The article at a glance:
- Astaxanthin is a very powerful antioxidant that brings many health benefits, provides radiation protection and promotes the health of the skin, eye, brain and heart
- Astaxanthin has an anti-inflammatory effect, which can be used in many inflammation-based diseases – from joint problems such as rheumatoid arthritis to cancer
- Astaxanthin differs from other carotenoids because it can act with several free radicals simultaneously and can protect both water- and fat-soluble parts of the cells
What is Astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin belongs to the family of carotenoids. It is considered to be the strongest antioxidant that nature has to offer. It is present in various fungi and algae, where it protects the plant from strong UV light and other environmental stressors. However, new research shows that astaxanthin can also have a very positive effect on human health.
Astaxanthin can also protect humans from dangerous sunlight. It also contributes to the health of the eyes, brain, lungs and heart.
However, astaxanthin can also be used in people who are already ill. In an evaluation of several studies, researchers found that the antioxidant has a very positive effect on cancers, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, diabetic nephropathy, gastrointestinal diseases, liver disease, infertility in men and HgCl2-induced renal failure.
Astaxanthin is also very anti-inflammatory, which means that it can also be used in all inflammatory diseases, such as .B rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis arm.
It has also been found that astaxanthin can improve athletic performance by slowing body fatigue during physical activity.
Astaxanthin is not toxic even at high doses and therefore offers the user a high level of safety.
What makes Astaxanthin so unique?
Astaxanthin is related to the beta-carotenoids lutein and canthaxanthin. However, astaxanthin has a unique molecular structure that makes the active substance even more potent.
For example, astaxanthin is 550 times stronger than vitamin E, and 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C. In addition, astaxanthin has the following 5 unique characteristics:
- Astaxanthin, like other antioxidants, dispenses electrons to neutralize free radicals. Other antioxidants are then mostly used up – astaxanthin, on the other hand, has a much larger electron surplus, which allows it to remain active for significantly longer.
- Another significant difference from other antioxidants is that astaxanthin can interact with several radicals at the same time. Most other antioxidants, such as.B. vitamin C or E, can only interact with a radical at the moment. Astaxanthin has the ability to address up to 19 free radicals simultaneously. This is made by forming an electron cloud around the astaxanthin molecule. This process is called electron displacement resonance. If the free radicals try to steal electrons from the astaxanthin molecule, they are absorbed and neutralized by the cloud.
- One of the most important skills is that astaxanthin can protect both water- and fat-soluble parts of the cells. Carotenoids are usually divided into water-soluble or fat-soluble. However, astaxanthin belongs to an intermediate group that can form an interface between water and fat. This means that the astaxanthin molecule can affect and expand the biolipid membrane of all cells. It does not float in the bloodstream, but it integrates into the cell membrane. These cells include, for .B, the mitochondrial membranes of our heart cells. Since mitochondrial health is an important factor in healthy aging, mitochondria support can slow down the aging process. In addition, astaxanthin has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and can thus protect brain cells.
- Another positive feature is that astaxanthin cannot act as a prooxidant. Prooxidants are the opposite of antioxidants, i.e. they promote the formation of free oxygen radicals. Some antioxidants, such as .B vitamin E or C, have a prooxidative effect when their concentration is too high. This is not the case with astaxanthin, even at high doses.
- Astaxanthin acts on at least 5 different inflammatory pathways, which makes it very anti-inflammatory.
Astaxanthin protects our skin from the inside out
Well over 100 studies demonstrate the safety of astaxanthin,even at megadoses of more than 500 mg per day. The only side effect that has ever been documented at higher dosages was mild redness of the skin.
Astaxanthin has a very beneficial effect on our skin as it protects against UV damage (e.B. sun radiation), increases elasticity, reduces fine wrinkles and improves skin moisture.
In UV irradiation, astaxanthin protects against UV-induced cell death. In contrast to topical sun protection (e.B. sunscreen), the antioxidant does not prevent UV radiation from penetrating the skin – so our skin can continue to produce vitamin D from UVB radiation – rather, astaxanthin protects the skin from the damage of radiation by protecting the skin cells from cell death. Studies show that:
- Astaxanthin in whole-body irradiation, mainly by the interception of oxygen radicals, contributes to the reduction of cell apoptosis (programmed cell death)
- Astaxanthin improves burns progression by reducing inflammation caused by oxidative stress and mitochondrial apoptosis
Astaxanthin protects heart and cardiovascular system
Some studies have looked at the effect of astaxanthin on cardiovascular health. These studies also found positive effects.
In a placebo-controlled double-blind study, C-reactive protein levels (CRP) decreased by 20% in individuals taking 12 mg of astaxanthin daily. This mirror is a biomarker for heart disease.
