What Astaxanthin is
Astaxanthin is a red antioxidant produced from green algae known as Haematococcus pluvialis - the richest source in nature for natural Astaxanthin.
When the alga is exposed to harsh conditions ("drying" in the sun, without air and food) it produces the substance called Astaxanthin to serve as a protective shield against the external environment.
In nature, Astaxanthin is found in plants and aquatic creatures such as shrimp, salmon, crabs and more. It belongs to the carotenoids family and considered one of the most powerful and effective antioxidants in the world.
It has a special structure that causes a unique action that allows it to be much more active and efficient than any antioxidant neutralizing free radicals. By being an antioxidant, Astaxanthin naturally helps to counteract the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS), promoting a healthy oxidative balance. it's mean that antioxidant is a molecule stable enough to donate an electron to a ROS and neutralize it, significantly reduces the oxidative load in the body, thus reducing its capacity for damage and protect the cells from oxidation.
Most antioxidants work on the lipid or oily phase only. The uniqueness of Astaxanthin is soluble both in water and in fat, which means that it can reach more places in the body (working in the cells and on the sides, and in the bloodstream), and has a broader medical activity than most antioxidants, without being problematic in their mechanism of activity.
Astaxanthin has many virtues that affect human health. It is used as a natural substance for a wide variety of applications, the most known is as a dietary supplement.
Researches show that its efficacy as a dietary supplement has a significantly greater effect than vitamin C and vitamin E. It has anti-inflammatory properties, maintains and improves eye function, and helps control cholesterol and diabetes levels. In addition, it contributes to the protection of brain activity (Alzheimer’s, Stroke and Parkinson).
In recent years, Astaxanthin gaining momentum in the world of anti-aging and super-food, and there is a significant increase in the demand for raw materials.
Astaxanthin Growth Process
Growing the alga under sterile condition
Growing under optimal conditions to obtain maximum algal biomass
Exposing to natural environment and stress conditions to induce Astaxanthin production
Downstream processing for production as
powder or oil
Development of formulas for Astaxanthin-based products in many fields
Effects of Astaxanthin on the human body
Most brain diseases result from oxidation and inflammation with free radicals damaging the brain over time eventually leading to Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
As a fat-soluble nutrient, Astaxanthin can cross the blood-brain barrier. There is an abnormal accumulation of hydroperoxides within red blood cells in people with dementia and Alzheimer's, however, when given astaxanthin, these harmful free radicals have been reduced by up to 50%. With astaxanthin's antioxidant abilities, it can enhance the brain and nervous system protection from free radicals. Therefore, astaxanthin can help with Dementia and Alzheimers.
Researchers have found astaxanthin supplementation has led to improvements in cognitive function in older individuals with age-related forgetfulness. Astaxanthin has been shown to accumulate in the red blood cells of people who suffer from dementia, potentially reducing the risk of dementia. According to a study in the Alternative Medicine Review, 'Astaxanthin clinical success extends beyond protection against oxidative stress and inflammation to show promise for slowing age-related functional decline.
Heart disease is among the most common diseases and has become one of the major health concerns in the world. Astaxanthin is an extremely potent antioxidant, and its unique chemical properties make it an ideal ingredient for heart health supplements.
Astaxanthin beneficial for heart health by preventing oxidation of cholesterol and reducing inflammation. Oxidative stress and inflammation are involved in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Astaxanthin can help improve blood lipid profiles by decreasing LDL and triglycerides, and by increasing HDL. Astaxanthin also can lower blood pressure and improve plaque stability in the arteries.
Astaxanthin can help with Strokes, Heart attacks, High blood pressure, High cholesterol.
The first study was in 2010, and examined whether natural astaxanthin increases serum HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin.
The study was conducted for 12 weeks and was attended by 61 patients aged 25-60, placebo-controlled, participants consumed different doses of astaxanthin.
