What is Astaxanthin And What Are The Benefits?

What is Astaxanthin And What Are The Benefits?

Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant from the carotenoid family, which includes lutein and beta-carotene. Found naturally in algae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, and crayfish, it gives these organisms and their predators their distinctive pink or reddish colour (think flamingos!).

Recently, interest in astaxanthin as a supplement has grown due to its numerous health benefits. These benefits include protecting skin from UV damage, enhancing physical performance, and supporting cardiovascular and cognitive functions. Understanding the advantages of astaxanthin can help you decide whether to include this antioxidant in your health routines.

The Science Behind Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin’s unique chemical structure, which includes conjugated double bonds and polar end groups, makes it an exceptionally potent antioxidant [1]. This structure allows astaxanthin to effectively neutralise reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other free radicals at the cellular level, protecting cells from oxidative damage that can lead to ageing and various diseases [2]. 

When compared to other well-known antioxidants, astaxanthin is known for its potency: 

Antioxidant

Relative Potency (Compared to Astaxanthin)

Vitamin C

1/6000th

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

1/550th

Beta-carotene

1/40th

Astaxanthin also maintains stability under various conditions [3]. This stability means it continues to provide antioxidative benefits consistently.

Regarding bioavailability, natural astaxanthin, derived from sources like microalgae and krill oil, is more bioavailable and exhibits higher antioxidant activity compared to its synthetic counterpart. 

Synthetic astaxanthin, produced chemically, is often used in industrial applications but doesn’t offer the same range of health benefits or bioavailability as natural forms. Therefore, for dietary supplements, natural astaxanthin is the preferred choice for maximising health benefits.

Benefits of Astaxanthin

Skin Health

Astaxanthin offers numerous benefits for skin health, making it a valuable addition to skincare routines. One of its primary advantages is its ability to protect the skin against ultraviolet (UV) damage [3]. By neutralising free radicals generated by UV exposure, astaxanthin helps minimise damage, reducing signs of skin ageing and lowering the risk of skin cancer.

Astaxanthin's anti-inflammatory properties are another key benefit. It reduces wrinkles and fine lines by inhibiting the release of inflammatory cytokines and mediators [4]. This anti-inflammatory action also improves skin elasticity and maintains moisture levels, leading to a smoother and more hydrated complexion [5]. Additionally, astaxanthin helps reduce the appearance of age spots and hyperpigmentation, contributing to an even skin tone [6].

Moreover, astaxanthin promotes the production of collagen, a crucial protein responsible for maintaining the skin’s strength. By boosting collagen levels, astaxanthin helps maintain the integrity of the skin structure and delays the onset of wrinkles. This results in firmer, more youthful-looking skin.

 

In summary, astaxanthin provides comprehensive protection for your skin. It protects against UV damage, reduces inflammation, enhances elasticity and moisture, diminishes fine lines and age spots, and promotes collagen production, making it a great ingredient for your skin health.

Eye Health

Astaxanthin has significant benefits for eye health due to its unique molecular structure, potent antioxidant properties, and ability to cross the blood-retina barrier. 

Its antioxidant properties protect the eyes from oxidative damage, particularly in the sensitive photoreceptor cells in the retina. By neutralising oxidative stress and combating free radical damage, astaxanthin helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts [7].

Additionally, astaxanthin enhances blood flow to the retinal capillaries, which is crucial for maintaining optimal ocular health [8]. Improved blood flow reduces the risk of ischemia and related complications in the eye [9]. This increased circulation also helps alleviate eye fatigue and strain, particularly from extended screen time, by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the eye tissues [10].

In summary, astaxanthin protects the eyes from oxidative damage, prevents AMD and cataracts, enhances retinal blood flow, and alleviates eye fatigue and strain, making it an excellent supplement for maintaining healthy vision.

Cardiovascular Health

Astaxanthin plays a crucial role in cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation, which is a key factor in the development of atherosclerosis (hardening or narrowing of the arteries) [11]. By modulating inflammatory responses, it helps prevent the formation of arterial plaque and reduces the risk of heart diseases [12].

The antioxidant properties of astaxanthin protect the cardiovascular system from oxidative stress, a major contributor to heart conditions like coronary artery disease [13]. By neutralising free radicals, it prevents damage to blood vessels.

Additionally, astaxanthin improves lipid profiles by lowering levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol ("bad cholesterol") while increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ("good cholesterol") [14]. This balance supports arterial health and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Research also indicates that astaxanthin may help reduce blood pressure in hypertensive individuals, contributing to overall cardiovascular wellness. 

Immune System Support

Astaxanthin enhances the body’s immune response by stimulating the production and activity of immune cells, particularly lymphocytes [15]. This modulation of the immune system fosters improved defence mechanisms against infections and diseases. By neutralising free radicals and reducing oxidative stress, astaxanthin helps preserve the integrity and functionality of immune cells, ensuring the immune system remains robust and responsive to pathogens.

Chronic inflammation can weaken the immune system. Astaxanthin’s anti-inflammatory properties reduce inflammation, allowing the immune system to function optimally. By alleviating chronic inflammation, astaxanthin supports the body's ability to respond effectively to health threats.

In summary, astaxanthin boosts the immune response, modulates immune cells like lymphocytes, reduces chronic inflammation, and preserves the functionality of immune cells, making it a powerful ally for maintaining a healthy and responsive immune system.

