There’s a new antioxidant on the block and its name is Astaxanthin. Although astaxanthin is a carotenoid, you won’t find it in carrots, so you will have to search out specific superfoods including shrimp, lobster, algae, yeast, and salmon. It’s the compound that gives wild salmon its deep, red hue, which is often lacking from farmed salmon. Taking this naturally powerful antioxidant regularly has been found to relieve muscle stiffness, improve mental performance, boost energy levels, maintain vision and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in the skin. It’s no surprise that a compound found in one of the most popular superfoods on the planet: salmon, is good for our health. Here is everything you need to know about this powerful antioxidant. It truly blows blueberries out of the water!
Astaxanthin & Sustainability
So where does astaxanthin come from? Astaxanthin is most commonly found in marine life including salmon, krill and microalgae, although it is also possible to extract astaxathin from petrochemicals, the latter producing a “synthetic” astaxanthin supplement. Astaxanthin extracted from microalgae is considered much more desirable, as it is identical to what you find in krill but doesn’t damage the environment.
One of the most sustainable sources of astaxanthin is microalgae and 1 kilogram contains around 0.06% astaxathin - but don’t be fooled! Algae is known to contain a far higher concentration of astaxanthin than fish (for a quick comparison, 1 kilogram of salmon provides only 21 mg of the powerful antioxidant - so 0.000021%) and even less when farmed in outdoor open ponds or indoor photobioreactor cultivation systems. When choosing an astaxanthin supplement, it’s important to go with a company that sources it from a sustainable source, both for your personal health and the health of the planet.
When it comes to choosing an astaxanthin supplement, it’s important to make sure that the supplement does in fact derive its astaxanthin from a natural source like algae - there are many cheaper products on the market that derive their astaxanthin from petrochemicals, creating a “synthetic” astaxanthin supplement. These synthetic forms of astaxanthin have been proven to be 20-30 times less potent than their natural, algae derived counterparts. So you would have to take 20-30 times more of a synthetic astaxanthin supplement in order to get the same result of a natural one (3). You really are better off buying an astaxanthin supplement from a natural source, even if it initially appears to be a bit more expensive. The additional cost will be more than compensated for by higher potency providing greater health benefits.
Astaxanthin vs. Krill Oil
There are several omega 3 supplements on the market that contain krill-derived astaxanthin. We would advise against buying these supplements due to the negative effect mass krill fishing is having on the environment. An investigation by Greenpeace UK discovered that industrial krill fishing is draining the Antarctic krill supply putting the lives of Antarctic penguins, whales and seals in danger. By the end of the century some of these populations are estimated to drop by a third if krill fishing continues at its current rate. Major UK high street retailers including Holland and Barrett, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s have removed krill oil from their shelves to protest against companies who are sadly putting Antarctic animals in danger (2).
Your best choice is to go with an omega 3 supplement made from fish sourced from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) approved fisheries, as these are both responsible and sustainable. It’s also crucial to make sure that if your supplement contains “added” astaxanthin that it comes from a high quality algae and not krill.
Top 7 Sustainable Astaxanthin Benefits
1. Antioxidant Properties
Astaxanthin is considered to be one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet. Have you ever heard the term “eat the rainbow”? The chemicals in fruits and vegetables that give them their vibrant colours are also antioxidants. The powerful compounds that fight ageing, reduce oxidation in the body and fight free-radicals which in large amounts can damage your DNA and lead to chronic illnesses. You can find antioxidants in colourful superfoods like dark-colored berries, leafy greens and green tea, however; astaxanthin seems to take the cake in potency as an antioxidant. It was found that astaxanthin is 550 times more effective as an antioxidant than green tea (4) as well as 550 times more effective than vitamin E. So clearly astaxanthin is a key component of the body’s antioxidant defense systems making dietary intake especially important to protect the skin against pollution and sun damage. It was also found that astaxanthin is 6,000 times more effective in boosting the immune system than vitamin C (5). That really makes a huge difference! A high-quality, supplement with algae-derived astaxanthin would be a great addition to your vitamin routine to provide a range of benefits that support good general health.
2. Muscle Recovery
We all know that exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health, however; all to often you can end up feeling stiff and sore after a gym session, a long walk in the countryside, or even a weekend gardening. As muscle stiffness and soreness is caused by an excess of free radicals, the antioxidant effects of astaxanthin provide a great way to get the benefits of a workout, without the negatives. One of the best benefits of astaxanthin for longevity and endurance during workouts is that it reduces oxidative stress in the body, including your muscles. Taking an astaxanthin supplement before your workout can benefit both your performance and your recovery. One study showed that daily dosing of astaxanthin in athletes reduced the build up of lactic acid in the muscles after high intensity exercise resulting in a quicker recovery time and better overall endurance (6). Daily dosing of astaxanthin in combination with rest, stretching and suitable protein intake could help optimise muscle performance and recovery.
