There’s this Hungarian proverb that states “Small things can add up to a big one” (Sok kicsi sokra megy), which explains that if you do small things from time to time, it will be accumulated and become humongous and important. No matter how simple and small things are, they can be a big help too in contributing much to the well-being of a person in later life.
Crustaceans like crabs or lobsters, shrimps and all those tiny, colorful species of the ocean, provide a full house of nutrients good for the body. Crabs and shrimps, when cook turn red, will appear so tantalizing and whet your appetite. But there’s more that meets the eye because the goodness of these tiny creatures is a source of healing to aching and tired body. When we eat, we always consider the benefits that we get from food aside from enjoying it. True enough that a good number of food is medicine.
Our Mother Earth has blessed us with abundance of things to be eaten, from the water, and the land to make us healthy and well and out of those fruits, grains, animals and seafoods are good sources of medicine for the human body. Although the human body has its own ability to produce disease-fighting elements, yet, it still needs minerals to boost the immune system and ward off diseases that hamper daily activities. The minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that one get from having those small, colorful, tasty seafood are contributing factors to a good health and are encapsulated in a supplement form available over the counter.
What is Astaxanthin Supplement?
- Astaxanthin is carotenoid belonging to the subclass of xanthophyll, which occurs naturally in certain algae and runs the color gamut from red to pink where also some of this can also be found in specific seafood types (1). It is what causes the reddish color in lobster, salmon, fish eggs, trout, crabs, and other seafood (2).
- Carotenoids contain beneficial mechanisms of action for cancers, cardiovascular disease, age-related macular degeneration, and cataract formation and numerous studies support the use of astaxanthin as a potent antioxidant that may be beneficial in decreasing the risks of certain chronic diseases (3).
- It is often referred to as ‘the king of carotenoids’ because of its reputation as one of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature (4).
- Astaxanthin is a xanthophyll carotenoid of predominantly marine origin, with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects demonstrated in both experimental and human studies (5).
The substance is of particular significance because it can never bring destructive oxidation in the body, making it perfect for health-related benefits and performance. Astaxanthin as an antioxidant helps reduce oxidation, which can be responsible for the vast majority of inflammation cases in our bodies and could cause insurmountable damage to our health and well-being like early aging, brain-related conditions like dementia, eye problems, heart disease, arthritis, and an array of cancers (6). Supplementing with astaxanthin helps your body avail its antioxidant properties that can help a long list of other health complications.
Astaxanthin Supplement Health Benefits
1. Boosts skin health
Astaxanthin supplement protects the skin against oxidation by preventing the aging process and reversing external signs of aging. Other visible advantages of taking astaxanthin may include promoting skin smoothness, and preventing your skin from inflammation (7). Adding astaxanthin to your skincare routine could visually reduce fine lines and wrinkles. According to clinical studies, astaxanthin can improve both dermal wrinkles caused by degeneration of elastic fibers and the collagen network (8). It does so by protecting the collagen network maintaining their collagen production capacity. Also, astaxanthin also helps lighten dark spots since it is a potent protection against ultraviolet radiation, assisting the skin in protecting itself against damage by the sun (9).
2. Controls blood sugar level
Diabetes is a disease that is marked by chronic high blood sugar levels and the bodies’ inability to properly manage blood glucose. Astaxanthin supplements help fight diabetes by lowering a variety of risk factors associated with the disease by improving the body’s ability to metabolize the sugar in the blood, helping to increase sensitively to insulin and keeping blood sugar levels in a normal range (10). According to studies, taking astaxanthin can even help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol as well (11). In addition, it will also help those with diabetes feel better because of its ability to reduce inflammation and fight free radicals (12).
3. Help prevent abnormal cells growth
Astaxanthin’s antioxidant properties provide the main source of the health claims and benefits of the supplement, especially in treating cancer*. In fact, there has been a lot of research on how astaxanthin might help to treat various cancers (13). Just like one study found short- and long-term benefits for the treatment of breast cancer, including reduced growth of breast cancer cells (14). In addition, astaxanthin is capable of decreasing proliferation of malignant cells. In one study, investigators noted a strong association between the presence of astaxanthin and the decreased proliferation of rat liver- and breast-cancer cells, and of mouse lung-cancer cells (15).
4. Helps with ulcer
Astaxanthin may protect us against ulcers. A recent study examined the effect of astaxanthin on gastric mucosal damage caused by alcohol, aspirin and hydrochloric acid. In the study, the researchers found astaxanthin significantly decreased the extent of the gastric ulcers and also decreased the level of thiobarbituric acid reactive substance, which is a key indicator that there was a reduction in tissue-damaging oxidative stress (16). The study stresses that these results suggest that astaxanthin has antioxidant properties and exerts a protective effect against ulcer formation in murine models (17).
5. Improves brain function
Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful natural antioxidants. In a comparative study, astaxanthin is 6,000 times more powerful than vitamin C, 100 times more powerful than vitamin E, and five times more powerful than ß-carotene (18). In addition, recent scientific findings demonstrate natural astaxanthin, as an extremely potent scavenger of reactive oxygen species (ROS), can help support cognitive function (19). In a human brain-health study, astaxanthin at 12 mg/day over 12 weeks showed efficacy for age-related decline in cognitive and psychomotor functions in subjects with age-related forgetfulness (20).
6. Maintains a healthy heart
Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that keeps the heart strong. A human clinical trial in Japan on astaxanthin’s ability to control blood lipids shows a very promising effect on LDL (bad cholesterol) oxidation lag time (21). In addition, two human studies appear to have promising results in the area of supporting healthy blood flow (22). Another study on adults with metabolic syndrome shows that astaxanthin supports healthy blood by promoting arterial health (23).
There are, however, other benefits of astaxanthin that are not included in the list. You may research more about this supplement if you deem it necessary. The use of astaxanthin as a supplement appears to be safe and well tolerated. No significant side effects have been reported (24). Mild side effects may include increased bowel movements and red stool color (25). High doses of astaxanthin may cause stomach pain (26). In addition, long-term safety of astaxanthin supplements in children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers is unknown, hence, it should be avoided until further studies are conducted to support its safety (27). To avoid problems, speak with your doctor before taking an astaxanthin supplement to fully understand the possible risks and benefits.