Astaxanthin (pronounced asta-zan-thin) is a carotenoid pigment found in yellow, orange, and red color plants. Most of the astaxanthin supplements produced today come from red algae that give sea life like trout, yeast, shrimp, Pacific salmon, among others their pinkish color. It is known for being one of the most potent antioxidants found in nature and has been getting a lot of attention lately for its multitude of health benefits. Some research suggests that it is linked to healthier skin, endurance, heart health, joint pain, cognitive health, and may help prevent cancer. Because it is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is important to consume it with healthy fats such as coconut oil, fatty fish, avocado, or other healthy sources. Here are ten benefits of taking an astaxanthin supplement.
Fun fact: Astaxanthin never oxidizes at any point during the digestive process.
- Astaxanthin is 6,000 times more potent as vitamin C
This fact alone makes it one of the most potent antioxidants available today. It has an enormous ability to reduce inflammation and can cross the blood/brain barrier and the blood/retina barrier to deliver its immense amount of antioxidant properties directly to the brain and eyes.
2. Helps prevent and reduce the risk of heart disease
Studies show that astaxanthin can help lower LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol while raising HDL cholesterol, which is good cholesterol. It also has the potential to reduce blood clotting, prevent lipid oxidation, and increase blood flow. Some studies suggest it can help the heart and cardiovascular system repair itself while lowering blood pressure.
3. Beneficial for liver health
Astaxanthin can improve liver function and protect against damage caused by fatty liver disease and reduce inflammation and insulin sensitivity.
4. Helps prevent certain types of cancer
Studies show that astaxanthin can inhibit tumor growth of certain types of cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer, and bladder cancer. It also helps boost your immune system to help fight against the uncontrollable growth of cells.
5. Helps balance immune system responses
According to studies, astaxanthin can help balance your immune system responses through moderating lymphocyte function, especially when taken with omega-3s.
6. Improves endurance
When you perform strenuous exercise, the mitochondria produce more energy, which in turn generates more free radicals. Because astaxanthin has such a high antioxidant content, it is useful in reducing oxidative stress, making it ideal for athletes or those who indulge in challenging workouts to take it regularly. By lowering these free radicals that are produced during exercise, it may speed up recovery time. It also reduces the production and storage of lactic acid minimizing muscle soreness.
Fun fact: Astaxanthin is responsible for giving salmon its power to swim upstream.
7. Protects your brain and nervous system
In addition to helping reduce effects of strokes, Studies show that astaxanthin has the potential to reduce swelling of the brain after a traumatic injury, reduce the impact of strokes, slow cognitive decline, increase BDNF, growth factor that grows brain cells and keeps healthy ones alive, and protect your brain from toxins and oxidative damage.
8. Dynamic cell protection
Astaxanthin helps protect your cells in multiple ways. It has the ability to protect the water-soluble and fat-soluble parts of the cell, which is unique for a carotenoid. This means it penetrates your cell membrane where it can be more effective than if it just remained in your bloodstream.
9. Protects the skin
Astaxanthin has many benefits when it comes to your skin. It can reduce the effect UV damage has on your surface, which helps minimize the potential and even reverse sun-induced wrinkles and sagging.
10. Protects vision and improves eye health
Studies show that astaxanthin can help protect your eyes from inflammation caused by bacterial toxins. Unlike some chemicals and nutrients, astaxanthin can surpass the barrier between your blood and retina, allowing it to be effective at protecting your eyes.