The CRP is essentially an indicator of the inflammatory values in our body. A low level is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and other chronic health problems.
For this reason, a 20% reduction in this value in just two months speaks for itself – only a few drugs achieve the same effect.
According to Gerald Cysewski, a former assistant professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering in Santa Barbara, studies have shown that astaxanthin supports our heart and cardiovascular system by:
- Blood circulation improves
- Lowering too high blood pressure
- Improves blood chemistry by increasing HDL cholesterol levels and lowering LDL cholesterol levels
- The oxidation of LDL prevents (oxidation can lead to arterial plaques, and thus to arterial calcification)
The neuroprotective effect of astaxanthin
More than a dozen studies show that astaxanthin protects our neurons in the brain and can slow down the effect of age-related decay.
In one study, researchers found that the biomarker for phospholipid hydroperoxides – a biomarker for dementia – decreased in subjects who took 6 to 12 mg of astaxanthin daily. This research has ensured that research has been carried out since then on therapies for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.
In another placebo-controlled double-blind study conducted in Japan, age-related forgetfulness, cognition levels, and coordination improved in older subjects after taking 12mg of astaxanthin daily for 12 weeks.
A number of animal experiments have even shown that astaxanthin can significantly reduce the damage caused by stroke if astaxanthin was regularly taken before the stroke. It also found that it takes between 12 and 19 hours for astaxanthin to reach its maximum blood level. After that, it expires over a period of 3 to 6 hours.
For us, this means that we have to take it at least one day in advance to ensure tissue saturation. This means, for example, that if we use astaxanthin as sun and UV protection, we should take it regularly for a few weeks now so that it can build up in our body.
How Astaxanthin Protects Our Eyesight
Many studies have also been conducted on the effect of astaxanthin on our vision. Previous studies from France have found that astaxanthin can overcome the blood-retina barrier, providing anti-inflammatory protection for our eyes and retina. Astaxanthin can protect our visual organs from:
- Age-related macular degeneration (age-related impairment of vision)
- Cataracts (Grey Star)
- Inflammatory eye diseases (retinitis, iritis, keratitis and scleritis)
- Retinal arterial closure
- Cystoideme macular edema
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Glaucoma (Green Star)
The most important thing seems to be the prevention and treatment of age-related macular degeneration, as this is the most common cause of blindness in old age. As Life Extension Magazine reports:
“Human retina naturally contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin molecules closely related to astaxanthin. Supplementation with all three carotenoids (astaxanthin 4mg/day, lutein 10mg/day, zeaxanthin 1mg/day) has been shown to improve visual acuity and contrast in patients with early age-related macular degeneration.
In laboratory studies, astaxanthin was able to protect retinal cells from oxidative stress and contain the area of the destructive quail of new blood vessels on the retina – two characteristics in advanced macular degeneration. Studies in patients with macular degeneration show significant improvements in retinal electrical performance after supplementation with astaxanthin and other carotenoids.
Glaucoma, an increase in fluid pressure in the eyeball, can lead to the death of retinal cells due to oxidation damage and reduced blood flow. Astaxanthin restores normal retinal parameters in eyes with experimentally induced glaucoma.”
Because astaxanthin is a much stronger antioxidant than lutein and zeaxanthin, researchers believe it is the most effective antioxidant ever discovered for eye health.
In particular, it was found that astaxanthin improves or even prevents light-induced damage, photoreceptor cell damage, ganglion cell damage and damage to the neurons of the inner retinal layers. It also helps to maintain normal eye pressure and supports the energy level and visual acuity of our eyes.
Astaxanthin and cancer
Recent studies have investigated the effect of astaxanthin on cancer. In vivo and in vitro, preclinical anti-tumor effects have been discovered in various cancer models. A study published in 2015 states:
“Astaxanthin exerts its anti-proliferative, anti-apoptive and anti-invasive influence over various molecules and signaling pathways. It is therefore very promising as a chemotherapeutic agent in cancer.”
Animal tests revealed the following:
- Astaxanthin could reduce the growth of transplanted breast tumors
- Astaxanthin could suppress liver cancer
- Astaxanthin was able to inhibit potential tumor-doctoral polyamines in the skin after UVA and UVB irradiation (reducing skin cancer risk)
- Astaxanthin could reduce the incidence and proliferation of chemically induced cancer in the bladder, oral cavity and colon
Astaxanthin is probably one of the most useful natural supplements. It is able to combat and prevent a variety of health problems. What do you think? Do you have any experience or thoughts about it? Write them in the comments!
7pmstatus.com January 31, 2017
Dr. Mark Tso Bio
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture May 1, 2001: 81(6); 559-568