The new dietary supplement Astaxanthin benefits could be groundbreaking, and as more studies are conducted the initial evidence will start to take effect. Let's look at why Astaxanthin is such an exciting supplement...
What is Astaxanthin?
This relatively unknown supplement is becoming more and more famous because of it's powerful antioxidant properties. It's a carotenoid, which is the organic pigments found in organisms like bacteria and fungi, and is also a powerful antioxidant. Our bodies can only get carotenoid from food or supplementation, but as Dr. Mecola says: “It one of very few supplements I can recommend to virtually everyone” [source].
Astaxanthin benefits include healthy eyes and heart, helping with various diseases, UV-radiation protection, and improved athletic performance. Astaxanthin is also a xanthophyll so it doesn't convert to vitamin A, which means you cannot overdose on vitamin A by taking this supplement. Dr. Mercola says the supplement is “550 times stronger than vitamin E and 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C”.
Astaxanthin can be found naturally in shrimp, krill, crabs, lobsters and salmon, and is the reason all of these creatures have a pinky tone to them. Please note that farm-raised seafood doesn't contain high quantities of natural Astaxanthin and so synthetic Astaxanthin is often injected into the fish to give them their red/pink tones, and so it will not have the effects you are after.
Data on the benefits of Astaxanthin
So far most of the studies of Astaxanthin have been on experimental animals or clinical studies. A lot of the benefits said to help humans with various diseases and problems are based on scientific theory [source], and so far the studies have shown the following, taken from the Natural Medicine Journal [source]:
Antioxidant: there is evidence to suggest it has antioxidant activity, but additional research is needed.
Carpal tunnel syndrome: Initial research suggests that Astaxanthin is part of a multi-ingredient antioxidant supplement that can reduce pain and the duration of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Dyspepsia: There is, so far, limited evidence of the benefits of Astaxanthin on Dyspepsia.
High cholesterol: High-quality evidence associated with taking Astaxanthin to reduce cholesterol is lacking.
Macular degeneration: Preliminary research suggests that Astaxanthin, as part of a multi-ingredient supplement, may help macular degeneration. However, more studies are needed that focus on Astaxanthin alone.
Male infertility: There is limited evidence to suggest Astaxanthin can help male infertility.
Menopausal symptoms: In preliminary research, a combination product with Astaxanthin was found to reduce climacteric symptoms in women with menopause.
Muscle soreness: Evidence in this area is lacking.
Rheumatoid arthritis: After preliminary research, it was found that Astaxanthin may help to alleviate pain and improve the ability to perform daily activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Skin conditions: According to preliminary research, Astaxanthin may help reduce fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin elasticity and moisture content.
Transplants: There is an ongoing study being conducted assessing the effects of Astaxanthin on vascular structure, oxidative stress, and inflammation in renal transplant patients.
While this new supplement more extensive research into Astaxanthin's benefits, there is certainly a buzz around the discoveries, and the potential benefits of this supplement could be incredible.