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Astaxanthin: Not Your Average Antioxidant

Astaxanthin: Not Your Average Antioxidant

Scientific evidence continues to reveal the powerful ways in which antioxidant carotenoids, or naturally occurring pigments, benefit our health. Astaxanthin is a superstar among carotenoids -- it's a potent anti-inflammatory that promotes good health in variety of ways.

Astaxanthin is a vibrant red pigment found primarily in marine life such as wild salmon, lobster, shrimp, and krill. And while astaxanthin is one of nature's most powerful antioxidants, helping to prevent the oxidative damage that contributes to conditions like cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, and premature aging, it's not your average antioxidant when it comes to potency. It's much more powerful than vitamin C, beta-carotene, CoQ10, and even vitamin E.

Another aspect that makes astaxanthin special is that it remains active much longer than other antioxidants. Because of its physical size, it is incorporated into cell membranes, where it is able to span the entire thickness of the membrane -- this allows it to not only protect the inner and outer cell membrane from oxidative damage but also stabilize the cell membranes.

Research finds that astaxanthin may help increase strength and stamina, protect muscles against damage, protect against vascular damage associated with diabetes, and support heart health by improving blood flow and preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. It is also a pain reliever that has been found particularly helpful for arthritis. But astaxanthin really shines for its effects on the skin, the eyes, and immunity.

Skin health: Studies show that astaxanthin helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improves skin moisture and elasticity, prevents age spots and freckles, and protects against sun damage. It acts as an internal sunscreen, penetrating the cells and reducing UVA damage.

Eye health: Astaxanthin has the ability to cross through a barrier to reach your retina. Research finds that it has benefits for diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, eye strain, and fatigue. It may also help improve depth perception and the ability to see fine details.

Immunity: In one study, women who received astaxanthin supplements experienced an increase in the activity of their natural killer cells, leading researchers to conclude that astaxanthin enhances immune response in healthy women. Astaxanthin also increases the number of white blood cells called lymphocytes. Both lymphocytes and natural killer cells are responsible for building our immune defense.

Although astaxanthin is present in some foods, it's not possible to achieve a therapeutic dose from diet alone, making a supplement essential. Supplemental astaxanthin is extraordinarily safe -- unlike other antioxidants, it lacks the ability to turn into a pro-oxidant because of its unique structure, even at high levels.

Combined with a well-balanced, whole-foods diet that includes plenty of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, an astaxanthin supplement is a powerful ally for targeting specific conditions as well as supporting overall wellness.

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