There's a new antioxidant in town, and its name is astaxanthin. (Try saying that 10 times fast.) OK, so astaxanthin has actually been around practically since the dawn of time, but it's still my new favorite. And I bet it's about to become one of yours, too.
We all know that antioxidants are important: They help protect the body from highly reactive molecules called free radicals that can cause oxidative stress when left unchecked.
Natural astaxanthin is unique among antioxidants because of the shape of its molecule. Simply stated, astaxanthin is both water- and fat-soluble, which allows it to protect the entire cell from damage — not just part of it. This molecular structure enables it to provide superior support and protection from oxidative damage. Plus, unlike some antioxidants, astaxanthin never becomes pro-oxidant in the body so it won't cause harmful oxidation.
Over 200 scientific studies demonstrate that this supercharged antioxidant is packed with a variety of health benefits. Here are just a few conditions it can help out with:
1. Joint and tendon health
Astaxanthin is particularly effective at supporting quicker recovery from exercise by combating sore joints, making it a great supplement for athletes.
2. Skin health
Astaxanthin acts as an edible sunscreen, essentially working from the inside out to soothe the skin during exposure to harsh UV rays.
3. Eye and brain health
Astaxanthin is unique in that it crosses the blood-brain barrier and the blood-retinal barrier. This makes it an excellent supplement for maintaining eye health.
The best way to ensure we have enough antioxidants in our system is to eat a wide variety of colorful, antioxidant-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts a couple of times a day. You've probably consumed astaxanthin without even knowing it. The antioxidant gives many sea creatures their intense reddish or pink color, and it's commonly found in wild salmon, trout, shrimp, and lobster.
Pairing a diet rich in fish with a natural astaxanthin supplement is a good idea for those days when your healthy eating gets derailed. Think of it as your antioxidant safety net.
Most people report noticeable improvement within two to six weeks of taking an astaxanthin supplement. Recommended amounts vary based on the area of concern, but if you are taking it as a general part of daily health maintenance regimen, then 4 to 6 mg will do it.
However, if you thinking of taking astaxanthin for serious joint or tendon health problems, or if you're an athlete or someone who does a lot of physical work or exercise, then 12 mg per day is generally recommended. It is important to note that since astaxanthin is a fat-soluble carotenoid, it works best when taking it with food, as fat aids in the absorption of the antioxidant.
Adding astaxanthin to your daily routine is an easy way to welcome long-term health benefits — even if it's hard to say.
Gerald Cysewski, Ph.D., is recognized as a world authority on micro-algae. He has over 35 years experience in micro-algae research and commercial productions of micro-algae products. He founded and now serves as the Chief Science Officer at Cyanotech Corporation and the founder and CEO of its subsidiary Nutrex Hawaii. Cysewski holds a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from the University of Washington and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.