What is it?
Astaxanthin is a valuable orangey-reddish antioxidant that just happens to be the exact right size and shape to fit into cell walls and aid their response to physical and metabolic stress.
Where is it from?
You can find this brightly-colored carotenoid nutrient in marine plants as well as animals, like algae, shrimp, crab, and salmon.
A microalga called Haematococcus pluvialis is a popular commercial source. You know how blue light from devices can tire out your eyes? When it’s exposed to intense blue light, this miniature plant actually comes up with more protective astaxanthin.
What does it do?
- Astaxanthin can act as an ultraviolet (UV) light filter in the skin and in cell membranes.
- In one study, astaxanthin reduced eye fatigue and strain in computer workers.
- Astaxanthin helps marine plants, animals, and single-celled life forms survive harsh environmental conditions.
- Astaxanthin is especially good at protecting cells’ energy generators, called mitochondria, which, BTW, have loads of delicate internal membranes.
- Famed researcher Dr. Bruce Ames has named astaxanthin one of his “longevity vitamins” for its ability to limit biological aging processes.
- Though it works mostly in a physical way, astaxanthin is good enough at it that it even seems to help safeguard DNA and encourage immune balance.
The brain — especially the busy, energy-consuming frontal cortex where complex thought happens — really likes carotenoid antioxidants. In lab studies, astaxanthin had the right credentials for passing into the brain. Not every nutrient shows that kind of style!