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If you are a natural health newshound you may have seen astaxanthin mentioned in the press recently. So, what is all the fuss about?
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid that is found in pink and red coloured crustaceans and fish such as salmon, trout and shrimp.
One of the richest sources of natural astaxanthin is a micro-alga called haematococcus pluvialis.
Although astaxanthin is structurally similar to beta carotene, it is not converted into vitamin A. This amazing molecule has potent antioxidant properties; in fact it has been shown to be more potent than vitamin E, vitamin C, lutein and beta carotene.
It also has the ability to combine with other anti-oxidants, enhancing the effects as the nutrients work synergistically.
Inflammation and immune support
With its unique ability to span every cell membrane in the body astaxanthin has the potential to offer much protection from damage. Inflammation is a natural immune response to what the body feels may be a threat and high levels have been linked to several degenerative conditions and accelerated aging.
Research has shown that astaxanthin may alleviate symptoms associated with gastric inflammation and ulcers related to Helicobacter pylori infection. It has also been shown to enhance specific immune responses and to regulate over production of inflammatory molecules associated with immune imbalances.
Being a fat soluble antioxidant, astaxanthin may protect LDL cholesterol and also raise HDL cholesterol. It may also reduce factors involved in the development of atherosclerosis. It has also demonstrated the ability to promote healthy blood pressure.
Skin protection and ageing
Astaxanthin is known as a photoprotective molecule, this simply put means that it protects against damaging UV-light. Skin ageing and wrinkles are linked to excess UV-light and natural protection may come from astaxanthin use. It has also been shown to reduce over pigmentation and studies show those using astaxanthin have smoother, more hydrated skin with increased elasticity and less wrinkles.
The eyes are delicate structures and may be prone to damage. Astaxanthin has the ability to cross into the retina and has been shown to support age related macular degeneration.
Astaxanthin is an amazing all-rounder with so much support to offer, that it deserves the recent attention.