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Astaxanthin - Much more than the prevention from sunburn

posted on 26 February 2009 | posted in Health Articles

Extracts from an article by Mike Adams

Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family. It is a dark red pigment which is the main carotenoid found in the marine world of algae and aquatic animals. It is present in many types of seafood including salmon, trout, red sea bream, shrimp and lobster as well as in birds such as flamingo and quail. This pigment is commercially produced from the microalga haematococcus pluvialis - the richest know natural sourse for astaxanthin.

Carotenoids are lipid-soluble pigments and antioxidants, which participate as accessory pigments in the light-absorption process of photosynthetic organisms. To date, over 600 natural carotenoids have been identified. They are responsible for the orange and red colours in plants and algae and for the wide range of blue pruple and reddish colours in aquatic animals. Only phtoplankton, algae, plants and certain bacteria and fungi synthesize carotenoids. Animals, including humans must consume carotenoids as part of their diet and rely on this external supply. Recent scientific findings indicate that astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant and can serve as a potent free-radical scavenger. Moreover, astaxanthin has been found to provide many essential biological functions, including protection against lipid-membrane peroxidation of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids and proteins, DNA damage and UV light effects; it also plays an importnat role in immunological defense.
Oxygen is necessary for the metabolic production of energy in our bodies. Mitochondria, through the electron-transprot chain, use oxygen to oxidize certain molecules and generate energy in the form of ATP. During this process, oxygen is reduced to water, producing several oxygen-derived free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS) which play an importnat role in various diseases. Normally enzymes such as superoxide dismutase(SOD). However ROS become a problem when either a decrease in their removal or their overproduction occurs, resulting in oxidative stress. This stress, and the resultant damage, as been implicated in many diseases, and a wealth of preventative drugs and treatments are currently being studied.
Astatxanthin's powerful antioxidant activity has been demonstrated in numerous studies showing the detrimental effects of free-radical induced oxidative stress and astaxanthin's potential to target many important health conditions.
There is increasing testimonial evidence that astaxanthin may be effective in enhancing general well-being and stamina, improving the quality of life and enhancing the immune system. Recent studies have shown an enhanced immune response and decreased DNA damage in human subjects following astaxanthin administration and as it is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, it has a unique importance as an antioxidant.

The efficacy of astaxanthin in limiting the damage produced by ROS - induced oxidative stess and improving health parameters in the tisues and the body was demonstrated in a series of in-vitro experiments both in pre-clinical studies and in human models. The following is a list of diseases and conditions for which astaxanthin has been shown to have beneficial effects, as described in numerous medical articles, and excellent reviews over the last 10 years.
  • Age -related macular degeneration
  • Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease
  • Cholesterol - it ameliorates the effects of LDL (the 'bad" cholesterol)
  • Inflammatory, chronic viral and autoimmune diseases
  • Dyspepsia
  • Semen fertility improvement
  • Muscle function
  • Sunburn from UV light
  • Normalisation of cardiac rhythm
  • Anti-hypertensive agent
  • Stress anagement
  • Benign prostate hyperplasia
  • Stroke: Repairs damage caused by lack of oxygen

    If you choose to try taking this amazing antioxidant, ensure that the type that you use is made from a natural source. The significantly richest source we know is made from haematococcus pluvialis.

    Astaxanthin study report