It might not seem like much, gently gracing the cellular structures of certain marine life and perking them up with that familiar pink hue seen in wild-caught seafood. But astaxanthin is one of the most powerful “superfoods” in existence, helping to mitigate oxidative stress, enhance immune response, quell damaging inflammation and even inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells.
A 2010 study published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism reveals these and other benefits associated with astaxanthin, which earlier studies have proven acts as a type of natural sunscreen in protecting the skin and body against ultraviolet A (UVA)-induced oxidative stress. But there is so much more that this amazing carotenoid can accomplish as far as your health is concerned.
Researchers from the Washington State University School of Food Science evaluated the effects of astaxanthin on a group of female participants, all of whom received either 2 or 8 milligrams of astaxanthin, or a placebo, for eight weeks. At the end of eight weeks, the team administered a tuberculin test on all the women.
What they discovered as part of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is that astaxanthin supplementation can help prevent DNA damage in the body, especially when taken at higher doses. Dietary astaxanthin was also associated with a reduction in plasma C-reactive protein concentration, high levels of which are typically indicative of atherosclerosis, or a thickening of arterial walls.
Additionally, the team found that astaxanthin can help naturally prevent the overproduction of lymphocytes, a condition known as lymphoproliferation, as well as boost the cytotoxic activity of natural killer cells in the body, which are a key component of innate immunity. And concerning the healthy production and function of lymphatic cells, astaxanthin was observed to provide substantial benefit.
“[D]ietary astaxanthin decreases a DNA damage biomarker and acute phase protein, and enhances immune response in young healthy females,” concluded the authors.
You can view the complete study abstract at SCIENCE.NaturalNews.com.
Astaxanthin also a powerful antioxidant that can prevent formation of ulcers
Astaxanthin’s benefits hardly stop here. A 2008 study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology demonstrated benefits with regards to taking astaxanthin for gastrointestinal health as well. Since astaxanthin is a known antioxidant that scavenges harmful free radicals from the body, researchers from the Plant Cell Biotechnology Department at the Central Food Technological Research Institute in India decided to investigate whether or not it might help prevent ulcers.
After administering varying amount of astaxanthin to test rats, they learned that this powerful superfood nutrient provides formidable protection for gastric mucin, which is believed to help protect the gastrointestinal tract from damage by acid, pathogenic microorganisms and various other invading substances. Astaxanthin was also observed to help significantly increase antioxidant enzyme levels in the intestines, including the all-important “master antioxidant,” glutathione.
“The increased antioxidant potencies such as free radical scavenging activity… reveal that H. pluvialis astaxanthin may protect gastric mucosal injury by antioxidative mechanism,” wrote the authors, noting that this form of astaxanthin works far better than anti-ulcer, proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs like omeprazole at protecting the GI tract against damage from ulcers
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