Astaxanthin


A naturally occurring member of the beta-carotene family found in both the plant and animal kingdoms, astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant that is nearly 500 times more powerful than vitamin E. The red pigment known to give carrots, tomatoes and salmon their distinctive colour is also very beneficial for human health.

Free radicals are byproducts of normal bodily functions like breathing or digestion but their accumulation in the body is harmful to healthy cells. They lead to rapid aging, signs of which include early wrinkles, dry skin and even skin cancer. Free radicals also cause tissue damage inside the body which can lead to cancer. Antioxidants like astaxanthin neutralize free radicals and protect the body.

Inflammation is the body’s first response when it suffers some injury or attack and occurs very quickly after a problem is recognized. This reaction is nonspecific, meaning that regardless of the issue, the response by the body will always be the same. The general symptoms of inflammation include pain, redness, swelling and heat. Inflammation is now understood to be the basis of all leading health problems prevailing in western societies including diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, obesity, and cancer to name a few.1, 2  Astaxanthin is one of the strongest natural anti-inflammatories. Latest research indicates that it can even help prolong life span.3

To be able to attain anti-inflammatory benefits of Astaxanthin, you would have to consume large amounts of fish or other foods in which it occurs naturally. Since this is not feasible, many people prefer to take astaxanthin supplements. Sadly, a large quantity of the astaxanthin produced is synthetic and not as good as the natural product. Astaxanthin found in krill oil is a natural product that provides the full benefits without adversely affecting the aquatic environment.

Krill are tiny shrimp like creatures that feed on phytoplankton, and constitute the largest biomass on the planet. According to some estimates, there are approximately 500 million tons of the creatures are found in the oceans; out of which only 150,000 tons are harvested each year. This means that there are plenty left behind to replenish the oceans and maintain long term sustainability.  This would not be possible if Astaxanthin were to be derived for other seafood like salmon. Another benefit of using krill oil supplements is that the krill used for producing krill oil is harvested from the least contaminated oceans of the world and hence is free from heavy metal contamination. Thus, krill oil is a safer product. Furthermore, according to one double-blind, placebo controlled study, Krill Oil may actually be better at controlling the levels of serum cholesterol compared to fish oil even through both contain significant amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids.4

References:

  1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419091159.htm
  2. http://www.dana.org/News/Details.aspx?id=43258
  3. Yazaki K, Yoshikoshi C, Oshiro S, Yanase S. Supplemental cellular protection by a carotenoid extends life span via Ins/IGF-1 signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2011;2011:596240.
  4. Bunea R, El Farrah K, Deutsch L. Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia. Altern Med Rev. 2004;9:420-428.

About Andy

Hi, my name is Dr. Andy Williams and I am a biologist with a keen interest in diet and nutrition. This site was set up to help me explore the research, facts and fiction about Krill Oil. Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments, questions or suggestions.

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