the body, take it during a meal with a high-fat content, which will facilitate its absorption. This is very important! Don’t expect immediate results. It is safe and natural, but the results show up after at least 2 to 6 weeks.
The recommended dosage of astaxanthin
The recommended dosage to reap its benefits is currently about 4 mg a day for people without any particular ailments. The table below gives an overview of the principles that you can follow when determining the daily dose:
Application – recommended doses of astaxanthin:
|Antioxidant||2 – 4 mg daily|
|Arthritis||4 – 12 mg daily|
|Tendinitis/carpal tunnel syndrome||4 – 12 mg daily|
|Silent inflammation/acidification of the organism||4 – 12 mg daily|
|Internal sunscreen||4 – 8 mg per day|
|Improvement of the appearance and condition of the skin||2 – 4 mg daily|
|Strengthening the immune system||2 – 4 mg daily|
|Cardiovascular system||4 – 8 mg daily|
|Strength and endurance||4-8 mg daily|
|Brain and central nervous system||4 – 8 mg daily|
|Eyesight||4 – 8 mg daily|
|Topical application||20 – 100 units / million|
When determining the dose yourself, start with the lowest value given in the table and check the effects after a month. You can increase the dose gradually If they are not satisfactory. In fact, some people do the opposite: they start with the highest recommended dose and gradually reduce the daily dose. It doesn’t make much difference which method we choose, because remember: there is no dose that could be toxic.
The wide use of astaxanthin and the lack of side effects make it worth including this substance in your daily diet. Thanks to its properties I would especially recommend it for active people and seniors. Obviously, astaxanthin is not a miracle drug that allows you to ignore any healthy lifestyle advice! However, thanks to it, you will increase your chances in the fight against old age – for you and your loved ones.