In The Pink With ASTAXANTHIN
The Most Powerful Antioxidant Known
• Highly Effective Anti-Inflammatory
• Protects The Eyes And Brain
• Improves Skin Appearance
• Increases Energy And Endurance
Look Inside And Find Out Why Flamingos Are Pink….
In one interesting study, people suffering from tennis elbow (tendonitis) were given Natural Astaxanthin. With this condition, grip strength can be severely compromised. After only eight weeks of daily supplementation, the treatment group’s grip strength improved by 93 percent!
Astaxanthin – as•ta•ZAN•thin – within the next few years, this word will be as familiar to you as antioxidant. And, Natural Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant.1
Besides its healing potential as an antioxidant, Natural Astaxanthin has additional benefits. One of these is its action as an anti-inflammatory. Other benefits include its capacity to protect the eyes and brain, bring improved performance to athletes, to condition the skin, and to help couples to become pregnant.
1 The words Natural Astaxanthin are capitalized to differentiate microalgal-derived astaxanthin from synthetic astaxanthin and astaxanthin grown on yeast, both of which are inferior food forms for humans.
Our Colorful World
We live in a colorful world. All the colors around us – feathers, flowers, fruits, and fish – come from pigments, just as paint does. Astaxanthin is a red pigment. But it isn’t the red pigment of tomatoes. (That’s lycopene.) Astaxanthin gives the shades of red we see in flamingo feathers as well as in marine life like shrimp, lobster, and salmon. In the food chain, Natural Astaxanthin is delivered through microalgae, called Haematococcus pluvialis (at left).
In addition to their coloring property, natural pigments are involved in various biological functions. At commercial fish and crustacean farms, astaxanthin is added to feeds not only to give the animals their characteristic pinkish colors but also to deliver a supplement essential to the animals’ growth and survival.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid. Carotenoids are fat-soluble pigments found mainly in plants and algae. Currently, some 600 different carotenoids have been identified. The best known of these is beta-carotene. In the human body, one biological function of beta-carotene is as the precursor to vitamin A. Carrots are famously rich in this substance. (This is the reason that eating carrots improves night vision.) However, it is the small difference between the molecules of beta-carotene and
astaxanthin that gives astaxanthin its impressive array of healing properties.
Natural Astaxanthin may be the best choice we can make when selecting an antioxidant supplement. Derived from microalgae, Natural Astaxanthin has dual antioxidant power. It can quench two notorious oxidizing agents: the well-known free radical (which launches chain reactions, damaging cells and producing more free radicals), and a highly reactive form of oxygen called singlet oxygen. This amazing power is demonstrated by two comparison studies. One measures Natural Astaxanthin’s singlet oxygen quenching power, and the second, it’s ability to eliminate free radicals.
In the first study, the singlet oxygen quenching potential of four caro-tenoids was pitted against the alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E. Natural Astaxanthin was by far the strongest, registering 550 times the antioxidant strength of vitamin E! (N. Shimdzu, et al, 1996)
The second study compared the free radical scavenging capacity of Natural Astaxanthin with beta-carotene, pine bark extract (as Pycno-genol“), vitamins E and C, and several others, including synthetic astaxanthin. In this experiment, conducted at Creighton University, Natural Astaxanthin (as Bio- Astin“ from Cyano- tech Corporation) ranged from 14 times to over 60 times stronger than any of the other antioxidants. (Bagchi 2001)
Incidentally, the measurement of antioxidant activity is highly dependent on the system used. A case in point is ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). This is a test tube analysis that measures the total antioxidant power of foods and other chemical substances. ORAC is growing in popularity, so why isn’t an ORAC analysis given for Natural Astaxanthin? According to the company who owns ORAC (Brunswick Labs), ORAC does not accurately measure carotenoid antioxidant activity.
In The Pink With Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin is the name of a powerful antioxidant derived from a red pigment. It is the pigment that gives flamingoes their flamboyant color.
Its chief property is the rare capacity to quell a very dangerous form of oxygen called singlet oxygen.
It has been shown to be 14-60x more effective in general than a range of other well-known antioxidants
Derived from microalgae, astaxanthin has been challenged in several arenas and has shown itself to be a superior antioxidant in protecting the eyes from light-induced damage (cataracts and macular degeneration) and getting to the origins of systemic inflammation.
(Research was conducted using BioAstin by Cyanotech.)
Astaxanthin Antioxidants, Disease, & You
Footnotes 2 & 3
2 These internal antioxidants include superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase.
3 NSAIDS is the acronym for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Keep Your Eye On This!
Tragically, there are nearly 50 million cases of blindness worldwide while far more people become visually impaired. (Jacques 1999). Two of the leading causes of blindness and visual impairment are age-related cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It appears that both of these conditions are the result of oxidative stress, originating from a lifetime of light-induced oxidation.
Briefly, a cataract is caused when the proteins in the lens of the eye clump together, resulting in cloudiness, and potentially leading to blindness. Oxidative stress causes the protein damage. Likewise, oxidation damages the enzymes which would normally remove the damaged proteins. Cataract is most commonly related to aging.