Cognitive Benefits

The brain is particularly susceptible to oxidative stress due to its high oxygen consumption. Astaxanthin helps protect brain tissues by neutralising oxidative stress, thereby preserving neuronal integrity and function. This protection is crucial for maintaining cognitive health and preventing damage that can lead to neurodegenerative disorders [16].

 

Astaxanthin also modulates inflammatory responses within the central nervous system. By reducing neuroinflammation [17], it supports overall cognitive health and may lower the risk of conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Additionally, astaxanthin enhances blood flow to the brain, ensuring optimal oxygen and nutrient delivery to brain cells. Improved cerebral blood flow supports cognitive functions and reduces the risk of cognitive decline.

Studies suggest that astaxanthin supplementation can enhance cognitive performance, including improvements in memory, attention, and processing speed, particularly in older adults. These benefits make astaxanthin a valuable supplement for maintaining and enhancing cognitive health.

Athletic Performance

Astaxanthin enhances athletic performance by reducing muscle damage and inflammation, speeding up recovery post-exercise [18]. This reduction in muscle soreness helps athletes bounce back quickly after strenuous activities.

Additionally, astaxanthin boosts endurance and reduces fatigue, enabling athletes to train more effectively and sustain higher levels of physical activity for longer periods [19]. It also promotes the efficient utilisation of fatty acids for energy production during exercise, enhancing stamina and reducing energy depletion in muscles [20]. These benefits make astaxanthin a valuable supplement for improving overall athletic performance and recovery.

Additional Potential Benefits

Astaxanthin also supports joint health by reducing arthritis symptoms and inflammation. It aids liver health and detoxification processes, helping to remove toxins from the body. Additionally, its potent antioxidant properties provide anti-aging benefits at the cellular level, protecting against oxidative damage and promoting overall vitality.

How to Incorporate Astaxanthin into Your Diet

Natural Food Sources

You can incorporate astaxanthin into your diet through various natural food sources:

  • Fish and Seafood: Wild-caught salmon, shrimp, trout, and red sea bream are excellent sources of astaxanthin.
  • Microalgae: Consuming microalgae, such as Haematococcus pluvialis, provides a high concentration of natural astaxanthin.
  • Krill Oil: Obtained from krill, this oil is a rich source of astaxanthin and can be consumed directly.

Astaxanthin Supplements

 

Krill oil supplements are popular in the UK for their powerful health benefits. Superba Krill Oil is 100% pure oil sourced and extracted from Antarctic krill, specifically the Euphausia Superba species. It’s rich in essential Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) in a more stable form than fish oils. Our supplement also comes in convenient krill oil softgels!

Dosage and Safety

Recommended Daily Dosage

It’s important to read supplement labels carefully and choose a product that clearly states the source of astaxanthin. For general health benefits, the recommended daily dosage of astaxanthin is typically between 4 to 12 mg. However, follow the dosage instructions on the label and consult with a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage for your specific needs.

Potential Side Effects and Interactions

While astaxanthin is generally considered safe, some individuals may experience mild side effects such as stomach pain, red stool, or increased bowel movements. It is important to be aware of potential interactions with medications, especially blood thinners and medications that affect the immune system.

Safety Considerations for Specific Populations

  • Pregnant Women and Children: Pregnant women and children should consult with a healthcare provider before taking astaxanthin supplements to ensure safety and appropriate dosage.
  • Those on Medication: Individuals taking medication, particularly those for blood pressure, blood thinning, or immune-related conditions, should seek medical advice before starting astaxanthin supplements to avoid any adverse interactions.

By following these guidelines and consulting with a healthcare professional, you can safely incorporate astaxanthin into your wellness routine as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Embrace a Healthier You with Love Life Supplements

Astaxanthin offers numerous health benefits, from enhancing skin and eye health to supporting cardiovascular, immune, and cognitive functions. By incorporating it into your diet, you can protect your body from oxidative stress and improve your overall well-being.

One of the best ways to add astaxanthin to your routine is through our Love Life Supplements Superba Krill Oil. Sourced sustainably from Antarctic krill, our 100% pure oil is rich in essential Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, providing a reliable and effective supplement to support your health.

 

For more health tips and information, check out our various blog pages, where you can find articles on a wide range of topics. Sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on the latest health news, product launches, and exclusive offers. Additionally, take our online quiz to find out which supplements are best suited to your needs.

Start your journey to a healthier you today with Love Life Supplements!


References

[1] [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9655540/ 

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6073124/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7696511/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946307/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5525019/

[7] [8] [9]  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7281326

[10] https://medicalchannelasia.com/the-four-best-supplements-for-screen-time-eye-protection/#:~:text=Astaxanthin,such%20as%20salmon%20and%20shrimp.

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4771988/#:~:text=This%20review%20focuses%20on%20astaxanthin,oxygen%20and%20scavenging%20free%20radicals.

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6268807/

[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3718605/#:~:text=Oxidative%20stress%20plays%20a%20key,in%20cell%20necrosis%20and%20apoptosis.

[14] https://www.rxlist.com/supplements/astaxanthin.htm

[15] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4730289/#:~:text=Dietary%20astaxanthin%20is%20reported%20to,the%20peripheral%20blood%20%5B11%5D.

[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6680436/

[17] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9263351/

[18] [19] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5778137/

[20] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3947967/#:~:text=Previous%20studies%20have%20shown%20that,fatty%20acids%20in%20muscle%20cells.

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