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Astaxanthin: 5 Ways It Just Might Help You Live Longer

Astaxanthin’s (ass-ta-ZAN-THhan) is a supplement worth learning about . . . especially if you like the thought of a long and healthy life. 

It’s as difficult to pronounce as to grasp an understanding of, but Astaxanthin’s reddish-hued calling card is peppered all over this [pink &] green earth: from Krill to Flamingos.

Discovered in 1938 with the help of professor Basil Weedon and our delicious friend, the Lobster, this carotenoid has been shown to help prevent and reduce symptoms of everything from arthritis to cancer, from inflammation to radiation and wrinkles. Many agree Astaxanthin is one of the most important supplements around. Let’s take a look at 5 fascinating ways Astaxanthin could help enhance the quality of your life.


1. Astaxanthin Is Made From Superhero Algae (Master of Land & Sea): The world is filled with a luscious array of colors around every turn, but did you ever stop to think where they come from and how they got there? Carotenoids like Astaxanthin just happen to be responsible for many of these vibrant hues we too-often take for granted.

Carotenoid pigments color everything from bell peppers to beets, roses to radishes. There are hundreds of naturally occurring Carotenoids on the planet, many of which are coursing through your blood right now. They’re like a tiny little army of well-trained soldiers, protecting your cells and DNA from the angry hoards of free radicals that threaten many aspects of our overall health.

If Carotenoids are soldiers fighting for your health, then Astaxanthin is the Captain America (in a pink suit) of the Carotenoid world. This super soldier is, according to the esteemed Dr. Joseph Mercola, now thought to be the most powerful antioxidant in nature.

The highest concentrations of Astaxanthin, however, are only found in the microalgae Haematoccous pluvialis (say that ten times fast!). In an almost miraculous maneuver to save its own life, when the algae’s water supply, or in this case its very life-force dries up, the algae, in true superhero form, produces Astaxanthin as its own extreme-nutrient-enriching, UVB-absorbing super-survival fortress. And  . . . it works!

This small sea-faring flora is able to accomplish the impossible to save its life. If the situation were flipped, it would be like being dragged to the bottom of the ocean, only instead of drowning, your body generates a beautiful shield all around you, allowing you not only to breath, but flourish. You’re protected from the barrage of harsh elements the sea might hurl your direction. Unfortunately, it will probably be quite awhile for science to develop super human death-fending suits of this magnitude, but in the meantime we can ride Astaxanthin’s beneficial, antioxidizing waves.

Many sea dwelling creatures love to pig out on Astaxanthin, it’s a very important part of aquatic eco-systems, and its effects are not hard to spot. Take salmon for example, the ultimate up-stream warriors’ meat is colored because they have a penchant for the pink stuff. Astaxanthin is also responsible for giving everyone’s favorite vacation icon, the Flamingo, its trademark rosy hue. Shrimp, Lobster and Krill are also known do dine on Astaxanthin.

Astaxanthin 2

2. Astaxanthin is Capable of Crossing the Brain Blood Barrier: “The Blood Brain Barrier” sounds like the title of a zombie movie, but the ability to cross it is one of the most spectacularly healthy things about Astaxanthin. The wonderful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties can penetrate annals of your brain and eyes that other nutrients, even other Carotenoids cannot.

Science and common sense reveals that our bodies succumb to deterioration at an accelerated pace as we age, which is due to the oxidation (or singlet oxygen) of our cells, this is made exponentially made worse by all the added pollutants and toxins in the world. There is amazing evidence that most brain conditions are the result of oxidation and inflammation- meaning bad things like oxidation and pollution can get into our brains and deteriorate them, whereas most anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidizing Carotenoids can’t get through to help restore and protect your eyes and brain. Astaxanthin to the rescue!

In 1996 Dr. Mark Tso discovered (using rats at first) that Astaxanthin crosses not only the brain blood barrier, but the brain retinal barrier as well (more on that in a moment). Dr. Tso, along with his colleagues also conducted a study on hypertensive and ischemic (brain oxygen deficient) rats, feeding them Astaxanthin once daily. The rats on Astaxanthin enjoyed notably reduced blood pressure and better blood flow to the brain, and not only did the damaged cells show improvement, the rats actually preformed better in a maze than they had previously (Tso).

In another study, brain damaged rats given Astaxanthin twice daily were shown to have 40% less deterioration than the control group (Oryza). These early studies on mice and rats helped to pave the way for many studies on human subjects, most of which have drawn even more fascinating conclusions.

In a nutshell, the researchers from Tohoku University who are behind the study believe Astaxanthin may well contribute to the prevention of dementia.

As mentioned earlier, Astaxanthin is also able to cross the blood retinal barrier, which allows it to support healthy visual functions as well. Your eyeballs are an extremely oxygen rich area- it’s very important to take care of them, and incidentally very difficult to get the nutrients you need to reach them. Carrots featuring beta-carotene help nourish the eyes just fine, but Astaxanthin happens to be 54 times stronger than beta-carotene, and can easily slip through cell membranes, nourishing your eyes with the nutrients they need to support healthy vision.