Regarding AMD, the retina is the “screen” of the eye where signals are sent to the brain. The macula is in the center of the retina. This area contains a high density of photoreceptor cells, giving the eye its highest visual acuity. AMD refers to the slow degradation of the macula, destroying the photoreceptors, and ultimately resulting in blindness. Free radical damage to fatty acids in the retina is thought to be the cause of this condition. (Gerster 1991) There is no treatment at this time.
There is abundant evidence that certain carotenoids can help protect both the lens and retina from oxidative damage. (Snodderly 1995) Population studies have shown that a diet high in carotenoids, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin (spinach, kale, and other leafy greens), is related to a reduced risk for both cataract and AMD. (Seddon, et al., 1994; Lyle, et al., 1999)
Although astaxanthin is not normally found in the eye, research indicates that Natural Astaxanthin may provide the absolute best supplemental protection available for the eyes. Mark Tso, PhD, has shown that astaxanthin can cross the blood-brain barrier. When he fed it to rats, he found it in their eyes. He then demonstrated that it protects the eyes from light-induced damage, photoreceptor cell damage, damage to nerve bundles (called ganglions), nerve damage, and inflammatory damage. (Tso, et al., US Patent No. 5,527533, 1996) Tso showed that astaxanthin is also effective in ameliorating retinal damage. (Tso & Lam, 1996)
Since Dr. Tso’s groundbreaking work, other scientists have found that Natural Astaxanthin has further benefits for the eyes. Nagaki, et al. (2002) found that Natural Astaxanthin (as Asta Real“ from Fuji Chemical Industry) helps ward off eye fatigue in people using computer screens for extended periods. (Seven different studies have been completed in this area.)
Sawaki, et al. (2002) showed that people taking Natural Astaxanthin (as Asta Real“) had improved visual acuity when playing handball. Several visual parameters were measured. The largest improvement was seen in depth perception which improved by an astounding 46 percent!
Put Out The Fire!
In today’s aging population, the reality of systemic inflammation is widespread. It has been called both “Silent Inflammation” and “inflammaging”. Research indicates that this systemic inflammation is at the root of a myriad of life threatening diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. One excellent marker for the presence of inflammation is C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in the blood.4
In a recent double blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, Dr. Gene Spiller found that subjects given Natural Astaxanthin (as BioAstin“) showed CRP levels reduced by over 20 percent at the end of eight weeks. The placebo group’s levels actually increased. (Spiller, et al. 2006)
Natural Astaxanthin is a safe, natural anti-inflammatory, unique among its competitors. In the first place, it is not a drug but a natural substance. Secondly, most NSAIDS work through a single pathway in an intense manner that often leads to unwanted side effects. Natural Astaxanthin uses multiple pathways to combat inflammation throughout the entire body. It does not work as quickly as prescription medications. Reports show 2-4 weeks before the effects take place. On the other hand, Natural Astaxanthin has no reported side effects and it has benefits that ordinary anti-inflammatory products simply do not have.
Cyanotech Corporation, a major producer of Natural Astaxanthin (as BioAstin“), has funded several studies focusing on inflammation. These studies were conducted through independent laboratories under strict placebo-controlled, double blind conditions. Natural Astaxanthin was found to reduce pain and increase mobility in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. It has also been shown to reduce joint and muscle pain after exercise. In one interesting study, people with tennis elbow (tendonitis) were given Natural Astaxanthin. With this condition, grip strength can be severely compromised. After only 8 weeks of daily supplementation, the treatment group’s grip strength improved by 93 percent!
Put Out The Fire!
4 In 2003, a panel of experts convened by the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended use of the inexpensive CRP (C-reactive protein) blood test for assessing heart disease risk.
Athletics, Beauty & Conception…
What Do They Have In Common?
If you guessed Natural Astaxanthin as the answer to this A, B, C, you guessed correctly!
Natural Astaxathin is a secret weapon for athletes. In a six month double-blind study in Sweden, healthy young men taking 4 mg daily of Natural Astaxanthin (as AstaCarox“ by AstaCarotene) demonstrated significant improvement in strength and endurance compared with controls. After three months, the Natural Astaxanthin group increased the number of deep knee bends they could complete by 62 percent! (The control group increased by only 22 percent.)
The huskies who run the Alaskan Iditerod are another group whose performance is enhanced by Natural Astaxanthin. Dr. Arleigh Reynolds, sled dog nutritionist and racer, says, “Natural Astaxanthin is 50 – 100 times better as an antioxidant for dogs than Vitamin E. It shows measurable improvement in blood parameters and visibly improves the dogs’ performance.”
Man’s best friend and man himself owe this breakthrough to some of the world’s finest athletes: salmon. This famous fish swims up raging rivers for as long as seven days. Scientists believe it is the very high amount of astaxanthin in salmon muscle that gives it such extraordinary endurance.
Another bonus for outdoor athletes is sunburn protection. An amazing two week study showed that Natural Astaxanthin (as BioAstin“, 4 mg/d) can protect the skin from UV radiation by increasing the amount of exposure time before the skin burns. (Independent Consumer Research Company, 2001) Taking Natural Astaxanthin protects skin and eyes from the damaging effects of the sun while bringing all its healthful benefits.
