Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, a lipid-soluble yellow colored pigment, commonly found in many marine organisms and some avian species. Injested carotenoids are converted to Vitamin A and have extremely potent antioxidant properties. Unlike most carotenoids Astaxanthin not converted into Vitamin A, a vital property as excess Vitamin A is toxic to the body. Currently, the primary natural source for astaxanthin is the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis. It has been experimentally observed that Astaxanthin has stronger antioxidative properties than its more commonly known cousin molecule, B-carotene.
Astaxanthin is primarily taken as a dietary supplement for its superior antioxidative properties. Its abilty to bind to the structure of free radicals, molecules that cause chemical damage to various parts of the body, thereby quenching any potentially harmful interactions. These protective properties are especially true when associating with phospholipids and any damaging peroxidation. Such oxidative damage has been linked to aging, atherogenesis, ischemia-reperfusion injury, infant retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and carcinogenesis. Taking supplementary Astaxanthin promotes protection against oxidative damage associated with UV-light photooxidation of the skin, inflammation, cancer, ulcer’s Helicobacterpylorii infection, aging and age-related diseases. It fights the detrimental effects of a largely diverse group of disorders including age related cataracts and cardiovascular disease. Astaxanthin’s antioxidative properties also benefit patients with major neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s diseases and ALS.
Not only does Astaxanthin treat damage associated with oxidative stress, but it also aids in the promotion of the immune response, liver function and heart, eye, joint and prostate health. When administered topically or orally, it is a potent beauty agent to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles via free radical quenching. Astaxanthin also proved beneficial to those who suffer from asthenopia, eye strain and fatigue, by alleviating associated symptoms and improving accommodation power of the eye. It can also be used to prevent any retinal or choroidal pathologies associated with aging. Astaxanthin futhermore acts as a cardioprotective agent by limiting the formation of atheroma and inhibiting cholesterol oxidation inducing improved vascular elastin and arterial wall thickness. This also plays a role in reducing the likelihood of obesity by preventing increase in adipose tissue weight. The improved immune response experienced by supplementation of Astaxanthin is due to increasing concentrations of leukocytes, T and B cells.
Astaxanthin can also be used to treat diabetes related nephrology. Its free radical scavenging effects reverses the stress on mitochondria of mesangial cells and other renal cells necessary for proper kidney function. Astaxanthin can also be beneficial as a sports health therapy as improvement of mitochondrial functions induces a proportional increase oxygen consumption thereby bettering athletic performance. It is also orally taken to reverse the effects of damage caused by lipid peroxides and other free radicals and improves local blood flow in gastro-intestinal ulcers.
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