We have all heard how exposure to environmental factors such as pollution, UV light, and weather create free radicals in the body. This oxidative damage (as it is called) is one of the biggest factors contributing to skin ageing, as free radicals from these environmental factors bombard our skin and damage our cells. Over time this leads to fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, irritation and a loss of elasticity – all of which result in our skin looking older than it is!
Natural sun protection
The carotenoid family, usually found in yellow, orange and red fruit and vegetables, are powerful antioxidants that can help combat these signs of ageing by neutralizing harmful free radicals. Another member of the carotenoid family gaining popularity is the fat-soluble super antioxidant astaxanthin, found naturally occurring in algae (Haematococcus pluvialis) off the coast of Hawaii.
Astaxanthin (pronounced “asta-ZAN-thin”) is one of Mother Nature’s super antioxidants. Crustaceans such as Krill and Shrimp as well as Salmon can attribute their deep pinkish-red colouring to the present of Astaxanthin. As these creatures eat the algae and they are exposed to the sun, they react by turning their outer shell or flesh red in colour, which offers them protection from harmful UV damage. (1,2)
Did you know: Flamingos are born with white feathers, but as they eat an abundance of krill and shrimp in their diet their feathers gradually turn pink over time?
Improve skin appearance
A 2007 study analysed several popular antioxidants and their antioxidant power (3). This study found astaxanthin was 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, 800 times stronger than CoQ10, 550 times stronger than green tea catechins and 75 times stronger than alpha lipoic acid.
Another study carried out over a 6 week period highlights the improvements from Astaxanthin on five skin conditions (skin dryness, moisture content, roughness, elasticity and fine lines/wrinkles) as determined by the self-assessment of 49 middle aged women (4). Over fifty percent of the subjects in the treated group had a subjective improvement in all five conditions.
Benefits of Astaxanthin
- Helps protect the skin against UV radiation from sunlight (although it should not replace a sunscreen).
- Helps improve the overall condition of the skin by improving the appearance of fine wrinkles, elasticity and moisture content
- Supports healthy skin ageing through antioxidant properties
- Support healthy eye function
- Support a healthy immune system
We’d Love Your Feedback
Do you take a natural antioxidant supplement regularly? Have you tried astaxanthin?
What’s your favourite source of natural antioxidants? Bright berries, pink salmon, red wine, dark chocolate (both in moderation of course)…or something else?
(1) Guerin M, Huntley ME, Olaizola M (2003). “Haematococcus astaxanthin: applications for human health and nutrition” (PDF). Trends Biotechnol. 21 (5): 210–6. doi: 10.1016/S0167-7799(03)00078-7. PMID 12727382.
(2) Lennikov A, Nobuyoshi K, Risa Fukase (2012). “Amelioration of ultraviolet-induced photokeratitis in mice treated with astaxanthin eye drops” (PDF). Mollecular Vision. 18: 455–64. PMID 3291518.
(3) Nishida Y. et. al, Quenching Activities of Common Hydrophilic and Lipophilic Antioxidants against Singlet Oxygen Using Chemiluminescence Detection System. Carotenoid Science 11:16-20 (2007)
(4) Yamashita. E (2006). “The Effects of a Dietary Supplement Containing: Astaxanthin on Skin Condition”. Japanese Society for Carotenoid Research, Volume 10.