WHAT IS ASTAXANTHIN?
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid and phytonutrient (health boosting, plant based chemical compounds which are not classed as essential nutrients) that is mainly found in red fish such as crab, shrimp and salmon. In this article I will be providing a full breakdown of astaxanthin and its potential health benefits.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF ASTAXANTHIN?
Astaxanthin was discovered by the British chemist Basil Weedon in 1970 along with a selection of other carotenoids.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF ASTAXANTHIN?
Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant which can keep your body’s cells safe from free radicals (dangerous by-products that get released into your cells during oxygen based reactions). Provisional studies suggest that it may also have a long list of additional health benefits in humans. However, more research is required before these can be confirmed. These possible health benefits of astaxanthin are listed below:
– Possibly acting as an anti-inflammatory (a substance that reduces inflammation in the body’s cells).
– Possibly boosting the immune system.
– Possibly enhancing reproductive health.
– Possibly increasing endurance and stamina amongst athletes (by boosting your mitochondria and reducing the buildup of lactic acid during exercise).
– Possibly preventing Alzheimer’s disease (a mental disorder which causes memory problems, speech problems and thought problems).
– Possibly preventing cancer.
– Possibly preventing gum disease.
– Possibly preventing heart disease.
– Possibly preventing Parkinson’s disease (a mental disorder that causes mobility problems and speech problems).
– Possibly preventing the common cold and the flu.
– Possibly protecting your eyes from cataracts (clouding on the lenses of the eyes), glaucoma (a disease that damages your optic nerve and reduces vision) and macular edema (a condition where fluid protein collects under the macula of the eye and causes it to thicken and swell).
– Possibly protecting your kidneys from damage.
– Possibly protecting your skin cells from ultraviolet (UV) damage.
– Possibly reducing high blood pressure.
– Possibly relieving indigestion.
– Possibly treating diabetes (by stabilising blood glucose levels).
HOW MUCH ASTAXANTHIN DO YOU NEED?
Astaxanthin is not classed as an essential nutrient so no official recommended daily allowance (RDA) has been established. However, some sources recommend consuming 4 milligrams (mg) of this phytonutrient each day for optimal health.
WHICH FOODS CONTAIN ASTAXANTHIN?
Red fish such as crab, crawfish, lobster, trout, salmon and shrimp are a very good source of astaxanthin. It can also be found in red fruits and vegetables such as carrots and red peppers. Finally, it can be sourced from krill oil.
There is currently very little information available on the exact amount of astaxanthin in specific foods but the table below highlights the amounts of this phytonutrient in farmed salmon, red phaffia yeast and wild salmon:
|FOOD||MG OF ASTAXANTHIN PER 100 GRAMS (G)|
|Red Phaffia Yeast||500|
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CONSUMING TOO MUCH ASTAXANTHIN?
Currently there are no reported overdose symptoms associated with astaxanthin.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF FAILING TO CONSUME ENOUGH ASTAXANTHIN?
Astaxanthin is not classed as an essential nutrient so no deficiency symptoms have been established.
Astaxanthin has a great deal of potential when it comes to human health. Not only is it a very powerful antioxidant but it may also boost your overall health and protect your body from damage and disease. Whilst there is still a lot to learn about how far reaching these benefits are in humans, it is definitely worthwhile adding red fish, fruits and vegetables to your diet if you do not eat them already. These foods will supply you with plenty of astaxanthin whilst red fish are also a great source of omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) and red fruits and vegetables are a brilliant source of many vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Astaxanthin (Zest For Life)
Astaxanthin – A More Powerful Eye Antioxidant (Mercola.com)
Foods Containing Astaxanthin (eHow)
List of Phytochemicals in Food (Wikipedia)
The Benefits of Astaxanthin – Nature’s Strongest Antioxidant (Antioxidants For Health And Longevity)