What gives shrimp, salmon, and lobster their reddish hue? What makes a pretty flamingo pink? It’s an algae produced nutrient called Astaxanthin. Fish and some birds feed on smaller fish that have consumed algae, thus transferring this colorful property. Astaxanthin is part of the carotenoid family, which are substances produced by plants and a few animals to protect itself from harm, particularly from the sun. Like its vegetable carotenoid cousin, beta carotene, found in carrots, sweet potatoes and beets, astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant; however, it leads the pack in potency. According to an article from Natural Society, astaxanthin is 100 times more powerful than beta carotene and 500 times stronger than vitamin E in health promoting properties!
As astaxanthin comes from algae, it can be found in crab, lobster, shrimp and salmon. Wild caught salmon contains 30-58 mg per kilogram. Coho salmon has the next highest amount of astaxanthin, 9-29 mg per kilogram. Salmon is a highly nutritious and delicious food and can be prepared in a variety of ways. The downside is that even a diet of pure salmon for every meal every day would not supply the amount of astaxanthin readily available in supplements. Natural astaxanthin can only be obtained by two sources: the algae that produces it, and the fish and other creatures that consume it. There are synthetic forms of astaxanthin; however, it is processed with chemicals and is not as potent as natural sources. One popular natural source of astaxanthinis krill oil, which is extracted from tiny sea creatures called Krill, which resemble very small shrimp. It has recently gained popularity as a “superfood“.
As astaxanthin can cross cellular barriers to add pink pigment to salmon, it can cross cellular barriers to offer protection and promote healing in humans. The properties of astaxanthin are more powerful than any other antioxidant on the market. Reported health benefits include the following:
Eyes: Many consumers have reported vision gains including increased depth perception as well as less eye strain and fatigue.
Muscles: Athletes and other usersfind that astaxanthin decreased the buildup of lactic acid in their muscles, thus reducing pain and muscle fatigue.
Skin Sensitivity: As one of the natural protective properties is to guard sea creatures against sun damage, it makes sense that it has helped many limit the damage of sun exposure and increase tolerance.
Lowering Cancer Risk: Antioxidents are the street cleaners of your body, sweeping out free radicals that form daily in our bodily systems due to pollutants, illness and stress that can lower our natural immunity to diseases such as cancer.
There are many health benefits of this miracle food. It can be taken alone, or with your doctor’s approval, in combination with other medications. Astaxanthin blocks CO2 enzymes, much like the popular drug Celebrex, and has been also used in combination with Celebrex for patients that suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis and other painful conditions such as dysmenorrhea, where women experience intense discomfortand cramping during their monthly periods. During exercise, muscles fight to keep pace and endurance. After a workout or run, the body needs time to recover. That recovery time varies from person to person, depending on their overall physical condition.
Adding natural astaxanthin to the diet has been known to decrease the time muscles need to recover after exertion. As astaxanthin can penetrate retinal tissue, it has been studied for effectiveness in diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. It also is known for helping to fight vision fatigue and promote betteroverall eye health. As the scientific and medical community is still in early stages of research about all the benefits of this super food, there may be more undiscovered benefits left to uncover with further study.
Glutathione, also known as GSH, is a small protein molecule composed of 3 amino acids: cysteine, glutamate, and glycine. This combination is nature’s super antioxident formula, that was discovered by scientists in 1889. It wasn’t until recently over the last 30 years that scientists decided to look for ways to boost its function in the human body. One of the nutrients that have been studied that has been found to promote increases in GSH levels is astaxanthin. As Glutathione helps neutralize heavy metals and transform carcinogens for safe elimination as they pass through the body, it is imperative that this antioxidant perform at peak levels. It makes sense that one powerful antioxidant, astaxanthinas, that assists fish and animals would promote increases in the human natural defense system. Studies on animals have shown that astaxanthin helps maintain and even raise glutathione levels under conditions of elevated oxidative stress due to disease or exposure to radicals in the environment. Many consumers take both Glutathione and Astaxanthinas supplements to receive the double protection supported by these interactive substances.
Before taking any supplement, it is best to check with your health care provider. It is important to use any supplement in accordance with label instructions to ensure you are taking the correct dosages. Check with your doctor as many physicians have recommend getting the most out of astaxanthinas by combining it with traditional medicines. If you have allergies to shellfish, it is advisable to check with your physician about ingesting supplements containing natural astaxanthin.
Individuals in today’s society are exposed to more stresses and pollutants that cause free radicals than ever before. Luckily, modern medicine is discovering powerful healing properties in foods that have been enjoyed for centuries. As it can permeate a cell to work actively inside the body without harming cells, it has been gaining notoriety and popularity in natural health care. Using supplements made with nature’s miracle nutrients such as astaxanthin has helped individuals protect their immune system and enjoy a healthier life.