Natural Astaxanthin is a systemic antioxidant. The same antioxidant property that makes it an internal sunscreen also makes it an internal beauty supplement. By now, most women know that sun damage and even internal free radical damage can affect skin quality, leading to an aged appearance of the skin. In two separate studies, Natural Astaxanthin
demonstrated its ability to improve skin from the inside.
In the first study, participants took a combination of Natural Astaxanthin and tocotrienols (a vitamin E derivative). Measurable differences began to appear within two weeks. By the fourth week, individuals with dry skin had increased moisture levels and a reduction of fine wrinkles and pimples. Overall, improved elasticity, reduced swelling under the eyes, and better skin texture were reported. None of this happened in the placebo group. (Yamashita 2002)
In the second study, researchers combined Natural Astaxanthin with omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) and marine glycosaminoglycans.5 In this Canadian study, significant improvements were measured in skin hydration and elasticity. Improvements of the skin’s appearance, including tone, reduction of fine lines and sallowness, were also noted. Although some ingredients differed in the two studies, Natural Astaxanthin was the common denominator. Results were so convincing that leading companies worldwide are now using Natural Astaxanthin in their antioxidant skin care formulas.
Lastly, studies show successful conception due to Natural Astaxanthin. In Sweden during the 1990s, a number of studies demonstrated that farm animals fed Natural Astaxanthin had higher conception rates and healthier birth statistics than animals that were not supplemented. The next logical step was to test the supplement in human couples.
The Swedish company supplied Natural Astaxanthin (as AstaCarox“) to ten couples who could not conceive (poor sperm quality). After three months of 16 mg of Natural Astaxanthin per day, five of the ten couples had succeeded in conceiving. (Comhaire, et al. 2003; Similarly by Garem, et al. in 2002.) Taking Natural Astaxanthin is certainly the first technique to try for couples having the same difficulty. Imagine the stress and expense that could be saved by simply trying this easy solution first.
Athletics, Beauty & Conception…
What Do They Have In Common?
5 Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are the building blocks of cartilage and joint fluid.
Antioxidants, Disease, & You
In our bodies, oxidation is a normal chemical process that includes energy production (metabolism). However, oxidative stress occurs when the body is overwhelmed by more oxidation than it can neutralize with its own internally produced antioxidants.2 Oxidation can damage our tissues, cells, and even our DNA. This damage can occur from air pollution, exposure to chemicals, exposure to UV light, and poor nutrition. (Poor nutrition includes junk food, alcohol, sub-standard fats, etc.)
Unfortunately, oxidation results in the formation of more oxidizing agents. Many diseases and degenerative processes are associated with oxidation. These include multiple and single organ conditions. (Cross, et al. 1987)
Multiple organ conditions include:
• aging (including premature aging disorders)
• radiation injury
• alcohol damage
• inflammatory-immune injuries
• reactions to drugs and toxins
• iron overload
In the following list, we give just one example of many conditions associated with each organ:
• brain – senile dementia
• red blood cells – lead poisoning
• lungs – cigarette smoke effects
• cardiovascular system (heart) – clogged arteries
• kidney – heavy metal toxicity
• joints – rheumatoid arthritis
• GI tract – lesions from NSAIDS3
• skin – sunburn
• eyes – cataract
Scientifically, it has become quite clear that our health depends in large part on controlling oxidative stress. This is where the power of antioxidant supplementation enters the picture. Such supplements reinforce the body and support its efforts to combat oxidative stress.
Protect Your Brain With Natural Astaxanthin
Throughout this newsletter, we emphasize the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Natural Astaxanthin. There is substantial evidence that most diseases associated with the aging brain are the result of oxidation and/or inflammation. Some of these diseases are Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and age-related senility as well as other forms of age-related dementia.
The effectiveness of Natural Astaxanthin is based on its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. This is essential if the brain and central nervous system are to be protected. Many antioxidants, including carotenoids that are related to astaxanthin, do not have this property.
As mentioned earlier, Mark Tso, PhD, University of Illinois, was the first scientist to prove that astaxanthin crosses this barrier. Following his discovery, other researchers have investigated astaxanthin’s protective ability and found that it extends to our entire nervous system. A 2009 study by Satoh, et al, showed benefits against age-related forgetfulness and depressed motor function. (Participants took 12 mg of Natural Astaxanthin daily for 12 weeks.) A second 12 week study was completed by Nakagawa, et al, this year, using either 6 or 12 mg. Both doses were effective in decreasing levels of substances accruing in the brain that are associated with the development of dementia. These are only two of 10 astaxanthin studies completed in the last several years
As we age our bodies apparently lose the ability to produce sufficient levels of our own internal antioxidants: superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase. Hedge your bets by adding Natural Astaxanthin to your supplement regimen. Take at least the recommended dose of 4 mg/d, a vegan product equal to eating a quarter pound of salmon.
Nutrition News „ 2011 VOL XXXV, No. 7