3. Skin and Eye Health
Another great benefit of taking astaxanthin daily is skin and eye health. Everyone wants to look younger, longer and though topical treatments may seem like a quick and easy solution, truly beautiful, young-looking skin starts from within. It’s been found that when used as a daily supplement, astaxanthin can act as a marvelous support for maintaining smooth, young-looking skin. A recent study found that long-term supplementation of astaxanthin had a protective effect on the skin, shielding it from environmental damage as well as inhibit the formation of wrinkles (7). Making astaxanthin a part of your daily dietary routine could be the best thing you’ve ever done to support your skin care and fight the signs of ageing. Another great anti-ageing benefit that astaxanthin offers is maintaining eye health. Whether the reason behind your eye strain is age-related or tech-related, astaxanthin (when taken over a period of 4 weeks) has been shown to lessen symptoms of eye fatigue (8). What’s more is that you get multiple benefits from this powerful supplement, not just smooth skin and healthy, clear eyes.
4. Heart Health Maintenance
Everyone seems to be looking for ways to support their cardiovascular health these days. You’ve heard that eating a balanced diet and daily exercise is key to keeping our tickers healthy and while this is true, there is another thing you can do to keep your heart in good shape well into old age. Daily supplementation of astaxanthin has been found to lower oxidative stress and in turn, keep our arteries clear and flexible (9).
5. Boosts Male Fertility
Infertility is unfortunately a reality many couples have to face. Some of the most common reasons why a man might experience infertility could be linked to issues like testicular trauma, obesity, genetic issues and hormonal imbalances. A study from 2011 found that oxidative stress is a big culprit in male fertility issues (15), leading us to the solution… the ultimate oxidative stress diminisher: astaxanthin. A recent study aimed to find out what the effect of therapeutic dosing of astaxanthin had on male fertility. In the study, a daily dose of 16 mg of astaxanthin was administered to a group of 30 men who had been diagnosed with infertility. After 3 months, the men taking the astaxanthin supplement had higher sperm velocity and conception rates than the group that took the placebo (16).
6. Blood Sugar Control
Blood sugar issues are becoming more and more prevalent in the UK. Improper diet, stress and general lifestyle habits can contribute to unstable blood sugar which can result in fatigue, dizziness, mood swings blurred vision and sugar cravings. This is why, when it comes to blood sugar imbalance, prevention is key. Upping your fibre can help as can, you guessed it, astaxanthin! Oxidative stress is a huge factor in poor blood sugar regulation and astaxanthin help keeps blood sugar steady. A 2018 study found that daily doses of astaxanthin reduced blood glucose toxicity in study participants with high blood sugar (10). Anyone who has an intolerance to sugar or is experiencing symptoms of blood sugar imbalance could benefit from daily astaxanthin supplementation.
7. Reduces Cognitive Decline
As we get older, our brains slow down and while this is a natural part of ageing, cognitive decline can be reduced through good nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and targeted supplements. A good quality fish oil supplement with added astaxanthin is a must-have to support the functions of the brain and nervous system. During a recent trial, it was found that daily dosing of astaxanthin over a period of 12 weeks can boost cognitive performance in older adults experiencing cognitive decline (11). If you are experiencing forgetfulness, brain fog, anxiety or low mood a high-grade astaxanthin supplement could be just the support you need for your mental health. Look for a fish oil with extra astaxanthin added in order to get both your Omega 3s in as well as the anti-ageing, antioxidant properties of this powerful carotenoid. H3: Recommended Dosing of Astaxanthin You might be wondering, how much astaxanthin should I be taking each day? Studies have shown that, if you’re looking to maintain general good health, 2 mg per day is a great place to start. Doses ranging from 2 mg to 40 mg per day have been tested as being safe when taken over a period of 12 weeks (12). Astaxanthin can be taken at any time of day. It is a good idea to have most r supplements with meals to avoid stomach upsets.
The Restored’s Triple Strength Omega 3
A great way to get both your astaxanthin AND your omega 3 in is to take a fish oil supplement with added sustainable astaxanthin. The Restored’s Triple Strength Omega 3 contains 2.2 mg of algae-derived astaxanthin per dose. It’s a perfect daily maintenance dose for those looking to enjoy the wide range of benefits provided by astaxanthin.
Our Omega 3 softgels include sustainable Peruvian anchovies sourced from WWF approved fisheries. Our supplement is certified heavy metal and mercury free and contains the ideal ratio of EPA:DHA. The standard recommended dosage of our h Omega 3 is two 1000mg soft gels daily with a meal.
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