Beneficial antioxidants can come from a variety of places; the most familiar sources are fruits and vegetables. One particularly potent antioxidant, astaxanthin, comes from a less expected source. Astaxanthin is a brightly colored carotenoid pigment that occurs naturally in an array of living organisms, most notably algae and the fish that feed on it. Several scientific studies have yielded evidence as to astaxanthin’s action as a powerful biological antioxidant. Research showed its strong free radical scavenging potential, as well as its ability to protect the body against oxidative damage and lipids that raise LDL-cholesterol. Additionally, it helps strengthen and maintain cells, their membranes, and tissues. This article will discuss:
In nature, carotenoids are produced by plants and their close, microscopic aquatic cousin micro-algae. Animals cannot synthesize carotenoids, so to reap the nutritional benefit, they must consume the pigments from the plant and algae sources. Astaxanthin, the carotenoid from algae, can be chemically synthesized, although synthetic astaxanthin is used primarily in fish food. The pink tint of crustaceans like shrimp, crawfish, crabs, and lobsters comes from the astaxanthin in the algae they eat. Some fish also obtain coloration from the algae in their diets, the most notable example being the vivid pink flesh of wild salmon. Commercial fish and crustacean farms commonly add astaxanthin to their fish food in order to supplement the lack of natural dietary sources of the healthy pigment. Astaxanthin provides color to these farmed animals, and is also essential for their proper growth and survival.
Haematococcus algae are an important food source for many marine animals including fish, crawfish, crabs, and lobster. This variety of micro-algae is a particularly rich source of astaxanthin. In fact, one dried kilogram of the algae can contain up to 30g of astaxanthin. Micro-algae swimming freely in pools of water are green. However, when the water dries out the algae are exposed to intense sunlight, and they begin producing large quantities of bright red astaxanthin as a protective mechanism. When astaxanthin’s powerful antioxidant protection kicks in, the algae are kept safe from the harmful UV radiation. Astaxanthin side effects have the ability to help shield your skin in the same way it does algae. Every day, your body and skin are under attack by the billions of free radicals that result from environmental factors and natural bodily processes. Under this stress, cell structure begins to break down, and fine lines, wrinkles, and dry skin are some of the results.
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Carotenoids perform a major antioxidant role by scavenging free radicals. Reactivity rates of cartenoids in the body depend not only on the type of carotenoid in action, but also on the nature of the free radical being acted upon. Astaxanthin, like vitamin E, is a lipophilic antioxidant. This means it is fat-soluble, and therefore exerts its antioxidant properties in lipid-rich cell membranes and tissues. Research has shown that astaxanthin can improve the appearance of skin in a number of ways including:
- Diminish appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Reduce puffiness around the eye
- Hydrate skin
- Calm inflammation
- Help restore even, smooth pigmentation
Dr. Perricone’s Skin and Total Body Dietary Supplements are an excellent way to add the power of astaxanthin to your diet. The Perricone discounts available make it an even better way to add to your diet.