The science behind astaxanthin’s powerful antioxidant properties

Plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables are amongst the best sources of nutrients for your body. But that’s not the only reason they’re good for your health. Studies show that, apart from the vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber that you can get from plant-based foods, your body also benefits from the bioactive chemicals in them. In fact, even the pigments that give various fruits and vegetables their characteristic colors offer a surprising amount of health benefits.

You may have noticed that some of the healthiest foods you’re advised to eat sport bright colors, such as yellow, red or orange. Examples of these foods include oranges, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, mangoes, beets and squash. These fruits and vegetables get their attractive hues from bioactive compounds called carotenoids. [1] Coincidentally, carotenoids play a huge part in how these superfoods are able to support good overall health and well-being.

Carotenoids are produced not only by plants but also by microorganisms like photosynthetic bacteria and algae. To date, researchers have identified more than 700 different carotenoids from plant and microbial sources. [2] The most common ones – such as lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamin A precursors beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene – are all found in plant-based foods. These carotenoids are also known for their powerful antioxidant properties.

But there’s one other carotenoid in the human diet that stands out from the rest. Astaxanthin, a red-orange pigment renowned for its industrial and pharmacological applications, is a carotenoid produced by a number of microalgae and yeasts, as well as some types of seafood. Dubbed as the “king of carotenoids,” astaxanthin is considered to be one of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature. [3]

Astaxanthin: a carotenoid with unparalleled health-supporting properties

Carotenoids can be divided into two categories: Carotenes, which are non-oxygenated compounds, are usually found in red or orange foods like papaya, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and carrots. Popular carotenes include lycopene, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene.

Meanwhile, oxygen-bearing xanthophylls, such as beta-cryptoxanthin, can be found in yellow foods like summer squash, pumpkins, corn and avocadoes. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are great sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. Astaxanthin, on the other hand, can be found in microalgae, certain fish, seashells and some edible mushrooms. [4]

The discovery of astaxanthin was first reported in 1938 when researchers isolated the compound from lobsters. Its first commercial use was as a pigment for farmed salmonids, whose flesh needed an astaxanthin boost to achieve the fresh, red-orange color associated with wild salmon. But eventually, astaxanthin found other uses in various industries; today, it is used in food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals. [5]

Some of the best natural sources of astaxanthin are microalgae, yeasts, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp and crayfish. But the astaxanthin commonly used in supplements and cosmetics today comes from the freshwater microalga, Haematococcus pluvialis. Studies show that among all known astaxanthin sources, this microorganism produces the most bioavailable form of the compound. [6]

Despite its functional similarities to carotenes and other xanthophylls, astaxanthin has several advantages over them. Research suggests that astaxanthin is more bioactive than even lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known to support skin and eye health. Thanks to its unique chemical structure, which prevents it from being converted into vitamin A inside your body, astaxanthin is free to exert its beneficial effects on various bodily functions.

For instance, what makes astaxanthin one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world is the chemical groups attached to it. According to a study published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, these polar end groups enable astaxanthin to neutralize free radicals effectively and protect your cells from oxidative stress. Astaxanthin is also able to insert itself in the lipid bilayers of cells – something not all antioxidants can do – and help preserve membrane integrity. Because of these actions, astaxanthin is considered a better antioxidant than other carotenoids. [7]

The unique chemical properties of astaxanthin are also key to its brain benefits. A study published in the journal Marine Drugs noted that astaxanthin is built in such a way that it can readily cross the blood-brain barrier. And thanks to its antioxidant properties, it can protect brain cells from oxidative damage. [8] Studies show that oxidative damage negatively impacts brain function and could even affect your emotional and mental well-being. [9]

Another way astaxanthin helps keep your cells healthy is by promoting your immune defenses. According to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, dietary astaxanthin can support healthy immune function by maintaining already healthy white blood cell production. White blood cells are crucial to your body’s ability to mount a proper immune response to external threats. [10][11]

Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But during intense physical activities, many biomolecules, such as lipids and proteins, become damaged because of an overproduction of free radicals. After all, these unstable molecules are byproducts of cell metabolism – your body’s way of producing energy. Fortunately, powerful antioxidants like astaxanthin can help protect these important biomolecules, as well as your muscles, from free radical damage caused by intense exercise. At the same time, it can support your body’s natural endurance and promote healthy muscle recovery. [12]

