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Astaxanthin: The Most Powerful Natural Antioxidant Ever Discovered

Salmon, Astaxanthin and Our HealthNatural astaxanthin is considered the ultimate antioxidant with many other important health benefits that relate to anti-aging. It is a more powerful than beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and vitamin E and most other antioxidants. It freely crosses the blood-brain and blood-retina barriers to provide powerful support for eye and nervous system health.

Nature has given us this compound. It is this substance that makes the salmon’s meat pinkish red, the shell of krill, lobsters and shrimps when they are cooked, and the red in sun soaked algae. It is the most powerful natural antioxidant ever discovered.

Astaxanthin's Unique Mechanisms of Action:

  • Traps more free radicals than any other antioxidant.
  • Proven to cross the human blood brain/eye barrier.
  • Spans the cell membrane bilayer, thereby protecting and strengthening the entire cell membrane.
  • Enhances the action of other antioxidants.

Astaxanthin is a carotenoid. Carotenoids are organic pigments that naturally occur in plants and in some organisms like algae, fungus and bacteria and at least one species of aphid. Its what give them there color. For example the carotenoid Beta Carotene gives carrots its orange color. Astaxanthin is found in microalgae, yeast, fish, like salmon and trout and crustaceans such as krill and shrimp. It is what gives them their red coloring and is required in the diet of most animals for oxidation control or light detection[1]. In salmon and shrimp, astaxanthin is essential to survival and growth[2].

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The first real work on astaxanthin was completed by Professor Basil Weedon when he mapped it’s structure. He was an organic chemist and used magnetic resonance spectroscopy to map the structures of carotenoid pigments, including astaxanthin[3]. In 1948, Nobel prize winner George Wald also commented on this amazing substance, proclaiming that it had great potential[4]. There many other benefits yet to be discovered concerning this compound and the continuing study of it will lead to more beneficial uses. Further this no side-effects have been discovered with this carotenoid.

  • Astaxanthin is undoubtedly the most effective carotenoid antioxidant in regards to free radical scavenging: it's sixty five times stronger compared to vitamin C, fifty four times stronger compared to beta-carotene[5].
  • Astaxanthin is 550 times more effective than vitamin E and eleven times more effective compared to beta-carotene at neutralizing this singlet oxygen[6].
  • It passes across the blood-brain barrier which offers tremendous beneficial significance with regard to the well being of your eye health[7]-[8]-[9].
  • It is a powerful UVB absorber. It protects eyes and skin from UV A and B damage by quenching singlet and triplet oxygen.[10].
  • Dramatically decreases DNA damage[11].
  • Prevents the initiation of tumorigenesis in the tongue, oral cavity, large bowel, bladder and breast.
  • It is a extremely potent natural anti-inflammatory. It quenches reactive oxygen species[12].
  • Helps improve immune system function, stimulates immune system by increasing the total number of T-cells.[13].
  • Improves cardiovascular health by reduction of C-Reactive Proteins (CRP), decreasing triglycerides, as well as raising beneficial HDL[14].
  • Astaxanthin protects your brain[15].
  • Astaxanthin promotes apoptosis and inhibiting lipid peroxidation. It protects cell and mitochondrial membranes from oxidative damage[16]-[17].
  • Helps support a proper functioning nervous system[18].
  • Astaxanthin reduces inflammation[19].
  • Enhances endurance, workout performance and recovery[20]-[21]-[22]-[23].
  • Astaxanthin assists in the stabilize blood sugar[24].
  • Alleviating indigestion improving fertility by improving sperm strength and count[25].
  • It has also shown benefical results in weight loss[26].
  • Great for the skin, in fact it assists in prevention of sunburn[27]-[28]

How much astaxanthin do you get in your daily diet? It is almost impossible to consume the recommended daily amount because of it is found, fish, algae and crustaceans.

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As you can many studies support the beneficial effects of astaxanthin in order to support or enhance the functioning of the body. In the past we relayed on Vitamin A for proper vision support, but it cannot cross the blood-brain barrier as astaxanthin can. For a skin support, we use to rely on Vitamin E, but then too much of it could be harmful, yet the recommended amount needed to shield us from today’s UV rays aren’t enough. As our body ages oxidative stress play a important role in breaking down our immune system and makes us more susceptible to adverse health conditions. This is where antioxidants play an important role and astaxanthin has been proven to be one of the most powerful anti-oxidants yet discovered.

Astaxanthin has the ability to provide protection against UV rays because it has 500 times more potent than Vitamin E. Since Astaxanthin, the most powerful natural antioxidant ever discovered, has very effective antioxidant properties, it is the clear choice. Also because it can pass through the blood-brain barrier, it provides effective vision support. This is important because the eyes receive the most amounts of UV rays, aside from the skin. Another advantage of its ability to pass through the blood-brain barrier is your brain will also be safer from oxidation, thus, you have a lower risk of having brain damages. Also, as a very potent anti-oxidant, astaxanthin also has the ability to prevent the chronic systemic inflammation of your body, since all antioxidants have anti-inflammatory abilities.

This article represents a culmination of the reviews of studies on Astaxanthin, further it is important to note that none of these articles are one any one Astaxanthin product and is not intended to promote any one astaxanthin product. To compare astaxanthin products click here.

