A fit and healthy lifestyle yields not only benefits to our physical fitness, but our appearance and more importantly, our bodies’ abilities to fight disease. Today’s post will focus on some emerging information regarding astaxanthin and it’s powerful abilities to protect our skin as it ages and reduce inflammation associated with arthritis and other inflammation issues.
What is astaxanthin? Astaxanthin (pronounced “asta-ZAN-thin”) is a naturally-occurring carotenoid found in algae, shrimp, lobster, crab and salmon. Carotenoids are pigment colors that occur in nature and decrease th4e risks of cancers and certain eye disease. Astaxanthin considered the most powerful naturally occurring carotenoid is found in the muscles of salmon.
Natural vs synthetic: There is much debate over natural vs synthetic forms of astaxanthin, but suffice it to say that the studies cited here on the benefits of astaxanthin all used the non-synthetic form of astaxanthin. There are substantial dissimilarities between the two forms. In other words, the proposed human health benefits cannot also be assumed as true for synthetic astaxanthin.
- Cardiovascular health and sports recovery
- Eye and brain health
- Skin and Joint benefits
- Muscle endurance
- Antioxidant benefits for skin/sunscreen
- Anti inflammatory properties for joint issues such as arthritis, tennis elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome
- A 2009 study conducted by the NIH concluded that astaxanthin functions as a powerful antioxidant has a “superior preventive effect” towards changes in skin cell culture caused by damaging sun exposure. Environmental stressors such as smoke, pollution, and damaging UV light inflict damage at the cellular level, causing skin to prematurely age. Antioxidants do their work by buffering the skin and bind free radicals before they can do harm.
- In a 1998 study, astaxanthin was found to be 100 times stronger than beta-carotene and 1000 times stronger than lutein in preventing UVA light-induced oxidative stress.
- A Japanese study saw marked improvement is the skin of 40-year-old women after only two and four weeks of 2mg daily consumption of astaxanthin. Improvements noted were increased skin tone and elasticity, fewer fine lines and wrinkles, better overall moisture, and less puffiness under the eye. [Yamashita, E. (2002). “Cosmetic Benefit of Dietary Supplements Containing Astaxanthin and Tocotrienol on Human Skin.” Food Style. 21 6(6):112-17]
- Subjects in a Canadian study ages 35-55 all showed improvements in 12 weeks after using various topical and dietary combinations of astaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids.
How to take astaxanthin: Although there is not standard recommended dose, the various studies cited used 2-6 mg daily. Keep in mind that Astaxanthin is fat-soluble. This means it is best absorbed into your system (and reaps the most benefits) when it is taken along with a healthy source of fat.
Consider taking astaxanthin for the many health benefits noted here, but no supplement or ingredient is the magic aging cure. Living an all around healthy and active lifestyle is the #1 method to age beautifully and well!
The information included here is not intended to diagnose or promote treatment for health ailments. Always consult with your health practitioner before taking any supplement.