Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, belonging to the same class of substances of the group of carotene, lutein, and lycopene. Unlike provitamin A, Astaxanthin has low toxicity and is not metabolized to vitamin A. It is approved and is considered safe for use in the US and the EU as a natural coloring agent in order to give color to food.
Astaxanthin is widespread in nature and is produced by cultivating microalgae (Haematococcus Pluvialis), from shrimp and krill farms, and also by some kinds of yeast. The pigment Astaxanthin gives shrimps and the North Atlantic krill their pink color. Astaxanthin can also be produced synthetically.
Astaxanthin is one of the most popular supplements at the moment, combining high potential for new discoveries and a great impact on human health. Its reputation is due to the relatively fresh but positive numerous niche researches worldwide.
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What Is Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, belonging to the same class of substances of the group of carotene, lutein, and lycopene. It is widespread in nature and is produced by cultivating microalgae (Haematococcus Pluvialis), from shrimp and krill farms, and also by some kinds of yeast.
The pigment Astaxanthin gives shrimps and the North Atlantic krill their pink color. Astaxanthin can also be produced synthetically. The natural and synthetic forms have differences in the structure of their molecules - they are isomers. The natural form can be found in all isomeric forms.
The synthetic form is an inseparable mixture of stereoisomers and can; therefore be distinguished very well. Its cost is typically about three times lower. There is no data, however, that the origin of Astaxanthin leads s to differences in the impact.
What Should You Know About Astaxanthin
Unlike provitamin A, Astaxanthin has low toxicity and is not metabolized to vitamin A. It is approved and is considered safe for use in the US and the EU as a natural coloring agent in order to give color to food. In the US, this only applies to animal feed.
Its specific code in the EU and Europe is E161j. People put it in hens and farm salmon feed. Thus, the meat is pink and the egg yolks have a red color. The good news is that this is not so bad, because Astaxanthin has also some benefits.
Astaxanthin is a fat-soluble substance and is believed its absorption gets improved with the parallel intake of food, rich in fat or oil in capsules (pearls).
Purpose and Health Benefits of Astaxanthin
In addition to coloring foods (in particular: meat, egg yolks, and herring), Astaxanthin is used as a dietary supplement.
Health Benefits of Astaxanthin:
- Powerful antioxidant;
- Slows aging;
- Anti-inflammatory agent;
- Has a pigment that has an ant burn effect;
- Improves immunity, antimicrobial effect;
- Helps the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, removes bad cholesterol;
- Delays neurodegenerative diseases;
- Improves visual health, including cataracts and macular degeneration;
- Improves insemination potential;
- Reduces pyloric reflux and stomach dyspepsia;
- Muscle recovery agent (sports supplements).
Of course, in addition to the multimillion industries, there is a great deal of marketing involved.
How Does Astaxanthin Work
After consumption, it is digested along with the fat in the food, then enters the blood and lymph circulation and reaches the cell membranes. It is able to cross the blood-brain barrier.
Once seated in the membranes, it corrects errors in the oxidation processes of the substances passing through the cell membranes. Astaxanthin works within the membranes of the mitochondria.
Proven Benefits on People
- Powerful antioxidant - There are numerous studies confirming the antioxidant functions. Information on its effectiveness, in comparison with other antioxidants (even of the same class), is conflicting;
- Slows aging – the same way as other antioxidants work;
- An anti-inflammatory agent with antimicrobial properties - proven for wound healing; it combats the gastrointestinal bacteria that cause ulcers, heartburn, and discomfort;
- Improves immunity; antimicrobial effect;
- Improves visual health, including cataracts and macular degeneration;
- Improves the insemination potential in me - more studies are needed;
- Reduces pyloric reflux - the evidence is compelling;
- 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor- up to the time of this publication, there is only one study on humans for such an effect. The intake was a combination of Astaxanthin and Saw Palmetto extract. The results show a serious increase in the testosterone levels (and at 800 mg/day and 2000 mg/day) and reduction of DHT in a three-day course of intake. It lowers estrogen (depending on the dose, but more than 2000 mg/day);
- The reason why we put this otherwise "magical" effect of the 8th place in the article is: The study was conducted only within 3 days and did not prove the durability of the effect. The research was apparently sponsored by a manufacturer of nutritional supplements and was done in Yaoundé, Cameroon (Africa) - Clinic of Urology at the Teaching hospital.
Are There Any Side Effects and Contraindications
As a natural pigment that is not metabolized into vitamin A, Astaxanthin has a high tolerance and low toxicity. An overdose signal is the occurrence of a "pink" color in individuals, consuming it.
Some people take it namely for that purpose - to have a ruddy healthy appearance. There are no established side effects and that is why Ashwagandha is well tolerated by people.
Who Shouldn't Consume Astaxanthin
No evidence of drug interactions. There are no safe doses for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, infants and young children.
Tests on people recommend the intake of 8 mg to 16 mg Astaxanthin for periods of 3 to 90 days. The specific therapeutic effect in some cases depends on the dose. In other cases - the effect of satiety is observed (the limit).
It is best to take the dosage prescribed for you personally by a dietitian, nutritionists or treating specialist. If taking it as a supplement by your own discretion, follow the instructions on the label.
In Which Sports and Health Supplements Can We Find Astaxanthin
As you can see from the list of effects with proven potential/proven effects, Astaxanthin is a hit on the food supplements markets worldwide and is input in different types of products.
- Standalone as an antioxidant product or in complex antioxidant formulas;
- In additives for increasing fertility;
- In complex cardio-protective products;
- In complex neuroprotective and prophylactic products;
- In complex and separate formulas for visual health prevention and improvement;
- In complex products with anti-inflammatory effect on the gastrointestinal tract;
- In ointments, creams wound healing lotions, sunburn products, etc.;
- In sports supplements, as muscle recovery and protector agent;
- In sports supplements: blocks the 5 alpha-reductase enzyme – increases strength, body mass and prevents prostate growth (also after steroid cycles);
- Complex formulas with Sao Palmetto extract, prevention of prostate cancer growth.
We recommend that you follow the label instructions.