and highly effective Free Radical Scavenger – By Pat Reeves
Astaxanthin is a bright red pigment which is classified as a potent carotenoid. Related to other carotenoids such as lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin, it has many metabolic, anti-oxidant and physiological functions. It is also lipophilic (lipid-soluble). When we consider the use of antioxidants, we tend to think about Vitamin C, E, Resveratrol, Green tea (ECGC), Co-enzyme Q10 etc.
However, astaxanthin is quickly gaining a reputation as the most powerful antioxidant we can lay our hands on!
To clarify… when we talk about antioxidants, we really should be calling them anti-free radicals, because that is what antioxidants really do – they halt the harmful effects of free radicals. These are toxic molecules that inflict damage to our DNA. The fact is free radicals are responsible for creating many medical conditions such as inflammation, heart disease, cancer and dementia. Free radicals also cause fatigue, premature aging and compromised vision.
I am presently having enormous success using this pink-coloured compound with my patients.
Scientists long ago discovered that a class of naturally occurring pigments called carotenoids held powerful antioxidant properties that are crucial for our health. Carotenoids are the compounds in your foods that provide you with that vibrant cornucopia of colour – from green grasses to red beets, to the spectacular yellows and oranges of your bell peppers.
There are more than seven hundred naturally occurring carotenoids, but most people are familiar with only a few. Right now, you probably have about ten different carotenoids circulating through your bloodstream. The most well-known of these is beta carotene.
Only recently has astaxanthin jumped to the front of the line in terms of its status as a ‘super-nutrient’, becoming the focus of a large and growing number of peer-reviewed scientific studies.
Astaxanthin is far more potent than beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, (part of the Vitamin E complex), lycopene and lutein, other members of its chemical family. It exhibits very strong free radical scavenging activity and protects your cells, organs and body tissues from oxidative damage.
Astaxanthin’s unique ‘anti-oxidative artillery’ provides for some impressive health benefits including improving cardiovascular health, stabilising blood sugar, boosting your immune system, fighting cancer, reducing inflammation, improving eye health -and even helping protect from sunburn.
There are many properties that make this carotenoid unique:
- Astaxanthin is by far the most powerful carotenoid anti-oxidant when it comes to free radical scavenging: Astaxanthin is sixty-five times more powerful than vitamin C, fifty-four times more powerful than beta-carotene, and fourteen times more powerful than vitamin E.
- Astaxanthin is far more effective than other carotenoids at singlet oxidation quenching – which is a particular type of oxidation. The damaging effects of sunlight and various organic materials are caused by this less-stable form of oxygen. Astaxanthin is hundreds of times more powerful than Vitamin E and at least eleven times more powerful than beta-carotene at neutralising singlet oxygen.
- Astaxanthin crosses the blood brain barrier – whereas beta carotene and lycopene do not, this brings antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection to your eyes, brain and central nervous system and reduces your risk for cataracts, macular degeneration, blindness, dementia and Alzheimers disease.
- Astaxanthin is soluble in lipids, so it incorporates optimally into cell membranes.
- It’s a potent UVB absorber and reduces DNA damage.
- It’s a powerful natural anti-inflammatory.
I have found no adverse reactions for anyone taking astaxanthin.