Astaxanthin belongs to the family of carotenoids, which includes more than 600 molecules, the best known of which are: beta carotene, lycopene and lutein.
Carotenoids are pigments whose colour can vary from red, orange to yellow. They are commonly present in living beings. They are synthesized by all plants because they play a role in photosynthesis. Salmon, lobster, shrimp, or flamingo have pretty orange colours because they eat algae that contain carotenoids! (1)
Astaxanthin has been consumed as a dietary supplement since the 1990s.
This natural red pigment is extracted from haematococcus pluvialis, a freshwater micro-algae. It can also be produced by chemical synthesis.
Today, astaxanthin is still little known, but this powerful carotenoid is starting to make a name for itself as more scientific and clinical studies are being published mentioning its incredible properties.
The benefits of astaxanthin on our health can be explained by the fact that it is a very powerful antioxidant. (1)
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Benefits of astaxanthin
In recent years, the results of some 300 scientific studies and about 40 clinical studies have been published, which attest to the interest of astaxanthin.
Its antioxidant power could be 800 times more powerful than coenzyme Q10 and 6000 times more powerful than vitamin C!
Its powerful antioxidant properties improve our health and slow down the effects of aging on :
Brain : cognition, brain aging and degeneration
- Improvement of cognitive functions for the elderly (memory, mental agility, etc.)
- Help for Alzheimer’s patients
- Slowing down the effects of aging due to oxidative stress
Eyes : vision, AMD
- Protection of visual functions
- Improvement in symptoms related to age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Heart : cardiovascular system
- Reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation
- Regulation of blood lipid profile
- Improvement of the micro circulation of the blood
Muscles : muscular capacity (endurance and recovery)
- Improves endurance and muscle recovery
- Fights free radicals produced as a result of exercise
- Prevention of muscle fatigue by reducing lactic acid production
Skin : reduction of hyper-pigmentation responsible in particular for aging spots
- Improvement in the quality of collagen, thus improving the elasticity of the skin and its dryness, which is responsible for wrinkles. (2)
According to the scientists authors of the publications, consuming astaxanthin would have a major impact on the aging process of our cells, visible in particular on the quality of our skin.
Moreover, astaxanthin would allow a prevention against cognitive decline related to age or disease.
Astaxanthin also has benefits on endurance and muscular recovery. Physical activity produces free radicals whose harmful effects are reduced by the action of the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin. It thus appears to be a particularly valuable supplement for all athletes and people exercising regularly.
Natural Astaxanthin, Organic Astaxanthin, Vegan?
Published studies have been made with natural astaxanthin, extracted from micro-algae.
Today there is not yet any certified organic astaxanthin, the specifications of organic culture applying to micro algae is relatively new, so it is difficult to find finished products entirely “Organic”.
Astaxanthin is generally eaten in softgels, most of which contain animal gelatin based on fish or beef. There are only a few brands that offer 100% natural vegan astaxanthin.
It is important to pay attention to the quality of the production of the original micro-algae. They must be pure, without heavy metals or other pollutants linked to the production environment. It is therefore recommended to choose Natural Astaxanthin extracted from microalgae grown in a closed, perfectly controlled environment, such as in glass tubes.
No undesirable side effects linked to regular consumption of astaxanthin have been reported to date.
The recommended consumption of astaxanthin by official bodies varies from 2 to 12 mg per day, depending on several factors such as age, health, activity, etc. The daily dose commonly used as a food supplement is 4 to 8 mg. (3)
NASA is studying astaxanthin…
Like spirulina, the properties of astaxanthin are such that NASA wants to use this exceptional antioxidant to supplement the diet of astronauts. Among other things, astaxanthin could fight against radiation exposure, as well as the negative effects of the absence of gravity on the eyes, the cardiovascular system and the reduction of bone mass. (4),(5)
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(3) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2470 of 20 December 2017 establishing the Union list of novel foods in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 of the European Parliament and of the Council on novel foods.