Feed Your Brain with Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin may not be a familiar name, although you consume a little any time you eat salmon. Astaxanthin is a carotene – carotenes are natural pigments, similar in molecular structure to the more familiar beta carotene that colors carrots and other vegetables and fruits. Astaxanthin gives salmon its distinctive reddish hue, but it does much more: astaxanthin works as powerful antioxidant in plant and animal cells, which translates into a broad range of beneficial effects on cellular function. Astaxanthin, as shown in a growing body of research studies, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, is even more potent and versatile than its carotene cousins.

Like beta carotene, astaxanthin is good for the eyes, the skin and other tissues where antioxidants are needed. Recent studies point to astaxanthin as a nutrient for the brain. An in-vitro (test-tube) study reported to the International Congress of Nutrition and published in the journal Forum of Nutrition, SH-SY5Y cells, which are used in experimental models of neuron function, were bathed in astaxanthin and then exposed to chemicals that cause “oxidative stress” in cells. (Antioxidants are substances that counter oxidative stress in biological systems, hence the term “antioxidant.”) Astaxanthin successfully protected the treated cells from damage. Based on this, and previous research showing that astaxanthin is capable of crossing over from the bloodstream into the brain, the report suggests that “pre-treatment with astaxanthin may be effective for oxidative-stress associated neurodegeneration and a potential candidate for natural brain food.

High quality natural Astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis, grown under controlled conditions to ensure purity and safety, is available as a supplement in the US.

Reference:
Liu X, Osawa T. Astaxanthin protects neuronal cells against oxidative damage and is a potent candidate for brain food. Forum Nutr. 2009;61:129-35.

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Astaxanthin, the “Natural Brain Food” That Benefits Cognitive Function

In a previous Research Spotlight, we summarized research showing that astaxanthin—the beta-carotene-like natural pigment that makes salmon red—protects brain cells from damage by toxic free radicals, a biological phenomenon known as “oxidative stress.” Astaxanthin is described in a report published in Forum of Nutrition as “a potential candidate for natural brain food.”

While inhibition of oxidative stress in brains cells is important enough by itself, does the protective effect make any difference in thinking? A placebo-controlled, double-blind study, reported in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition — a peer-reviewed scientific publication—found evidence that it does. Ninety-six heathy middle-aged and elderly people who experienced the kind of mild forgetfulness that commonly occurs with aging were recruited to participate in this research. The volunteers took astaxanthin, extracted from Haematococcus pluvialis, an algae naturally-rich in astaxanthin, or a placebo (“dummy pill”) daily for 12 weeks. Two modest doses of astaxanthin were used: 12 mg in the “high-dose group” and 6 mg in the “low-dose group.” Tests of cognitive function were administered to all subjects every four weeks. Improvements were seen in both dosage groups at the end of the 12-week study period. Interestingly, the low-dose group raised their scores earlier than the high-dose group in one of the tests:the Groton Maze Learning Test. The sample-size, i.e. the number of subjects, was too small for the data to reach “statistical significance,” nonetheless the report concludes that “the results suggested that astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract improves cognitive function in the healthy aged individuals.” No side-effects occurred; astaxanthin, like other carotenes, is completely safe as nutritional supplement that can be taken on a daily basis.

High quality natural Astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis, grown under controlled conditions to ensure purity and safety, is available as a supplement in the US.

References:
Liu X, Osawa T. Astaxanthin protects neuronal cells against oxidative damage and is a potent candidate for brain food. Forum Nutr. 2009;61:129-35.

Katagiri M, et al. Effects of astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract on cognitive function: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Clin Biochem Nutr 51(2):102-7.

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Protect Your Skin from the Sun with Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a natural pigment belonging to the class of nutrients known as carotenes. Similar to beta-carotene, the more familiar carotene that makes carrots orange, astaxanthin produces the reddish-orange color of salmon. (Ocean-growing salmon get their astaxanthin by eating Krill, a tiny shrimp-like crustacean.) Like beta carotene and other members of the carotene family, astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant—this biological property works at the cell level to protect a diverse range of tissues from “oxidative stress”, an ongoing metabolic process in the body that can be damaging if not kept under control. Astaxanthin is now one of the most popular ingredients in dietary supplements—thanks to a wealth of research exploring its many health benefits.

Carotenes are good for skin, and astaxanthin is no exception. As the body’s most external tissue, the skin is vulnerable to rogue molecules called “free radicals” that can accumulate in tissues on the heels of a surge in oxidative stress. Ultraviolet light (UV) exposure subjects the skin to oxidative stress and accumulation of free radicals that contributes to skin damage and aging. In view of this, a study was undertaken to investigate the ability of astaxanthin and other carotenes to mitigate the effects of UVA light on fibroblasts in the dermis. Fibroblasts, cells that are abundant in connective tissues like skin, build collagen and other structural components. The experiments, published in the scientific journal Experimental Dermatology, demonstrated a “photoprotective effect” of carotenes on dermal fibroblasts. Astaxathin was a stand-out: as stated in the report, “The data indicated that the oxo-carotenoid astaxanthin has a superior preventative effects towards photo-oxidative changes in cells culture.”

Reference:
Emanuela C, et al. Astaxanthin, canthaxanthin and ß-carotene differently affect UVA-induced oxidative damage and expression of oxidative stress-response enzymes. Exp Dermatol 2009;18:222-31.

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AstaFX Astaxanthin Super Formula

Our AstaFX Astaxanthin Super Formula has becoming very popular!

AstaFX™ doesn’t just contain Astaxanthin; it exclusively blends AstaREAL®, an evidence-based Astaxanthin backed by multiple studies and patents with Organic Flax Oil. Clinical studies document the ability of AstaREAL® to naturally support: healthy energy levels, healthy skin, visual acuity, muscle endurance and recovery, immunity and circulation.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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