Informative summaries of Astaxanthin literature from a wide variety of Astaxanthin studies and research.
Astaxanthin has significant uses in the nutraceutical, cosmetic, and feed industries. The richest source of astaxanthin can be found in the haematococcus pluvialis microalgae which is now cultivated on an industrial scale. As a potent antioxidant, astaxanthin has potential to target a range of health conditions. This article covers the antioxidant, UV-light protection, anti-inflammatory and other properties of astaxanthin and its role in human health issues. The research reviewed supports the assumption that protecting body tissues from oxidative damage with daily supplementation of natural astaxanthin is a beneficial strategy in maintaining health.
Astaxanthin has several essential biological functions including protection against oxidation of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids; protection against UV light affects; immune response; pigmentation; communication; reproductive behavior and improved reproduction. Closely related to other well known carotenoids such as beta- carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein,thus they share many of the metabolic and physiological functions attributed to carotenoids.
by the degradation of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Astaxanthin has shown to be very good at protecting membranous phospholipids and other lipids against peroxidation.
The oxidation of LDL (the 'bad' cholesterol) is believed to contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Therefore it may be possible to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis by antioxidant supplementation such as astaxanthin. With growing data to support it, dietary antioxidants might be able to protect from cardiovascular disease. In a human study with dietary astaxanthin of 3.6mg per day for 2 weeks, subjects experience a result oxidation of LDL-cholesterol. Astaxanthin can also be beneficial by modifying levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol and reducing inflammation associated with the development of coronary heart disease.
In the mitochondria, multiple oxidative chain reactions generate the energy needed by the cell but produce large amounts of free radicals that need to be neutralised to maintain proper mitochondrial function. Aging is largely attributed to the cumulative oxidative damage to mitochondria which astaxanthin has been shown to slow down. With it's ability to protect the inner and outer part of the cell, astaxanthin offers a cell protect unlike many common antioxidants. When it comes to cell-cell communication and regulating gene expression, antioxidants play an important role with cell-gap junction communication, which may be a reason for astaxanthin's anti-cancer attributes.
Astaxanthin is still in its early days of cancer testing, however it has shown extremely positive results in mammals. Rats supplemented with astaxanthin and fed carcinogen showed significantly lower incidence of cancerous growths in their mouths compared to the control. Secondly, those rats supplemented with astaxanthin experienced a significant decrease in the occurrence of induced colon cancer, compared with the rats that were only fed a carcinogen. Induced mammary cancer growth was reduced by more than 50% compared to B-carotene and the enzyme responsible for prostate growth was shown to be inhibited by astaxanthin.
Immune cells rely profoundly on cell to cell communications via cell membrane receptors, which is why they can be very sensitive to membrane damage from free radicals and oxidative stress. In many mammal tests, astaxanthin has significantly influenced immune function by enhancing in vitro antibody production. Studies on human blood cells have shown an improvement by astaxanthin of immunoglobulin production in response to T-dependent stimuli.
Our nervous system is particularly prone to oxidative damage. Containing both unsaturated fats and iron, with the metabolic aerobic activity, the nervous system tissue susceptible to oxidative damage. Mounting evidence shows oxidative stress is a cause of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s and diets high in antioxidants such as astaxanthin offer the chance to reduce the potential risk. A study done in rats showed astaxanthin could cross the blood-brain barrier and extend its free radical fighting abilities to the brain which has sparked further testing in humans with neurodegenerative diseases.
From the current literature we can conclude that Haematococcus astaxanthin might be an easy and positive approach to managing a range of health concerns. This conclusion is supported by astaxanthin's strong antioxidant activity and its role in reducing inflammation.
You can read the full paper here- Haematococcus astaxanthin: applications for human health and Nutrition