First of all, what is Astaxanthin?
That lovely, reddish pink colour that you associate with flamingos, salmon, lobster, shrimp, and other delightful creatures in the animal kingdom? You can thank astaxanthin for that! It’s a naturally occurring carotenoid (a pigment found in nature that gives fruits and veggies their bright orange, yellow, or red hue) that’s found in abundance in the freshwater microalgae H.pluvialis, and happens to be a staple in the diet of those rosy animals mentioned above. In fact, astaxanthin can be found in the muscles of salmon, and many theorise that this provides the endurance they need to swim upstream. Just another reason to enjoy more of this delicious fish!
Here are just a few (of the many) reasons why you should boost your Astaxanthin intake:
1. Helps keeps wrinkles at bay: When taken orally, natural Astaxanthin can help to promote healthy skin from the inside out! It penetrates the deepest layers of the skin to provide next-level protection from harmful free radicals that break down skin collagen and contribute to fine lines and wrinkles, while also improving moisture retention and elasticity.
2. Keeps you on your A-game: Nothing’s as satisfying as completing an extra tough, sweaty workout. And while the benefits of regular exercise are well-known, particularly strenuous workouts (especially when you’re unaccustomed to exercise) can increase the production of free radicals and cause oxidative stress – resulting in inflammation and soreness, which can reduce your sports performance. That’s where Astaxanthin comes in. It helps promote muscle recovery, improves endurance, and protects against free radicals in muscles, so you feel as strong as a salmon swimming upstream!
3. Helps you stay sun smart: One should never skip the SPF when basking in the sun, but it’s nice to know that Astaxanthin also helps to protect your skin from harmful UV-rays. UVB rays penetrate the skin’s outer layer, the epidermis, resulting in sun burns, while UVA rays go deeper to penetrate the dermis, causing oxidative stress and *gasp* premature ageing. Because Astaxanthin can penetrate all layers of the skin, it acts as an “internal sunscreen” of sorts, protecting against UVA-induced oxidative stress. It has also been shown to reduce inflammation (read: lobster-red sun burns) from UVB-exposure.
4. It’s nature’s most powerful antioxidant: As if you needed more reasons to introduce Astaxanthin to your life, this potent antioxidant has proven to be 4.6x stronger than beta-carotene, 110x stronger than skin health-boosting Vitamin E, and a whopping 6000x stronger than Vitamin C in fighting free radicals. Sounds almost too good to be true!
How can I make sure I’m getting enough Astaxanthin?
Upping your Astaxanthin intake is both easy and delicious. Astaxanthin-rich foods include wild salmon and salmon oil (wild salmon ingest the microalgae containing Astaxanthin), red trout, algae, lobster, shrimp, crayfish, crabs. Astaxanthin can even be taken regularly as a supplement – Oriflame’s Astaxanthin & Bilberry Extract is developed with freshwater microalgae commonly found in the Swedish archipelago, and is a great way to incorporate some super antioxidants into your daily diet!
Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles and improving mositure retention and elasticity: Tominaga K et al.,(2012). Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on human subjects. Acta Biochim Pol. 2012;59(1):43-7. A0347
Endurance: Earnest CP, Lupo M, White KM, Church TS. Effect of astaxanthin on cycling time trial performance. Int J Sports Med (2011) 32(11):882–8. doi:10.105 5/s-0031-1280779
Muscle Recovery: Djordjevic B, Baralic I, Kotur-Stevuljevic J, Stefanovic A, Ivanisevic J, Radivojevic N, et al. Effect of astaxanthin supplementation on muscle damage and oxidative stress markers in elite young soccer players. J Sports Med Phys Fitness (2012) 52(4):382–92.
Photoprotection:Ito, N.; Seki, S.; Ueda, F. The Protective Role of Astaxanthin for UV-Induced Skin Deterioration in Healthy People—A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Nutrients 2018, 10, 817.
Antixodant measuremmets: Nishida et al. (2007), Caretenoid Science. Vol. 11: 16-20