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Astaxanthin is a carotenoid. It is a phytochemical and a type of xanthophyll. In simple English, this is a pigment that develops naturally inside various plant and animal life forms. This pigment is fat soluble and has excellent antioxidant properties.
One of the greatest benefits of astaxanthin is that it is a natural and renewable substance. Some astaxanthin comes from very small plants, which are eventually eaten by various sea creatures like fish and crustaceans. However, a great deal of the carotenoid comes from chemical origins. Chemically manipulated astaxanthin has shown to produce similar effects to the natural extract.
Some companies do sell natural sources of astaxanthin supplements , while others offer chemically created substances. Sometimes herbal extracts are claimed to be highly concentrated. This means that the astaxanthin was actually extracted from the microalgae itself, which was then devoured by a sea creature, rather than just the substance being extracted from crustaceans.
Astaxanthin is sometimes grouped together with other healthy items like a beta-carotene, lutein and even omega 3 and essential fatty acids. Once the pigment enters the body, it is absorbed by the duodenal mucosa. It is then taken to the liver and combined with a lipoprotein. From there, the complex travels to the various cells of the body. The small properties inside of astaxanthin help to keep the new developing molecule attached firmly to the cell membrane.
There are three factors that contribute to astaxanthin’s antioxidant abilities. It has peroxyl radical chain-breaking abilities, the ability to trap free radicals into the polyene chain, and the natural enhancement of Vitamin C. It is superior to many other types of carotenoids in its excellent operation and is known to increase production of antibodies.
There are also anti-inflammatory properties in astaxanthin. The fact that astaxanthin increases what is called gap junctional communication between cells is linked to the suppression of cancer cells.
Other benefits that could result from astaxanthin absorption include an increase in strength, enhanced endurance, the reduction of arterial plaque formation, protection from sun radiation and the reduction of retinal injury. Some studies have shown promising results with the use of astaxanthin as a treatment against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease. Why, astaxanthin overpowers the healing abilities of even Vitamin E and beta-carotene. On average, it is 100-500 times more potent than Vitamin E and ten times as effective as beta-carotene.
There are no specific warnings for astaxanthin, since it is considered a natural extract and not a drug. As far as side effects go, some users have reported pigment changes, including a different tint of color for the skin and sometimes the stool. It does the same thing to crustaceans, giving them a far more attractive color. Other side effects uncommonly reported include more hair growth, hormone level changes, low blood pressure, reduced calcium in the body, decreased libido and breast enlargement in men.
However, no toxic effects have ever been reported—not even in lab animals. What does infrequently happen is that astaxanthin can interact with other conditions. Taking high doses of astaxanthin may cause interactions. For example, some doctors might hesitate recommending the supplement if the patient has allergies or has a problem with low blood pressure.
There is also precedent for this supplement affecting patents who take asthma medications. Even a few other supplements can be potentially dangerous if combined with astaxanthin; saw palmetto and black cohosh are believed to produce volatile reactions in some users. Though this is not a drug regulated by the FDA, the organization did clear astaxanthin as fit for human ingestion.
The average dosage is about one milligram a day, though taking 50% more astaxanthin may lead to more evident results in strength and endurance increase. Astaxanthin has low toxicity, numerous health benefits and showed progressive results in a placebo-controlled study, which suggested the supplement can greatly enhance natural strength and defenses by natural development.
The chemical reaction is definitely there and many people claim to have experienced great results in terms of body healing, increased energy and body recovery. However, there have been no hard medical studies done on these supplements.
If you are considering a natural treatment for a disease or simply want to boost your physical strength for athletic purposes, then taking astaxanthin may help you to see results. Ask your doctor before drastically undergoing any sort of lifestyle or nutritional change. You can also research the supplement online. This widely discussed extract is available in soft gel form from multiple online retailers.
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