Natural Astaxanthin: The Carotenoid “Jewel Crown”
In nature, carotenoids are produced by plankton, algae and plants as well as a small number of bacteria and fungi.
Though there are over 700 different carotenoids, but only a few made the headlines. And one of them is astaxanthin.
In the animal world, salmon are considered the ‘endurance’ kings. So what exactly do they have to endure?
Well, they just have to migrate hundreds or even thousands of miles from the ocean; then instinctively fight their way upstream against raging current for up to seven days; just to reach the streams they were born—to breed before dying.
A truly heroic swim, don’t you agree?
And to help these wild salmon make such heroic migration is none other than the super carotenoid, astaxanthin.
The highest concentration of natural astaxanthin is accumulated in the muscles and flesh of wild salmon to protect their tissues and cells from oxidation.
This also results in the healthy pinkish-red glow you see in fillets of wild salmon, or trout (unlike their farmed cousins which are fed its synthetic form to mimic this colour).
While wild salmon, like all animals, accumulate natural astaxanthin from their diets; plants and algae can synthesize carotenoids as part of the process of photosynthesis along with chlorophyll.
Microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis is the richest known natural source for natural astaxanthin, which is exactly the same astaxanthin form found in wild salmon.
From the initial optimal growth “green” stage, these algae begin to synthesize and accumulate the red pigment astaxanthin (this is the “red” stage) when they are subjected to severe stress conditions, i.e. extreme weather, lack of food, absence of water, etc.
As a form of survival mechanism, Haematococcus use the same protective and healing properties of natural astaxanthin (that enable wild salmon to make their heroic journey) to stay dormant for more than forty years without food or water until optimal growth conditions return!
It is important to note that nearly all studies showing astaxanthin's health-beneficial effects in humans were performed using the natural astaxanthin form found in Haematococcus.
Health Benefits of Natural AstaxanthinEasily Sails Past Blood Barriers
Being fat soluble, it effectively attaches to LDL and HDL cholesterols to travel in the bloodstream (while protecting them from oxidation) for improved bio-availability; and to cross even the blood-brain barrier and blood-retinal barrier; thus bring antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection to the brain, central nervous system and eyes.
"Double" Protects Cell Membrane
Unique molecular structure enables it to attach itself to both sides (fat/fat) of the cell membrane bilayer.
Not only will this superior positioning and orientation increase cell membrane flexibility and overall mechanical strength, it can also give extended cell protection—one of its polar end groups near the outer (fat/water) surface where free radical attack occurs first.
Inhibits Lipid Peroxidation
Its unique structure also allows it to be more biologically active, enabling it to trap and quench more free radicals—quicker and of a greater variety—than most other antioxidants.
By inhibiting the destruction of fatty acids (DHA and EPA) and proteins in cell membranes and mitochondrial membranes in cells caused by peroxidation of fats, production of inflammatory mediators and cytokines can be suppressed; therefore putting the brakes on all cellular inflammation damage.
Shows Super-Antioxidant Strength
Its unique structure also allows it to quenches free radicals by 'adding' them to its structure rather than sacrificing an electron.
This makes it more resistant and stable to chemical reactions; therefore far less likely to become inactive or a pro-oxidant (a mild free radical) after quenching a free radical. A super-tough ‘Pure Antioxidant’ soldier we've got here.
Boosts and stimulates the immune system by increasing the number of antibody-producing cells and the total number of T-cells.
More effective than lycopene and lutein in enhancing liver microsome detoxification activity (enzymes that metabolize drugs). Also reduces the number of new and abnormal cells in the liver.
Protects the eyes and skin against UVA and UVB light-induced oxidative stress.
Prevents the initiation of tumorigenesis in the tongue, oral cavity, large bowel, bladder, and breast.
Enhances the actions of Vitamins C and E in the body, and enhances the release of retinol (Vitamin A) from the liver when needed.
Ultimate Synergistic Protection
In its role of protecting the cell membrane from lipid peroxidation, natural astaxanthin is 550 times more effective than vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol); 40 times more potent than beta-carotene in quenching singlet oxygen free radicals.
When combined with lycopene, a significantly stronger oxidation resistance is noticed than when lycopene, lutein or astaxanthin is taken alone.
For more information about the health benefits associated with lycopene and astaxanthin, here are various clinical studies ... all condensed and available to you for easy navigation and reading.
Here's another new human study showing astaxanthin's healing prowess in brain health. (link)
Various increases in antioxidant power are also shown in combination with lipoic acid, resveratrol, vitamin C, ginkgo biloba and tocotrienols, among others.
A clear example of this synergistic combo is this complex multi-nutrient supplement which combines not only natural Astaxanthin with Lycopene, but with over 80 other highly effective bioactive ingredients to provide your body with the optimal amount of nutrients.
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