Astaxanthin belongs to a group of pigments (colouring agents) called carotenoids. Astaxanthin gives sea animals a blue-green tinge, which turns to a red-orange colour when they are cooked. Astaxanthin is not made in the human body but can be obtained in the diet from trout, salmon, red seabream, prawns, crab and lobster. Supplements are manufactured from marine algae, which is the richest known source of Astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant, believed to be 10 times stronger than beta-carotene and up to 100 times stronger than vitamin E. Unlike the well-known carotenoid beta-carotene, Astaxanthin can not be converted to vitamin A in the body, so there is no danger of accumulating toxic levels of vitamin A. Astaxanthin is soluble in both fat and water, meaning it can have a direct effect on nearly all cells throughout the body.
Antioxidants are substances that protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals and other oxidising agents are produced in the body in response to many processes such as a refined diet, smoking, alcohol, pollution and basically living a modern lifestyle. Over time, a build-up of free radicals causes damage to cells, leading to degenerative conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, cancer and ageing.
- No known toxic effects of Astaxanthin have been found in humans or animals, even in high doses. The recommended daily intake for adults is 5mg per day. - Some people may notice a slight orange colour in the faeces when taking Astaxanthin. This is caused by small quantities of the pigment passing through the digestive system. It is harmless and no cause for concern.
MEDICAL USEConsult your Doctor or Health Care professional before commencing supplements. Research into the use of Astaxanthin in humans is in the early stages. The following potential health benefits are mainly based on studies in laboratory animals. 1) Boosts the immune system by helping the body fight infection. 2) May prevent some types of cancer. 3) Protects LDL (good) cholesterol from oxidation. This reduces the risk of atherosclerosis (blocked arteries), a leading cause of heart disease and stroke . 4) May help treat gastritis, stomach ulcers, inflammation and infection caused by Helicobacter pylori.