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Astaxanthin: The Key to a New You

Thursday, 29 August 2019 by

shutterstock_1405527302 The Microalgae-Sourced Carotenoid That Delivers Broad Spectrum Antiaging Benefits

Pronounced “as-ta-ZAN-thin,” this word can be a mouthful at first. Even more of a mouthful is astaxanthin’s primary natural source, Haematococcus pluvialis, the microalgae that produces it as a protective antioxidant in response to light or other environmental stressors. Bright red in colour, this antioxidant bioaccumulates in organisms that eat it, and it is responsible for the pink to reddish hue of krill, shrimp, salmon, and even flamingos.

Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant, with studies showing it provides significantly greater antioxidant protection than the carotenoids beta carotene, lycopene, and lutein as well as alpha-tocopherol, and thus it is considered one of the best agents for protecting cellular membranes.[1],[2],[3] Natural astaxanthin has been shown to be 20 times more potent than synthetic astaxanthin in eliminating free radicals.[4] Astaxanthin is not produced by mammals, so it must be obtained from the diet.[5]

Introduction

There is a simple arithmetic to human life that holds deep insights into health and disease—the rate of our cell generation minus the rate of our cell loss determines the growth or degeneration of a tissue.

Recent evidence indicates that the interplay between our mitochondria, mitophagy (the removal of impaired mitochondria by a specialised version of the autophagy pathway by delivering mitochondria to the lysosomes for degradation) and autophagy links aging to health or disease.[1]

I think we all accept that changes in insulin levels over time predispose people to the development of type II diabetes and that this is often accompanied by the central adiposity that distinguishes the metabolic syndrome morphology we have come to look for.

This study, published in PLOS One this year (2010), suggests that besides these clinical indications another slightly less obvious change to body mass affects insulin resistance and increases risk of diabetes.[1]

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