In before and after tests, body mass index (BMI) and LDL-cholesterol were unaffected at all doses, however, triglyceride decreased, while HDL-cholesterol increased significantly. Multiple comparison tests showed that 12 and 18 mg/day doses significantly reduced triglyceride, and 6 and 12 mg doses significantly increased HDL-cholesterol. Serum adiponectin was increased by astaxanthin (12 and 18 mg/day), and changes of adiponectin correlated positively with HDL-cholesterol changes independent of age and BMI.
This study suggests that astaxanthin consumption ameliorates triglyceride and HDL-cholesterol in correlation with increased adiponectin in humans.
Astaxanthin helps protect your skin from overexposure due to sun-induced free radicals.
It is said to act as an internal sunscreen by reducing damage caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun, the largest environmental risk factor for skin cancer. The same powerful antioxidant properties that protect the algae from the sun’s rays will protect your skin as well. Skin cells that are exposed to ultraviolet light produce free radicals that trigger aging effects and promote cancer. It takes a few weeks of supplementation for this pigment to build up in your skin, however, once it has it will be much harder for your skin to burn from sun exposure.
A study looking at the skin's resistance to both UVA and UVB light before and after astaxanthin supplementation showed within 3 weeks of supplementing 4mg of astaxanthin a day, subjects showed a significant increase in the time taken for their skin to burn. Another study in Japan found women supplementing astaxanthin saw improvements in as little as four weeks with 2mg a day. This includes better moisture, fewer fine lines, increased skin elasticity, fewer freckles and a smoother surface.
Our retina is in a rich environment of oxygen and light, demanding a large number of free radical scavengers to prevent oxidative damage. Astaxanthin easily crosses into the tissues of the eye and mopping up free radicals and reducing inflammation safely and with more potency than any other carotenoid without any harmful reactions.
Epidemiological studies have shown diets high in carotenoids are associated with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Of all carotenoids, research has shown that none have managed to work as well as Astaxanthin does. As a free radical scavenger, with the ability to pass through the blood-retina barrier, astaxanthin has outperformed all other carotenoids as the winner when it comes to protecting your eyes.
An important factor that affects eye health is blood flow to the retina, which helps the eye and vision function, and prevents the development of various diseases.
A human clinical study examined the ability of Astaxanthin to improve retinal capillary blood flow. Eighteen subjects were given 6 mg per day of Natural Astaxanthin and another eighteen people were given a placebo. After four weeks it was found that the treatment group had improved retinal capillary blood flow as compared to the placebo group.
In addition to the health effects of astaxanthin on the eye and its structure, it has been suggested that astaxanthin may work in a preventative role for eye fatigue.
A clinical study was done on subjects whose eyes were healthy, with no signs of fatigue or strain. Both the treatment and the placebo groups were subjected to heavy visual stimuli to induce eye fatigue, and it was found that the treatment group recovered more quickly. This clearly indicates that Natural Astaxanthin may serve to prevent eye fatigue from occurring in healthy people.
Natural Astaxanthin improves lens accommodative function, protects the optic nerve from damage, improves retinal blood flow and protects the eye against UV damage.
As we age many of us experience pains in our joints. Often this pain is a result of inflammation in the joint. Astaxanthin has been shown to help with a range of common joint and tendon pains with its ability to reduce inflammation, resulting in less pain and better mobility. A study by the Health Research and Studies Center involved giving tennis elbow sufferers an eight-week course of astaxanthin. The treatment group showed a 93% improvement in grip strength, as well as decreased pain. The same study also found the severity of pain and the duration of Carpal tunnel syndrome with the supplementation of Astaxanthin reduced significantly.
Constant use of Astaxanthin helps with Tennis Elbow, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Carpal tunnel syndrome, and Post-exercise joint soreness.
It was found that astaxanthin has a broad effect on the skeleton and muscle system in the body - Natural Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that works at the cellular level to increase energy utilization and reduce the muscle damage that can develops from exercise and sportive activity.
