Astaxanthin: The Super Antioxidant You’ve Never Heard Of – Nutritional Facts & More
Astaxanthin may not be a household name when it comes to antioxidants, but its potent health benefits could rival even the most celebrated carotenoids. This article delves into the nutrition and health benefits of this “king of carotenoids.”
What is Astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring red pigmented ketocarotenoid found in specific types of microalgae and yeast[^1^]. It shares some chemical similarities with familiar plant pigments like lycopene and beta-carotene but has a closer kinship with oxygen-rich xanthophylls like lutein and zeaxanthin[^1^].
Astaxanthin Nutrition Facts
Astaxanthin itself doesn’t come with a standard nutrition label since it’s a specific compound rather than a food. However, foods rich in astaxanthin like salmon and shrimp offer a host of other nutrients as well.
For instance, a 3-ounce (85 grams) serving of sockeye salmon can contain up to 38 milligrams of astaxanthin and is also a rich source of high-quality protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins D, B12, and selenium[^3^].
Astaxanthin supplements typically contain around 4-12mg of astaxanthin per capsule. They’re often combined with other ingredients like Vitamin E and fatty acids to aid absorption since astaxanthin is fat-soluble[^2^].
However, it’s always best to consult a healthcare provider before beginning any new supplement regimen.
Astaxanthin: A Potent Antioxidant
Astaxanthin’s antioxidant capabilities surpass those of many well-known antioxidants. Studies show it outperforms the antioxidant power of vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene[^2^].
Health Benefits of Astaxanthin
1. Immune System Support
Astaxanthin may bolster your immune system by helping activate white blood cells (T-cells) and natural killer (NK) cells[^1^].
2. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Astaxanthin may help reduce inflammation by acting on reactive oxygen species[^1^].
3. Skin Health
Astaxanthin may protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) damage[^1^]. It accumulates in the skin’s layers, blocking UV penetration and reducing existing damage[^1^].
4. Cognitive Health
Astaxanthin has shown potential in reducing risks for neurodegenerative diseases[^1^][^2^].
5. Heart Health
Preliminary research suggests astaxanthin could benefit heart health, although further studies are needed[^3^].
Astaxanthin offers a range of potential health benefits, from boosting the immune system to supporting cognitive health. Including astaxanthin-rich foods in your diet or considering a quality supplement could be a step towards embracing this super antioxidant.
Always consult a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.