Your brain and muscle cells are not the only ones prone to oxidative damage. According to a study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, oxidative stress and low antioxidant levels caused by aging are key contributors to joint problems that can limit your mobility. [13] But thanks to its ability to neutralize free radicals – the root cause of oxidative stress – astaxanthin can support healthy joints even in your golden years. [14]

Aside from your joints, your heart and your eyes can also suffer from oxidative stress. Studies show that oxidative stress is a major cause of blood vessel issues in your heart. [15] Oxidative stress can also cause damage your eyes. [16] This is why experts emphasize the importance of dietary antioxidants like astaxanthin. By scavenging free radicals and preventing their accumulation, astaxanthin can help protect vital organs, such as your heart and your eyes, from oxidative damage and support their healthy functions.

Your skin is the protective barrier that keeps you safe from environmental threats, such as ultraviolet (UV) radiation. [17] Studies have linked prolonged exposure to UV rays to premature aging, eye problems and free radical damage, which can impair your skin’s natural barrier function. [18][19] Thankfully, astaxanthin’s ability to neutralize free radicals can help protect your skin cells from oxidative damage and support their healthy functions. [20] It can also prevent free radicals from destroying collagen, the protein that gives your skin elasticity. [21] This, in turn, can help you maintain healthy, glowing skin.

To recap, here are some of the health benefits offered by astaxanthin:*

  • Supports healthy immune function
  • Supports healthy brain function
  • Supports endurance and healthy muscle recovery after exercise
  • Supports healthy joints
  • Supports healthy heart function
  • Supports healthy eye function
  • Supports healthy, glowing skin

Where to find high-quality, NAXA-verified astaxanthin supplements

Astaxanthin is one of the most widely studied antioxidants in the human diet for a reason. Not only is it a far superior antioxidant compared to other carotenoids, but studies show that it can also support the healthy functions of many vital organs.

Eating brightly colored seafood is a good way to increase your intake of astaxanthin. However, research has found that the most bioavailable form of astaxanthin – that is, the easiest for your body to absorb – comes from only one natural source: the green microalgae, Haematococcus pluvialis. This is why it is more efficient to take supplements that contain astaxanthin derived from this microorganism.

To truly experience its many health benefits, you need to take high-quality astaxanthin supplements from a reliable source. Chief Originals Astaxanthin Softgels are derived from clean H.pluvialis cultures sustainably grown in a controlled lab environment via CO2 extraction. Our premium astaxanthin softgels provide a much more concentrated form of astaxanthin than any seafood, which is often contaminated with mercury.

Chief Originals Astaxanthin Softgels offer a safe, easy and cost-efficient way to get your daily dose of astaxanthin, one of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature. This bioactive compound can help support the healthy functions of your skin, heart, eyes, joints, brain and immune system. Thanks to the remarkable free radical-scavenging abilities of astaxanthin, this high-quality supplement makes a powerful asset for athletes and regular gym-goers. Take it every day to combat oxidative stress and maintain your body’s natural strength, stamina and endurance.

Chief Originals Astaxanthin Softgels are not irradiated and contain no gluten, pesticides or GMOs. They are also Natural Algae Astaxanthin (NAXA)-verified, so you can rest assured that they contain natural astaxanthin derived from H.pluvialis. Our premium astaxanthin softgels are also extensively lab tested for glyphosate, heavy metals and microbiology.

Upgrade your health with ultra-clean astaxanthin supplements and experience the health benefits of the king of carotenoids!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any diseases.

References

[1] https://www.healthline.com/

[2] https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/

[3] https://healthcareweekly.com/

[4] https://academic.oup.com/advances/

[5] https://www.mdpi.com/

[6] https://www.mdpi.com/

[7] https://www.tandfonline.com

[8] https://www.mdpi.com/

[9] https://jpet.aspetjournals.org/

[10] https://www.mdpi.com/

[11] https://www.sciencedirect.com/

[12] https://www.frontiersin.org/

[13] https://www.hindawi.com/

[14] https://nutraceuticalbusinessreview.com/

[15] https://www.escardio.org/

[16] https://www.eurekaselect.com/

[17] https://www.hse.gov.uk/

[18] https://www.cancer.org/

[19] https://link.springer.com/

[20] https://www.fujichemical.co.jp/

[21] https://link.springer.com/

Previous article Why vitamin C is one of the most crucial vitamins for optimal health and well-being
Next article Here's the science behind the amazing health benefits of organic cashews