The outer appearance of the skin is a reflection of a person’s inner health and vitality.⠀
Our skin is constantly exposed to oxidative stress from internal and external stressors such as bad diet, metabolic by products and various environmental factors like pollution and UV rays. Oxidative stress stimulates the production of highly reactive molecules called ’free radicals’ which initiate a chain reaction, attacking other cells and causing damage to the skin, such as fine lines, wrinkles, roughness and loss of elasticity.⠀
In order to slow down the aging process and reduce the visible signs of aging, protection must be provided to all layers to the skin, from the inside out.⠀
When looking to prevent or manage skin problems, most people believe that products that are applied topically are the most effective solution. Products that are applied to the surface of the skin predominantly affect the epidermis – the outermost layer – and are limited in their ability to penetrate into deeper layers of the skin. Studies have shown that oral supplementation with natural astaxanthin provides protection to all layers of the skin, thus promoting healthy, radiant skin from the inside out. @astareal
What Makes Astaxanthin so Unique
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, related to beta-carotene, lutein, and canthaxanthin, but it has a unique structure, and works in some very unique ways. For example, most other antioxidants are depleted after they’ve transferred their free electrons. But astaxanthin has a massive surplus, allowing it to remain “active” far longer — at least one order of magnitude more than most other antioxidants. It donates electrons to neutralize free radicals, and then rejects the excess energy primarily as heat. But the astaxanthin remains intact — there are no chemical reactions to break it down, which is what occurs in most other antioxidants.
“It has these two polar heads, which are hydrophilic (water-loving), and then the long backbone that is hydrophobic [water-repelling]. It can actually expand cellular membranes and provide antioxidant protection right in the cellular membrane, which is very important,” Dr. Cysewski explains.
Astaxanthin also acts on at least five different inflammation pathways, and maintains balance within the system. Another major difference is in the number of free radicals it can handle at any given time. Most antioxidants, such as vitamin C, E and various others, can typically only handle one free radical at a time. But astaxanthin can handle multiple free radicals simultaneously – in some cases more than 19 at the same time. It does this by forming an electron cloud around the molecule. This is known as the electron dislocation resonance. When free radicals try to steal electrons from the astaxanthin molecule, they’re simply absorbed into and neutralized by this electron cloud, all at once.
“Astaxanthin can also cross the blood-brain barrier and the blood-retinal barrier, and provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection to both the brain and the eyes. That’s where you need a carotenoid.”
Health Benefits of Astaxanthin
In fact, the most common cause of blindness in the United States, is age-related macular degeneration. Work completed by Dr. Tso at University of Illinois, shows astaxanthin can accumulate in the retina, and provide protection. Another surprising benefit is its ability to improve athletic performance.
“We have a number of very intense athletes coming back to us time and time again. [They] just love astaxanthin,” he says. “It allows them to recover much quicker from strenuous exercise. They just absolutely swear by it.”
Two areas of astaxanthin research that are gaining massive momentum are cardiovascular and brain health.
Over the last few years, there have been at least 17 studies on brain health showing that astaxanthin protects neurons, and can slow the effects of age-related cognitive decline, as well as decline in psychomotor functions. In one study, they found is that people taking astaxanthin had significantly decreased accumulation of phospholipid hydroperoxides, a compound that has been shown to accumulate in people with dementia or age-related forgetfulness. It may therefore also have therapeutic benefit against Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, according to Dr. Cysewski:
“Studies have also shown that it improves blood flow and decreases blood pressure. It’s very beneficial to your heart’s mitochondria membranes, [and] can have a positive effect on blood chemistry, increasing HDL (the good cholesterol), and decreasing triglycerides.”
People consuming astaxanthin actually have an improvement in the way they look. It’s beauty from within,” he says.