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Astaxanthin - a superb natural antioxidant

         Astaxanthin - a superb natural antioxidant

ASTAXANTHIN, a member of the carotenoid family, is a dark-red pigment which is the main carotenoid found in the marine world of algae and aquatic animals. ASTAXANTHIN is present in many types of seafood, including salmon, trout, red sea bream, shrimp and lobster, as well as in birds such as flamingo and quail. This pigment is commercially produced from the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis, the richest known natural source for ASTAXANTHIN.

Carotenoids are lipid-soluble pigments and antioxidants, which participate as accessory pigments in the light-absorption process of photosynthetic organisms. To date, over 600 natural carotenoids have been identified. They are responsible for the orange and red colors in plants and algae, and for the wide range of blue, purple and reddish colors in aquatic animals. Only phytoplankton, algae, plants and certain bacteria and fungi synthesize carotenoids. Animals, including humans, must consume carotenoids as part of their diet and rely on this external supply.

Recent scientific findings indicate that ASTAXANTHIN is a powerful antioxidant and can serve as a potent free-radical scavenger. Moreover, ASTAXANTHIN has been found to provide many essential biological functions, including protection against lipid-membrane peroxidation of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids and proteins, DNA damage and UV light effects; it also plays an important role in immunological defense.
Oxygen is necessary for the metabolic production of energy in our bodies. Mitochondria, through the electron-transport chain, use oxygen to oxidize certain molecules and generate energy in the form of ATP. During this process, oxygen is reduced to water, producing several oxygen-derived free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS) which play an important role in various diseases. Normally, oxygen free radicals are neutralized by natural antioxidants such as vitamin E, or enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD). However, ROS become a problem when either a decrease in their removal or their overproduction occurs, resulting in oxidative stress. This stress, and the resultant damage, have been implicated in many diseases, and a wealth of preventative drugs and treatments are currently being studied.
ASTAXANTHIN’s powerful antioxidant activity has been demonstrated in numerous studies showing the detrimental effects of free-radical-induced oxidative stress  and ASTAXANTHIN’s potential to target many important health conditions.
There is increasing testimonial evidence that ASTAXANTHIN may be effective in enhancing general well-being, improving the quality of life and enhancing the immune system. Recent studies have shown enhanced immune response and decreased DNA damage in human subjects following ASTAXANTHIN administration ASTAXANTHIN is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier in mammals  a unique and important property in the realm of antioxidants. This characteristic allows ASTAXANTHIN to extend its superior antioxidant activity to the central nervous system, which, being rich in unsaturated fatty acids is highly susceptible to oxidative damage by ROS .
The efficacy of ASTAXANTHIN in limiting the damage produced by ROS-induced oxidative stress and improving health parameters in the tissues and the body was demonstrated in a series of in-vitro experiments, in pre-clinical studies and in human models. The following is a list of diseases and conditions for which ASTAXANTHIN has been shown to have beneficial effects, as described in numerous medical articles, patents and excellent reviews  over the last 15 years:

· Age-Related Macular Degeneration: the leading cause of blindness in the aging population
· Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases: two of the most important neurodegenerative diseases
· Cholesterol Disease: ameliorates the effects of LDL, the "bad" cholesterol
· Inflammatory, chronic viral and autoimmune diseases
· Dyspepsia
· Semen fertility improvement
· Muscle function
· Sunburn from UV light
· Normalization of cardiac rhythm
· Anti-hypertension agent
· Stress management
· Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
· Stroke: repairs damage caused by lack of oxygen.

A demand for natural ASTAXANTHIN is now emerging in the fast-growing, multi-billion dollar nutraceutical market; in particular, increasing evidence suggests that ASTAXANTHIN was shown to be a much more powerful antioxidant than vitamins C and E, or than other carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin, among others.
The enhanced activity of ASTAXANTHIN may stem from its molecular structure. ASTAXANTHIN belongs to the xanthophyll group of carotenoids, or the oxygenated carotenoids The hydroxyl and keto functional groups  present in the ending ionone ring of ASTAXANTHIN may be responsible for its uniquely powerful antioxidant activity and for its ability to span the membrane bilayers as a direct result of its more polar configuration relative to other carotenoids . Carotenoids with polar end groups like ASTAXANTHIN span the lipid membrane bilayer with their end groups located near the hydrophobic-hydrophilic interface, where free-radical attack first occurs.

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