Astaxanthin has been shown to help protect against Glaucoma, Cataracts, Retinal arterial occlusion, Venous occlusion, Diabetic retinopathy and Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) as well. When it comes to getting into your eyes and brain, Astaxanthin may be the key to help you think and see.

3. Superpowers Absorbed by Your Skin (Say Sayonara to Sun Damage): You’ve probably never heard of a bell pepper or broccoli getting skin cancer, or a tulip with wrinkles. That’s because the Carotenoid pigments in their genetic makeup are crucial for proper photosynthesis. When we ingest these nutrients, we absorb the Carotenoid pigmentation and gain some of those protective skin benefits.

Imagine the benefits of the potent Astaxanthin circulating across your body, being 65 times more powerful than vitamin C, 54 times more powerful than beta-carotene, and 14 times more powerful than vitamin E (Mercola).

An independent consumer research study done in Hawaii shows substantiated evidence for Astaxanthin’s sun-protecting abilities, chronicling the skin’s resistance to UVA and UVB light with and without Astaxanthin. In just three weeks, the people taking Astaxanthin showed a significant increase in the time it took for UV radiation to affect their skin (Cynanotech).

Bottom line- Astaxanthin contributes to decreased sensitivity to harmful radiation, fewer fine lines, better moisture, increased skin tone and elasticity, smoother surface, fewer freckles, and less under-eye puffiness.

4. Astaxanthin Cleans Out Your Guts from the Inside (Guts AND Glory): While Astaxanthin helps to improve your outsides, it has also been shown to help repair and clean out your insides, acting as both an antioxidant and a turbo charger for other antioxidants, Astaxanthin is a veritable one man band playing a song in the tune of health.

Cardiovascular: There is oh-so-much good that a strong heart can do for you, and Astaxanthin has been shown to reduce the oxidative damage caused by LDL (the “bad” type of cholesterol), which means it may reduce the formation of plaque in arteries. The natural pigment also appears to boost the immune response by increasing the number of antibody producing cells.

Liver & Kidneys: Because of its powerful detoxifying properties, Astaxanthin helps to remove and cleanse the kidneys and liver, and being a fat soluble nutrient, its bioavalibity helps absorb and breaks down other essential nutrients like vitamin C and E. Astaxanthin also supports the release of vitamin A from the liver when needed. Furthermore, it has been shown to help reduce lipid peroxidation, meaning it helps to preserve essential fatty acids- the ones your cells need to perform at optimal levels. 

From Your Head & Shoulders to Your Knees & Toes: The Astaxanthin molecule provides the most potent all-around antioxidizing force because it contains the longest conjugated, double-bond polyene chain. If you think of Carotenoids as having long cancer-fighting kite tales that sweep through your body, Astaxanthin would be the longest. The long tale effectively traps free radicals in the poleyne chain, while further enhancing Vitamin C as an antioxidant. Other Carotenoids and antioxidants may perform one or two of these functions, Astaxanthin does them all and, in most cases, does them better. In addition to entrapping free radicals, Astaxanthin also de-charges singlet and triplet oxygen and inhibits reactive oxygen, giving it anti-inflammatory properties. Astaxanthin also has the potential to increase gap junctional communication between cells, which is a mechanism in the body thought to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

5. It’s Like The Tin Man’s Oil Can For Your Joints (Go Ahead, Do the Charleston All Night Long): If you’ve read the article to this point, you’ve probably noticed a trend forming about the benefits of Astaxanthin, it seems it’s quite good for many parts of you. This also extends to joints and connective tissue, helping to provide support for any ailments that end in “itis.” The same holds true for your joints and connective tissue. Not only has Astaxanthin been shown to naturally reduce swelling and promote the absorption of other important vitamins and nutrients, studies have revealed that it can make a remarkable difference in chronic pain from tendonitis, arthritis or other joint and muscle pain, making it an effective supplement for athletes as well. In a study conducted by Cyanotech, a survey was sent to over 1,500 users of Astaxanthin, and of the returned surveys:

  • 84% of respondents who had experienced joint, tendon or muscle pain found that their condition improved
  • 83% experienced less pain
  • 60% experienced increased mobility
  • 64% found that Natural Astaxanthin worked the same or better than prescription anti-inflammatories

Types of Astaxanthin: What’s Best for You? As fantastic as the research on Astaxanthin is, like any supplement, it’s extremely important to keep in mind that there are no substitutes for a healthy diet and exercise. Like all supplements, Astaxanthin is not a medication, nor will it miraculously cure what ails you or make you an immortal superhero. It’s merely an interesting, potent and natural source of nutrients backed by research. It has also been shown to be extremely non-toxic, with few to no side effects. Many prolific movers and shakers in the health and wellness community strongly recommend adding Astaxanthin to your routine.

Like any product, there are good and bad ways of manufacturing Astaxanthin. The most potent Astaxanthin is, naturally derived from Haematoccous pluvialis, which will say on the bottle and the typical dosage of Astaxanthin is generally anywhere from 2-8 mg per day.

See more related products and conditions: AstaxanthinBrain & Cognative Function, Skin Health, Cleanse & Detox, Joint Health


VitaminFix Think

Issue 2
July 9th, 2012
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