  1. Astaxanthin, a carotenoid with potential in human health and nutrition. Hussein G, Sankawa U, Goto H, Matsumoto K, Watanabe H. J Nat Prod. 2006 Mar;69(3):443-9.
  2. Torrisson, O.J. and Christiansen, R., J. Appl. Ichthyol., 1995,11,225-230
  3. Pattenden, Gerald (2005). "Basil Charles Leicester Weedon". Volume 51. jstor: Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. pp. 426–436. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30036907. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
  4. Radford, Tim (30 July 2002). "Scientists find why lobsters turn red when cooked". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,765263,00.html. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  5. Naguib YM. Antioxidant activities of astaxanthin and related carotenoids. J Agric Food Chem 2000 Apr;48(4):1150-4; Fukuhara K., Inokami Y., Tokumura A., Terao J., Suzuki A., Lipids,
    33, 751—756 (1998).
  6. http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Pioneering_Astaxanthin.shtml
  7. Astaxanthin inhibits reactive oxygen species-mediated cellular toxicity in dopaminergic SH-SY5Y cells via mitochondria-targeted protective mechanism. Xuebo Liua, Takahiro Shibataa, Shinsuke Hisakaa and Toshihiko Osawa Brain Research Volume 1254, 13 February 2009, Pages 18-27
  8. Miyawaki et al., (2005). Effects of astaxanthin on human blood rheology. J. Clin. Therap. Med., 21(4):421-429.
  9. Nagaki et al. (2005). The effects of astaxanthin on retinal capillary blood flow in normal volunteers. J. Clin. Therap. Med., 21(5):537-542.
  10. http://www.naturalhealthweb.com/articles/honour2.html
  11. Influence of astaxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein on DNA damage and repair in UVA-irradiated cells. Marcello Santoconoa, Monica Zurriaa, Marco Berrettinib, Donatella Fedelib and Giancarlo Falcionib. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology Volume 85, Issue 3, 1 December 2006, Pages 205-215
  12. Antioxidative and anti-inflammatory neuroprotective effects of astaxanthin and canthaxanthin in nerve growth factor differentiated PC12 cells. Chan KC, Mong MC, Yin MC.J Food Sci. 2009 Sep;74(7):H225-31.
  13. http://www.naturalbiology.com/category_s/78.htm
  14. Retrometabolic syntheses of astaxanthin: a novel approach to oral and parenteral cardio-protection. Lockwood SF, Jackson HL, Gross GJ. Cardiovasc Hematol Agents Med Chem. 2006 Oct;4(4):335-49.
  15. Antioxidant effect of astaxanthin on phospholipid peroxidation in human erythrocytes; Kiyotaka Nakagawaa1 c1, Takehiro Kikoa1, Taiki Miyazawaa1, Gregor Carpentero Burdeosa1, Fumiko Kimuraa1, Akira Satoha2 and Teruo Miyazawaa1; Human and Clinical Nutrition; British Journal of Nutrition.
  16. Effects of astaxanthin supplementation on lipid peroxidation. Karppi J, Rissanen TH, Nyyssönen K, Kaikkonen J, Olsson AG, Voutilainen S, Salonen JT. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2007 Jan;77(1):3-11.
  17. Chew BP, Park JS, Wong MW, Wong TS: A comparison of the anticancer activities of dietary b-carotene, canthaxanthin and astaxanthin in mice in vivo. Anticancer Res 1999, 19:1849-1853.
  18. http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Pioneering_Astaxanthin.shtml
  19. Jean Soon Park et al. Astaxanthin decreased oxidative stress and inflammation and enhanced immune response in humans. Nutrition & Metabolism 2010, 7:18 www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/7/1/18
  20. Ikeuchi et al., (2006). Effects of astaxanthin supplementation on exercise induced fatigue in mice. Bio. Pharm. Bull. 29(10):2106-2110.
  21. Sawaki, K. et al. (2002) Sports performance benefits from taking natural astaxanthin characterized by visual activity and muscle fatigue improvements in humans. Journal of Clinical Therapeutics & Medicine 18(9):73-88. J. Clin. Ther. Med. 18(9):73-88.
  22. Guerin, M., Huntley, M., Olaizola, M. (2002)."Haematococcus astaxanthin: health and nutrition applications" International Society for Applied hycology/9th International Congress on Applied Phycology, May 26-30, 2002, Almeria, Spain
  23. Uchiyama K et al, Astaxanthin protects beta-cells against glucose toxicity in diabetic db/db mice. Redox Rep. 2002;7(5):290-3.
  24. Astaxanthin improves muscle endurance following supplementation in humans. Malmsten, C., 1998, Dietary supplementation with astaxanthin rich algal meal improves muscle endurance - double blind study on male students. Unpublished.
  25. Combined conventional/antioxidant "Astaxanthin" treatment for male infertility: a double blind, randomized trial; F. H. Comhaire, Y. El Garem, A. Mahmoud1, F. Eertmans, F. Schoonjans, Department of Medical and Urological Andrology, Ghent University Hospital, Gent B 9000, Belgium, Department of Andrology, Alexandria University Hospital, Alexandria, EG 21544, Egypt, Asian J Androl 2005; 7 (3): 257–262
  26. M. Ikeuchi, T. Koyama, J. Takahashi, K. Yazawa. Effects of astaxanthin in obese mice fed a high-fat diet Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry; Volume 71, Pages 60521-1 to 60521-7, doi:10.1271/bbb.60521
  27. O'Connor, I. and O'Brien, N. "Modulation of UVA Ligh-induced Oxidative Stress by beta-carotene, luein, and astaxanthin in cultured Fibroblasts" Journal of Dermatological Science 16 (1998); 226-230
  28. Yamashita, E., (2006), The Effects of a Dietary Supplement Containing Astaxanthin on Skin Condition. Carotenoid Science, 10:91-95.

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