In study that conducted in 40 young elite soccer players in Europe, with the aim of examining how astaxanthin affects the health of athletes and consequently their performance and body function.
The study was randomized and placebo-controlled; for 90 days the players consumed 4 mg astaxanthin per day.
Results showed significant improvements in those taking astaxanthin in inflammation levels, immune system function and, most importantly for athletes, muscle recuperation.
The researchers concluded that astaxanthin “attenuates muscle damage, thus preventing inflammation induced by rigorous physical training.” They hypothesized that the mechanism of action may be that astaxanthin “protects the cell membranes against free radicals generated during heavy exercise, thus preserving the functionality of muscle cells.”
It is important to remember that the immune system itself requires protection from oxidative stress in order to remain healthy and function optimally. Even as the immune cells perform their vital defense work they too require protection from free radical assaults and oxidative stress – antibodies, macrophages, surveillance cells, communication molecules all require antioxidant protection. When there is a lack of antioxidant protection, the immune system can be attacked by free radicals and become sluggish, distracted and ineffective.
Immune system cells are extremely sensitive to free-radical damage, partly because their cell membranes contain a high percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, a common target of free radicals. Antioxidants offer important protection against free radicals to preserve the immune system defenses.
Astaxanthin more than provides this antioxidant protection, it allows the immune cells to get on with their jobs - protecting the body from invaders.
It is clear that Astaxanthin can play an important role in the function of the immune system, it will aid the immune system by increasing the total number of antibody-producing B-cells and help increase the production of T-cells, also reducing DNA damage.
Astaxanthin, being a natural compound with oxidant-quenching and anti-inflammatory properties, may also play a role in cancer treatment.
Astaxanthin has been shown to display anti-cancer properties in animal studies. As astaxanthin is not commonly found in a human diet, information on the extent of it’s benefits to human health is limited but growing. As a powerful antioxidant, astaxanthin can inhibit the growth of cancer cells by lowering free radical-induced cellular damage, reducing inflammation and boosting an immune response.
Although these studies were conducted in vitro and lab animals, the initial findings are so promising that there is hope that human applications will soon be confirmed.
These studies show that astaxanthin has at least six different mechanisms of action that help combat cancer on multiple fronts.
1. Decreases Cancer Cell Proliferation.
Tumors develop when cancer cells rapidly proliferate, invade, migrate and adhere to healthy tissues and organs. Astaxanthin is capable of decreasing the proliferation of malignant cells.
In one of the study, when astaxanthin was compared to the three other carotenoids (beta-carotene, capsanthin, and bixin), astaxanthin was found to be the most active in preventing the reproduction of human leukemic cells.
2. Promotes Cell Death.
Programmed cell death, also known as apoptosis, is a healthy process in which the body removes damaged or dysfunctional cells. A hallmark of cancer is its ability to evade apoptosis, which allows cancer cells to survive and reproduce. One potent way to combat cancer is to turn this programmed cell death back on in cancer cells, and astaxanthin appears to do just that.
3. Reduces Oxidative Stress.
Oxidative stress promotes the growth and spread of certain types of cancers.
4. Reduces Inflammation.
It is well known that inflammation plays a prominent role in cancer proliferation and survival.
5. Prevents the Spread of Cancer.
The spread of cancer to other sites such as organs and bone (metastasis) occurs when cancer cells break away from the original tumor. Scientists believe that astaxanthin works to prevent the spread of cancer by inhibiting MMPs and modulating pathways related to a tumor blood supply, cell proliferation, and cancer formation, progression and invasion.
6. Improves Communication Among Cells.
Individual cells within an organ communicate with each other, structures which allow the coordination of metabolism and other critical functions. When there are defects in communication, it cause disorders such as inflammation, cellular damage—and ultimately, cancer.
Astaxanthin appears to support and enhance this form of cell-to-cell communication, which means it may be beneficial against a variety of different types of cancer.