Astaxanthin provides many benefits for for the health of your eyes and overall health.
A potent antioxidant and anti inflammatory, astaxanthin (pronounced as-ta-zanthin) has been shown in clinical studies to be vastly more potent than vitamin c and vitamin e in its abilities to scavenge free radicals.
What is Astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring carotenoid, related to beta-carotene, found in marine algae, salmon, shrimp and lobster.
Carotenoids are involved in the process of photosynthesis and help protect plants and other species from ultraviolet light. It’s the astaxanthin that gives these ocean creatures their reddish tones.
A healthy serving of wild, pacific salmon will give you approximately 4.5 mg of astaxanthin. Interestingly, farmed salmon do not confer the same healthy levels of Haematococcus pluvialis (astaxanthin algae) as their wild brothers in the pacific.
Other sources of astaxanthin,as mentioned, include shrimps, lobster and trout.
Astaxanthin Health Benefits
- helps reduce oxidative stress on the body;
- reduces inflammation;
- is protective of the skin;
- crosses the blood brain barrier to protect the brain and eyes;
- assists in reducing blood pressure and increasing HDL – good cholesterol;
- protective against age-related disease such as cardiovascular disease, alzheimers and parkinsons.
Astaxanthin and Eye Health
Clinical studies have now proven that 6 mg of astaxanthin can improve the blood flow to the eye and actually aid in accommodation (focusing) and in reducing eye fatigue. – Dr Michael Lange OD.
A 2008 study found that astaxanthin had neuro-protective effects against retinal damage in-vitro and in-vivo, and that its protective effects may have been partly mediated via its antioxidant effects. The research concluded that astaxanthin provided benefits for your eye health.
Astaxanthin and Your Hormones
Astaxanthin also has the ability to lower levels of a steroid hormone called DHT (Dihydrotestosterone).
Is this good or bad you ask? Well, DHT is a by-product of testosterone and while small amounts of DHT are needed in the body for good reasons, an overload of this potent substance has long been associated with male pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia.
While we know that healthy, normal levels of testosterone are one of the keys to resolving dry eye disease, excessive DHT in your body or on your scalp is not beneficial.
One study conducted in 2008 found that a combination of astaxanthin and saw palmetto, (another well studied DHT blocker) was able to significantly increase testosterone levels while decreasing the more potent DHT.
What Does all this mean?
Well, it showed that astaxanthin is a very effective blocker of DHT in the blood, while naturally raising testosterone levels, along with providing strong antioxidant activity and protective properties. As you age, levels of key hormones such as testosterone, progesterone and estrogen naturally decline. In men, this is often referred to as andropause.
Is Astaxanthin Safe?
A 2003 randomized clinical trial reported that 6 mg of H.pluvialis extract (astaxanthin) can be safely consumed by healthy adults.
While all of the available science is not totally conclusive over this super algae being a magic pill for good health, the weight of research undertaken has suggested that 4-8 mg of astaxanthin in your diet daily is very safe and potentially protective against disease and anti-ageing.
And if you happen to suffer from hormonal-induced hair loss, the reduction of DHT could confer some hair regrowth benefits, along with maintaining normal testosterone.
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Astaxanthin, a dietary carotenoid, protects retinal cells against oxidative stress in-vitro and in mice in-vivo. Oct 2008 Gifu Pharmaceutical University.
Safety of an astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis algal extract: a randomized clinical trial. 2003 Health Research & Studies Center, CA